Saturday, December 10, 2016

A riding I will go............ - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

December 9 2016
by Karen Bumgarner

Summer came and went. I rode here and there and every where. I neglected my blog as I played with horses all through the fall and into the snowy weather. So now, since it's 26 degrees and dropping frozen rain drops on top of yesterday's snow, perhaps I'll get a bit creative.

Somewhere during summer my AERC patch for riding 26,000 miles on rides arrived in the mail. That doesn't include fun rides, trail rides, conditioning or goofing off rides. Just sanctioned AERC endurance rides.

I started this crazy activity in 1977 on my pony horse from the track, Sunny Spots R. At our first ride a vteran rider told me that Sunny would never make it because he was too big. Yes he was 16.2 and weighed 1250 pounds and I retired him from endurance years after that with 4,410 AERC miles and many awards...

Read more here:

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Rough Going - Marvel Endurance

Marvelendurance Blog - Full Story

DECEMBER 4, 2016

I remember a loud cracking sound, and I remember the feeling of my foot bending in a way it shouldn’t be expected to. I remember realising what was happening as I fell into the newly dug and uncovered fence post hole. The front half of my foot had almost made it over, another inch and I might not have even known the danger.

Earlier in the 2015 I had offered a young girl the opportunity to try endurance, riding my then 5 year old Arab Connemara mare, Ardair Skoda. The two of them got along very well and they came along so nicely in training that we planned for them to start in their first 40km at Rockybar, where I planned to do my next 80km with the new horse we had in training.

Haze went home on the 28th of March. I was heartbroken, but I knew that it was just too easy to keep riding the seasoned horse while the young ones stayed fat in the paddock so I had to remove the temptation. It isn’t like I would never see Haze again, he would be at Rockybar in preparation for the 50th Tom Quilty later in the year.

We had gotten into the year with one hell of a swing, things were going pretty damn well! I was two rides through novice, Jas had made it through her first 80km completion at Cooyar, Adriana had made a brave call on Sally at the ride and I couldn’t imagine a better outcome – the future was looking bright! Little did I know that tings were going to come crashing down around my ears in a short space of time...

Read more here:

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Gold Rush Shuffle November 2016 - Nick Warhol

My first rider option pull!

November 27 2016
by Nick Warhol

I took Sorsha and Donnie to Camp Far West Lake for the three-day ride, hoping to ride day two on Sorsha on her second 50, and Donnie on Day 3. Rain was in the forecast, but who cares about a little rain? Gretchen Montgomery brought her two horses up from Ridgecrest, rode Coquette Friday on day 1, and finished, getting her 10,000th endurance mile. That’s a big accomplishment. Congratulations to Gretchen! Friday was nice weather wise; I drove up on Friday, having done thanksgiving with the family. The forecast for rain kept changing, and now it was supposed to start Saturday morning at 8am. Saturday morning came nice; clear and cool. Gretchen rode her 5K mile horse Spice with Sorsha and I. Sorsha passed test number one- she just walked out of camp with me, not caring in the least about leaving her pasture buddy. Nice! We left at 6:30 am near the back of the pack, with spice leading Sorsha and I down the road. Sorsha did a good job, being more relaxed than her first ride. She still gets a little nervous when horses pass us, especially at a trot. She wants to go with them! She also likes to be in front, but will follow other horses if need be. We switched back and forth as we rode the first hour and a half or so, having a really fun time. (the pictures above were taken before 8am!) Guess what happened at 8am? The rain started. Lightly at first, no problem. Then the front came in. The wind picked up, the temperature dropped, and the rain started. Real rain. In no time we were pretty wet, but worse was the cold temp and the wind. The trails were not too bad so far, but they were deteriorating fast. Real fast. By the time we got to the gun range the trails were either slippery mud, or actually running water, like little streams. It was very slippery, so we walked a lot, only trotting on the couple of roads we touched for a bit, and on some of the trails that were flat. By the time we got to the old ride Camp, the whole area was a swamp. There were deep mud holes you could not see under the standing (running!) water on the trails. And the cold. The temp as in the high 40s, we were soaked, and it was windy. We got off the horses and walked with them to help keep warm, but I kept falling down in the mud. Just past the old camp we got on a gravel road that was trottable, but it was covered in water, a couple of inches in places. When I first brought Sorsha home, she would not cross water or muddy spots. We spent a a lot of time working on that, but Boy, that’s a thing of the past! She’s an official water horse now, having done half of the whole loop in the water and mud. She was such a good sport.

We were cold to the bone, soaking wet, and walking in the slop. Reality set in when we looked at the clock. This loop was what, 22 miles or so? It was noon and we were still not near camp. It was an easy decision to quit. First, we were cold and quite uncomfortable. The rain, cold, and wind would not stop. Second, there was no way on earth we were going to finish on time, or in the daylight, since we still had 2 loops to go, and I was not going to trot her in this mud. But most importantly, I was not going to risk hurting my horse in this slop. If I hurt her I would not be able to forgive myself. We slogged our way into camp, arriving at about 12:45. We started at 6:30. We vetted the horses, turned in our cards, got the horses fed and blanketed, and hit the campers. Thank you whoever for the camper! That furnace and hot water heater were never more appreciated. It took a while to thaw out, and the hot chocolate and warm food made us feel more like humans again.

Was I going out the next day on Donnie? I don’t think so. Not a chance. Many people were not going out the next day after hearing the stories about the trail. Am I sorry I quit? Nope! She looked fantastic for the vet at the end, pulse 36. This was my pull, not hers. I think it’s the first time in my 24 years of endurance that I quit a ride because of me. On the bright side, I got the best practice ride in water and wet conditions for my horse I could ever hope for. Are you kidding? I would NEVER have done that as a conditioning ride. Yuck. You should have seen her trotting on that road, through 2 inch deep water for a half mile at a time, water spraying up over us like being sprayed by a fire hose. Diddn’t matter, we could not have gotten any wetter. I wish I had come a day earlier, but oh well. We drove home Saturday evening in the rain, all the way home. Okay rain, you can stop now. Im happy for Gretchen and her 10K miles, and im happy with how Sorsha is doing so far. Next stop- fire mountain in January, and 20 mule team in February.

You can read many more of Nick's entertaining endurance ride stories here:

Friday, November 04, 2016

Skymont - Heather Reynolds - Full Story

by Heather Reynolds
November 1 2016

The Skymont ride was a very nice change in weather for us. The temperature notably dropped from Florida up to Tennesee. It was a huge relief. The drive was an easy one and the horses were happy to get away from the heat as well. Jeremy and I took 2 horses each to ride one per day. I took Derby for day 1 and Gus for day 2. Jeremy took Lou for day 1 and Rictik for day 2.

When we arrived our friends Jesse and Aubree were waiting in camp for us, they had saved us a parking spot. We started to park and soon saw that our short bed truck combined with the auxiliary fuel tank in the bed of our truck was not going to allow for much navigating on the uneven terrain. We just got a new flatbed put on our truck and we have not gotten the sleeve needed yet to give us the distance we need to safely clear the gas tank. New dent... Oh well. We got it parked. Now to set up. We started to get everything set up and organized but when the time came to extend the slideouts we found out they didn't want to play this weekend. Damn things. One of them came out all slanted and jammed up. Jesse and Jeremy used a come-along ratchet strap and brute force to get it back in. One slide out worked but was leaking hydrolic fluid. Funtastic. (Turns out the hydrolics on both slides went bad and the AMAZING part about the design is that one of the slide's hydrolic systems is built in such a way that you actually have to tear out the living quarters to get to it, and this trailer company wonders why it went belly up??)

We vetted in and hung out. The ride camp is nicely shaded and by a lake. It was a pretty place. That evening we hiked, really hiked to the ride meeting. If Aubree hadn't been with us I would have totally thought we were just going out an a trail loop. It was about a mile to get to the meeting, on the trail. The meeting went on VERY long with a branch by branch trail description. Dinner was also served with the meeting. This ride is at a boys camp so the meeting is in the mess hall. It was pretty fun walking back, it was very dark and there were glow sticks...

Read more here:

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Chief Joseph Trail Ride - Full Article

June 27, 2016

Learn about this historic, progressive trail ride that traces the route Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce took while fleeing from the U.S. Cavalry in 1877.

by Jocelyn Pierce

The Chief Joseph Trail Ride, hosted annually by the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), is a progressive ride that follows the approximately 1300-mile trek the Nez Perce people took while attempting to escape the U.S. Cavalry in 1877.

The ApHC held the first Chief Joseph Trail Ride in 1965 in homage to the historical route traveled by the Nez Perce Tribe. It is the longest-running and most popular trail ride hosted by the ApHC, with a portion of the ride completed each year. This year marks the fourth time the ride will be completed, culminating at Bear Paw Battlefield in Montana, where Chief Joseph surrendered. Every year, riders travel 100 miles over a 5-day period, which means it takes a total of thirteen years to complete the entire trail from start to finish...

Read more here:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Great Britain: The Red Dragon Endurance Festival by Jo Bond - Full Story

by Jo Bond
11 october 2016

The Red Dragon is a mythical endurance competition that people talk about being incredibly tough but incredibly beautiful. It takes place near Builth Wells in S Wales and takes you across amazing mountain landscapes. When we moved back from France this competition went on my Wish List for this year and I’m so pleased that we got there.

It really has something for everyone with Pleasure Rides through to the 2 day Red Dragon covering 80kms each day in a race ride. I decided to attempt The Dragon’s Days. This is 126kms over 3 days with 3200m of climbing.

The venue is stunning, being at the Welsh Show Ground and so there are lovely stables for the horses, trot ups indoors and even an on-site residential centre to stay at (but you do have to book early).

Day 1 was stunning with mild weather, red kites dancing overhead and the most beautiful views. I kept finding myself gasping at the views. There were of course big climbs but the going was nice and we both really enjoyed ourselves.

Day 2 was sent from hell. Torrential rain all day just destroyed the tracks and it got dangerous out there. It needed really steady riding...

Read more here:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Colombia - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing - Full Story

October 7 2016
by Heather Reynolds

I have once again missed the boat in a big way on posting my blog! On our drive home from California to Florida (back in August!), just after we cleared Auburn, we received an invite from our friend Cristina Mutis to ride in the Colombian National Championship. Jeremy and I would be riding her horses on the 75 mile FEI ride. We thought about it very briefly and agreed to go...When else would an amazing opportunity like this come up?

This ride happened to be only a week after we left CA so we would have to get across the country and get things organized in a hurry and then head to the airport. We managed to get everything done and found ourselves sitting on a plane just a little over a week after leaving CA. CRAZY.

When we arrived in Bogota it was late in the evening and Diego Arboleda picked us up. We had never met Diego in person so I sent him a picture of a bright ball cap I would wear, to which he sent me a pic of an orange Bass Pro hat he would wear. It worked perfectly. When we were walking to the car we noticed that we were at elevation as our breath was short. Bogota is around 8675 feet.

Diego drove us to his farm where we spent the night. It was an amazing old house with a straw thatch roof, like from a fairy tale. In the morning we looked around his farm and met his horses.

It is colder in Colombia than we had imagined. The whole time we were there it was around 55-65 for the high and drizzling rain off and on.

We drove to the ride site, the road was a windy mountain pass. The roads in general are pretty rough. There are also amazingly random speed bumps in the middle of a two lane highway where you were just driving 50 MPH and then... SURPRISE! We managed to not meet the roof with our skulls but had a lot of really close calls.

Once at the ride site it was the same familiar territory of any endurance camp. The venue was really nice, it had an indoor lounge with full catering of breakfast, lunch and dinner that you could purchase as well as hot drinks and a fireplace going. Then there was music playing over a PA system all weekend. Just outside from this meeting area was a covered arena for vetting. There was a very nice social aspect to this event as far as being able to comfortably hang out. There were actually a surprising amount of spectators who had simply come to hang out...

Read more here:

Thursday, October 06, 2016

South Africa Sandymont Express Day 4 - Devan Horn

october 4
South Africa Sandymont 1000 Day 4!!!

I am thrilled to report we are halfway there!!! Coco Channel was stronger today during her loop than yesterday, Hidalgo beasted up to 160 kilometres sound and happy, and Avatrix came through for our 45 kilometre loop like a dream. We have wrapped up day 4, and I’m beginning to get my schedule down:

4:00AM – Wake up

4:05AM- Breakfast (1 banana, a piece of toast with peanut butter, and a double espresso)

4:50AM- Rykie drives me to race site. She also picks what music I will have stuck in my head all day. Popular choices include Avicii and OneRepublic, at top volume.

5:00AM- Get to the race site. Go through list of stuff I have to do. Find out Jaco and Elias have already done the stuff I thought of and everything I’ve forgotten as well.

5:30AM- Ride an awesome horse

8:30AM- Ride another awesome horse

11:30AM- Ride a fantastic horse

4:00PM- Dinner 1 (cheese and either antelope or springbok, preferably both)

5:00PM- Dinner 2 (Brai…I look around in expectation when anyone says this word. It involves throwing some sort of animal over and open flame and cooking it with delicious spices. It’s like a dry rub barbeque) and a potato if there’s room.

9:00PM- Dinner 3 (Biltong in bed)

9:30PM – Sleep

I’m chronicling what I eat because as every endurance athlete knows, at some point during the race you usually hit a wall, slump, mental droop, or low point. For me, it has historically been day 3 of the race. This time, I have had ZERO slump or fatigue, and my body feels like it hasn’t started working yet at all. It’s probably because I’m in fair shape right now, feeding it correctly, and have the best possible fuel. Every Hammer Electrolyte product I packed for this trip is worth its weight in gold. During the ride I’m fuelling with HEED, E-lyte electrolyte pills, and 1-2 Hammer Gels.

We’re going into the back stretch, and not only am I 100% fresh, I have two horses that haven’t even done any miles yet on my string. The horse that I have ridden so far are happy and sound. I got a really nice complement from the vet today on how my horses’ backs are looking extremely good, which makes me feel great!
On to day 5!!!

“He said, "One day you'll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember."
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
My father told me
When thunder clouds start pouring down
Light a fire they can't put out
Carve your name into those shining stars
He said, "Go venture far beyond these shores.”” -Avicci

The Spanish Peaks Endurance Endeavour - Christoph Schork

The Ride Manager and Team Easyboot Member Tennessee Lane at Base Camp

Easycareinc Blog - Full Story

Monday, October 3, 2016 by Christoph Schork

What a privilege it has been for me being able to join Tennessee Lane, ride manager and dear friend, together with other well known riders for the inaugural Spanish Peaks 100 mile endurance ride last week. The location was very close to La Veta, Colorado; in fact, just a few miles outside of this marvel of a small town in southern Colorado. After the National Championship Ride in Utah three weeks ago, (I wrote a Blog about it last month) this ride was another highlight of the season.

The base camp is situated at over 8000 ft with the magnificent Spanish Peaks as a background. I am using the present tense, because this base camp has been permanently installed with buildings, water wells and electricity by the Lane family and will serve as base camp for all future rides there. All pertinent info for present and future events there can be found on the SoCo Facebook page.

As to be expected, the management and organization were first class, trails perfectly marked. Exquisite catered dinners for riders and crew were the reward for everybody's efforts and labor...

- See more at:

Saturday, October 01, 2016

South Africa Sandymont Express Day 1 - Devan Horn

October 1 2016

(You better sit down this one!)

Well, I came here to fight, and Africa threw the first punch! I started out the ride on Cowboy, setting out with 9 other riders on our first loop. It was impossibly beautiful starting out at sunrise with the wild game, until the buffalo attacked! Buffalo in America are fluffy cows. Buffalo here are tanks happy to charge horses and chase them if you come up on them unexpected! Luckily, Rachel and I got to sit on our horses and watch them chase the front runners instead of being chased. We waited until we were sure they were gone and continued our ride. I had a great loop with Cowboy, he was the smallest of my string but had the biggest trot! We went all the way around the loop, and started making the decent into camp. Suddenly, he was tender going downhill. I thought to myself "Oh no, this isn't happening, this is my first loop and first horse, he can't possibly be lame!" But when we got to the vet, he was footsore. He could technically ride again in 2 days, but we will probably give his miles to another horse.

As you know, if there is something wrong with your horse at Sandymont, you must repeat the entire loop...

And that's how I ended up riding 160k (100 miles) on my first day!

I did it in about 12 hours. After Cowboy vetted out, I became conscious of the fact that I was now in last place by a matter of hours. But luckily I was able to instead focus on doing the best for my team that I could, which did NOT include bumrushing to make up time, but getting them around safely and slowly, so we could keep going through the week. The course is a huge challenge, and more technical than I had given it credit for. I re-rode my first loop on Aviatrix, then rode Zara and Hidalgo as well. Luckily, I was able to get around without further penalties. Aviatrix is a solid veteran, takes care of herself and won't be rushed! Zara did her first endurance ride today, and rocked it, even if she is a bit green under saddle! Hidalgo is also a veteran, but would happily gallop every loop if I let him. He was not impressed by my attempt to get him to slow down.

So everyone else finished in between 1 and 4. I finished just before 6. On my last loop, I got a really nice surprise when fellow rider Tines packed his truck with friends and beer, and met me on the turnaround one extra loop! It was really awesome of him, It was a fantastic pick-me-up, and made me feel better about being out there so long. What a great competitor.

Elias says a bad beginning means a fantastic ending. At the end of day 1, I'm hours behind and have 40k extra on my legs. horses look great, and I feel fantastic! Have you ever seen a more beautiful challenge?!?

Follow more of Devan's adventure at

Monday, August 01, 2016

Tevis 2016: THINK PINK! - Aurora Grohman

Funder picture - Full Story


This was my fifth consecutive year crewing Tevis–and my favorite. If you immediately imagine 24+ hours of dirt, sweat, pain (blood? check!), excitement, hope, and inspiration, you are correct. If you were topping that imaginary scenario with a Completion and Buckle, sorry, that wasn’t the case. In fact, with a 28 mile Metabolic pull at Red Star, my rider made it the shortest of either her (she made it 55 miles in 2012) or my (I’ve crewed 3/4 buckles previously, the 1 non buckle being a Finish line pull) experiences.

Why on god’s green earth would a short ride and metabolic pull be your favorite experience, you whisper, perhaps horrified?

Because the heart of this sport of endurance besides the amazing partnerships with our horses are the great people we come to know and the true endurance it takes just to get to these starting lines. To have a great ride and finish is a true accomplishment–as is to do all that, *not finish,* and keep trucking undaunted, in it’s own right. Tevis has a completion rate of +/- 50% every year, no matter what–that’s a whole lot of technically qualified teams getting pulled despite their best efforts. No matter the end result, it’s no small thing just to be among the Vetted-in at Robie Park on Friday of Tevis weekend...

Read more here:

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Catching up from April...Dubai to Tevis - Heather Reynolds Blog - Full Story

July 26 2016
by Heather Reynolds

I have been super lax on writing my blog!!! I see that I haven't done one since March! We went to Dubai after FITS with Rictik and Chachie. The trip was really brief this time compared to the month long stay we had in Dec/Jan. Both of the horses traveled well. Chachie and Rictik both handled the desert without an issue. On loop two Rictik did leave me in the sand, that was a drag as she really wrenched my back. That was the only casualty we had though. She saw something that I didn't (and no other living thing did either) and did a huge twisting leap from cantering on a loose reign. I was airborn before I even knew what had happened.

Rictik and Chachie finished the 120/75 mile ride as the sun was setting. It was a successful trip. We had stellar crew once again. The crew was my mom Jean, sister Hannah, Adam Farmer, Lynn Kenelly and my brother Jonathan.

From here, the organizing committee graciously agreed to fly our horses to the UK rather than back to Miami. The horses went to Nicki and Andy Thorne's place in the UK. They would do the Windsor FEI race which was roughly 5 weeks after the Dubai race. Nicki and Andy hosted us and took wonderful care of us and our horses. They helped make us in making the arangements.

When we returned from Dubai we went to the McCulley Farm ride with Emma and Elaine. We did the two day ride. This is a very nice ride. Fun trails and a well organized event. Emma rode Code both days, Jeremy rode Liger day 1 and Sinister day 2, Elaine rode Benz both days and I rode Kellora the first day and pulled her on day 2. It was a fun time.

Jeremy flew out to the UK after this to take care of the two horses feet and ride them for a couple of weeks after the horses had been resting in the UK for a couple of weeks. At this point we found that Rictik was not sound. After a vet work up not much was found. Her suspensory was sore but clean in an ultrasound. Bummer. She would just rest in the UK and skip the race.

While Jeremy was in the UK I took his horse Danire to a local 50. Elaine took her Rocky Mountain horse, Hershey. It was an elevator ride so Elaine was starting with the LD and depending on how hot it was going to be she would either do the LD or elevate to the 50. Danire and Hershey went around nice and easy together. We had fun. At the halfway point, we were arriving into our 1 hour hold as the leaders were getting ready to head back out and it was really getting hot so Elaine decided 25 was enough for Hershey. I went out to do the rest of the 50. I had trotted the first half of the ride and now for training purposes I planned to canter the rest. Danire went around at a nice canter for the rest of the ride and won by a healthy margin. The leaders had not expected to see me so that was pretty fun. Danire also won BC and high vet score. This was his first ride after his 100 in the UAE in Jan...

Read more here:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Our Big Horn 100 adventure 2016 - Katrin Levermann

Part 1
It all started with our rather disappointing experience at Tevis last year.Vickie said to us, come and ride the Big Horn with me in 2016. You guys got the horses for it ! ....and so we started planning…

Begin of the summer it was decided that only Anya will ride with me. Katya had other plans for that time and lend her horse Draco to Anya, since Anya’s horse Tootsie was rehabbing from a suspensory injury. My friend and college Stefanie wanted to come with us to help. And then Regina contacted me, offering to crew for us… how exciting was that?! Things started to fall into places!

We departed at 7am on July 3rd and made it to the border at 3pm with one rest stop for the horses in between. After getting all the necessary groceries in Omak we pulled into Tiffany’s and Bill’s place in Coulee City, WA at 7:30pm. What a great place for a layover. The horses were so happy to stretch their legs. On the next day we made it all the way to Karen and Delmer’s place near Bozeman, MT. Again, our horses had the luxury of having their own pasture for the night. We enjoyed the hospitality of our friends over a Mexican dinner and Karen’s favorite Margarita’s. The evening went by way too fast.

The next morning we took our time, knowing that we only had about 5 more hours to drive. We arrived on Vickie and Dave’s place in Lowell, WY at 4:30pm. Vickie had already two corrals prepared and our horses were happy to roll in the sand. We spend a wonderful dinner with our friends, discussing our plans for the upcoming ride.

The horses got a rest the next day, while we went to visit the Yellowstone Park.

Part 2
On Thursday morning Vickie loaded her trailer and went to Antelope Butte, a ski hill with a nice camping area. There we met with Niki waiting to mark some trail sections with Vickie. We got our horses saddled as well and off we went. Much to our dismay, Draco and Buddy did not like the stop and go speed and almost exploded under their saddles.

In the evening we enjoyed the most wonderful dinner with gorgeous scenery all around us. And as the sun slowly disappeared behind the mountains, it cooled off quite a bit.

The next morning we took our two horses out again and this time we had a chance to let some of the steam off. They felt so much better after. At around 2 pm we packed and drove down to Shell. Vickie stopped half way to show us the beautiful Shell Falls.

We settled at the Ride Camp around 3:30pm. It was hot and dusty with a thunderstorm brewing above us. We vetted our horses in just as the rain hit.

Regina drove in and we were so happy to see each other. She made crew arrangements with my friend Stefanie. Who felt much relieved not being left alone in that scary crew situation. I was glad Regina took Stefanie under her wings.

In the meantime Karen came with her portable Margarita Bar and we tasted her newest creations. Everybody was in such an upbeat mood. Then we had a nice dinner provided by the ride management followed by the ride meeting.

Some last minute packing and re-packing took until about 9:30pm… and then… we went to bed…

Part 3
The morning came quick. I am sure many riders hardly even slept. At 2am I was up feeding. Our horses were eating like champs. A good sign! I was surprised how good our horses handled to be tacked up in the pitch black night with flash lights going on and off in every direction.

The ride started at 4am. Vickie came over to our trailer and the three of us waited patiently until most of the riders had left. And then we got going…

Vickie set a really good pace and we were zooming by several riders. After a few miles the visibility improved with the morning dawn. Our horses moved along with no tension. After 13 miles or so of going through the badlands we had a vet trot by. And what did they say as we left!?... Happy climbing!!!!

And climbing we did. We had to cross 3 canyons, apparently that the hardest part of the whole ride. …little did I know…! We hand walked our horses down the canyons and were riding them up again. It was tough!!! For horses and riders!! At one point my horse Buddy lost his grip and slid down the trail with me. I nearly lost my nerves. Those are trails for mountain goats, I thought.

After we came out of the last canyon we realized we had spent more time than we had planned on. Vickie kept on pushing us to the first vet check. She certainly knew why. I was relieved to see our horses pulsing down so quickly.Our crew team Regina, Virginia andStefanie were waiting for us, took the horses out of our hands fed them and let them graze after. The ride management provided breakfast for everybody.

Time was flying by and we saddled and had to leave for the second loop. We were able to make some time at the beginning of that loop until we came into the Antelope Butte area. I was surprised that our horses started to adjust to those rocky trails so well.

At the second vet check most of the riders came in close together. Our horses again pulsed down immediately. The vet looked at me and said “you have a lot more horse than you think”. And with a grin on his face he added, “sorry but you have to go out again”. Our wonderful crew took care of us again. Lunch was provided too but we weren’t hungry.

The third loop was the “(in) famous” shag nasty. (Sort of) famous for its boulders and ravines. But mostly for its spectacular views. We let Vickie go ahead. Our horses could just not keep up with Dancer’s power trot. As we left VC 2 a storm hit, just as we reached the plateau. It almost blew me out of my saddle. Our horses were not impressed.

And we were climbing and climbing again. The view on top of this mountain was stunning. Shortly after we were descending… (straight down a ravine), into a nice grassy valley with a creek. Now, we were close together with several other riders. Our crew came to a remote spot on the trail and gave water to all horses and riders. Thank God,Regina knows the back roads. Everybody so appreciated it.

Then the seven of us kept going with Peter setting a nice speed. When we arrived at VC 3 we were catching up with the front runners. Again, our horses pulsed down quickly. They ate much better at this vet check. The hold was reduced to 40 min to make sure everybody would finish in time. We pushed our horses as long as we could still see and slowed down when it got dark.

The infamous slick rock section of this last loop slowed us down drastically. We also got lost several times. Regina and crew came to Trapper Creek to give our horses water, since there was none on this trail. Oh, did they suck those buckets dry. With new energy we took on the last 7 miles and finished with ½ hr to spare. Our horses passed the last VC with a 44/48 HR. The vet was asking if they had even done something.

And then it sunk in, we completed the Big Horn 100!!! It was an amazing feeling. Our wonderful crew team helped us until the very last minute.

We tucked the horses in and went for a short nap, while the sun came up already on the horizon. Virginia and Regina slept in the truck. Before 7am, Regina knocked on our door greeting us with Baileys for our coffee. We went to the awards ceremony where Anya received her Big Horn buckle as the first and only junior.

Words cannot describe how thankful we are for all the help, motivation and encouragement. It was an incredible experience. The Big Horn 100 is the real endurance ride.

More photos of the ride at:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Wild and Rugged – 2016 Big Horn 100 by Tom Noll

Wild and Rugged – 2016 Big Horn 100

My Big Horn 100 story really starts about two weeks before the ride when I was contacted by someone who I did not know, who wanted to ride one of my horses, a horse that she had never met or ridden, on the Big Horn 100 trail, a trail that she had never seen, for her first 100-mile completion. What would you do?

Me, I checked her AERC record (lightweight rider, nearly 5000 miles, with a high completion rate). I thought about her request. And, after a day or so, I wrote back to say “yes.”

I hoped to take my two horses to the 2016 Big Horn 100. Both horses are Big Horn 100 veterans and both are tough. They run well together and they had both demonstrated their fitness and competence at the Strawberry Fields ride in Utah three weeks before the Big Horn. However, I did not have a rider for my horse Rocky. One afternoon at Strawberry, I discreetly mentioned that I might be interested in finding a lightweight, competent rider for the Big Horn 100 to one of my friends.

Now, Whiskey, the wild mustang, and Rocky, the Craigslist Arabian, were off to Wyoming together. My friend Cindy, who was my partner on the 2011 XP and who helped Whiskey and me finish the 2014 Big Horn 100, had made arrangements to fly to Boise from Vermont and help me with the 2016 Big Horn 100.

I made some repairs to my van after driving to Utah and back for Strawberry. My two horses were fit. I had a crew. I had a partner for the ride. We were ready and drove east to Wyoming.

The Big Horn 100 is my favorite ride. I am one of the lucky ones who has ridden both the traditional trail and many of the trail variations that are used today. I miss the traditional trail and I know that efforts are underway to address the regulatory issues and reinstate the traditional trail to Adelaide Lake from Shell Creek. My personal opinion is that the traditional trail was about two or three hours faster than today’s trail. The trail used today, and specifically the trail used in 2016, is as difficult as any 100-mile trail offered on the AERC calendar. A Big Horn 100 finish on the modern trail is possible with a fit horse, but there is almost no extra time to allow for unexpected difficulties on the trail.

I arrived at ride camp on Thursday afternoon and enjoyed a very pleasant time with the camp hosts Mel and Sharon sharing conversation on the back patio of their house. Mel and Sharon are most gracious and open their lives to the Big Horn 100 riders and horses each summer.

Other riders began to arrive and we began to renew our friendships. I met riders, some who I saw at Strawberry just a few weeks ago, and some who I had not seen in a year or more. It was a special group that had gathered with their horses on a July weekend for a somewhat obscure event in northern Wyoming.

My riding partner arrived on Friday. We fit tack on Rocky, talked about the ride, went on a very short trail ride, and I was confident that I had made the right decision. Lancette was the right person to ride Rocky in the Big Horn 100.
Lancette traveled from Arizona to Wyoming with four friends – three planned to ride the Big Horn 100 and one would crew. During the afternoon we all talked about the trail, discussed our plans, and prepared for the 4:00 am start.
Early in the morning we were off and heading north across the badlands of Wyoming under the dark desert sky. Whiskey and Rocky were running well in the cool morning air. We were riding with Lancette’s friends and another friend Vicki. We were a well matched group as we headed up the Dugway trail and into the canyons.

The Dugway and the canyons may be my favorite part of the Big Horn trail. The trail is rugged and wild and the climbs are difficult. Some other riders saw a bear on the trail but we were content with the mountain scenery. Several times on the trail I was overwhelmed with the beauty, the horses, and the companionship, and I remarked, “In this moment of time, life is perfect.”

We arrived at the first vet check about twenty minutes behind my previous times. We had some minor boot problems because Rocky’s feet do not have a normal shape and the day was becoming hot. We had resolved the boot fit but the heat would slow the horses the rest of the day.

After the first vet check at Horse Creek, we were off across the Big Horn plateau past Antelope Butte and on to Shell Creek and the second vet check at Ranger Creek. We were still about twenty minutes behind pace. The modern course splits from the traditional course at Shell Creek just before the Ranger Creek vet check, and the modern course has multiple additional high-altitude climbs and descents on difficult footing. A summer squall came through just after the vet check at Ranger Creek and although the squall was windy and wet, it was short-lived and greatly cooled the temperatures.

Partway up the climb, the Big Horn 100 trail took a sharp turn to the left on a rough and rocky jeep trail. This was not good. I last followed that trail in 2006 and the extra climbs, descents, and rough footing contributed to my overtime finish. Also in 2006, I was pacing myself based on my experience on the traditional trail and I had not planned for the additional difficulties of the new trail which likewise contributed to my overtime finish.

The departure from the trail used in 2014 and 2015 had me worried about finishing in time and I voiced my concerns. Lancette said to me, “We are out here on the hundred and we will just ride the trail as presented” which was very good advice. We rode above timberline over the peaks and then down into the valleys. We descended hills too steep to ride and we crossed mountain streams. We climbed again to above timberline. We caught up with Peter Hommertzheim and some other riders and continued around the lakes and up the Shag Nasty. We saw wild turkeys on the trail.
We urged the horses onward, hustling along the trail, and made it to the last vet check at Battle Creek just before dark. Our timing was looking better.

I have never quite learned how to move quickly on the trail after Battle Creek on the descent off the plateau to the Big Horn basin. It is usually dark, the footing is inconsistent and can be rough, and the horses are tired.
The crescent moon had yet to reach the first-quarter and we descended in the dark while a major thunderstorm raged off in the distance. The continuous flashes of lightning along the horizon added an element of drama that made our ride seem surreal. There is magic in the second half of a hundred.

Eventually, we made it off the mountain where our crew met us at Trapper Creek. The horses were thirsty and hungry. We paused for some time to let them eat and drink. Our timing was good and it looked like we could finish. We left for the last few miles across the badlands under a coal-black sky pierced by a million stars. Shooting stars streaked by overhead leading us to the finish.

We were caught by some other riders on the last mile or so into camp. Bruce Burnham, Bob Bischoff, and Dana Landale came up from behind. I told them that they could go on ahead but Bruce replied, “You have ridden in front of us all day and you will finish in front of us.” I looked over at Lancette as I said to my horse, “Whiskey, let’s take it on home, come on, let’s trot.” Whiskey and Rocky quickly picked up the trot and trotted side-by-side that last mile or so all the way back to camp. We finished eleventh and twelfth with two sound horses about one-half hour before the twenty-four-hour time limit.

Today, I am back in SW Idaho, my friends have dispersed across North America, my horses are resting at home, but my heart and my mind keep wandering back to the Big Horn mountains and trails of northern Wyoming.

Best Regards,
Tom Noll
SW Idaho

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New trail - Strawberry Fields - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

July 11 2016

Last year the plan for my BFF Colleen Martin and myself was to go see some new trails, namely the Strawberry Fields multi-day in Utah. For various reasons it didn't happen. But it wasn't forgotten and it became the game plan for this year. June 15 we packed up the boys, Thunder and Blue, a grand assortment of stuff and we left at the dim light of dawn for Heber City, Utah. Roughly 25 miles from there was Strawberry Reservoir and camp at Co-Op Creek. Camp was large sagebrush flat area lined on one side with aspens and another side by the creek. We set up alongside the aspens for shade.

As we admired these red rock cliffs from camp we had no idea that we would be riding to them and across the mountain top behind them. Steve Bradley, photographer, said we reached 12,000 feet at that time...

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Sunday, July 03, 2016


Jim Belsley photo

BACKBONE CHALLENGE RIDE 2016 July 18, 2016 – July 23, 2016

June 30 2016
by Nina Bomar

Five courageous ladies are embarking on a major challenge of skill and adventure in a couple of weeks. The
Backbone Trail Cowgirls are setting out to ride the entire Backbone Trail on horseback as the first group to do so since the trail was completely opened end-to-end and officially designated as a National Recreation Trail. The trail, which goes from Pt. Mugu State Park in Ventura County to Will Rogers State Historic Park in the Pacific Palisades, was officially designated as a National Recreation Trail by US Secretary Sally Jewell and National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis on June 4, 2016. By averaging about 11 miles each day, their journey will cover the 67 Backbone Trail miles of mostly rugged terrain with some pretty hefty elevation changes along the way.

This trip was spearheaded and organized by Ruth Gerson, 81 yr, who first rode the trail almost exactly 25 years ago. She will be riding her 19 yr old Mustang, Crystal. The other participants are Jeanne Wallace, 73 yr, with her 21 yr old Quarter horse, Dill; Janet Peterson, 63 yr, with her 19 yr old Peruvian Paso, Sunny; Tracey Potter, 53 yr, with her 9 yr old Red Roan, Scooter; and Kimberly Gustafson, 45 yr, with her 12 yr old Spotted Draft Quarter Cross, Chief. These ladies have chosen to do this ride for 4 reasons: to publicize the Backbone Trail as a National Recreation Trail, to inspire others to be adventurous, to demonstrate that age is only a number for horses and riders, and to illustrate the need for equestrian and hiker trail camps in the Santa Monica Mountains!

Their trip will begin at the Ray Miller Trailhead in Pt. Mugu State Park on Monday, July 18, 2016 and finish on Saturday, July 23, 2016. They will camp near the trail each night and have their horses in corrals or high lining them. No hotels for these women! They have a support team of friends who have volunteered to take on various tasks such as pre-riding parts of the trail to identify obstacles, clear brush and downed trees, drive the rigs from campsite to campsite, bring dinners in the evening, meet with water for the horses where the trail crosses roads if it’s very hot, and help in any other ways needed.

What an amazing journey this will be! These women will be riding across the spine of the Santa Monica Mountains. The views will be spectacular, not to mention the wildlife and wildflowers. It won’t be easy, but they all share a common thread, a sense of humor and a sense of purpose.

California State Parks, National Parks Service and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy are all strong supporters of this ride and have made every effort to ensure that all goes well. There are 2 non-profit organizations also supporting the ride: Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council (SMMTC – and Recreation & Equestrian Coalition (REC – Park Watch Report (PWR – is a website and phone app for State Parks that is used to improve trails and address safety issues by engaging the public; they are also supporting the ride.

The Backbone Trail Cowgirls will provide a daily update of their adventure on the Backbone Challenge Ride 2016 that will be posted on the SMMTC website (

Gaited Endurance in Really High Heat– Dead Dog Creek 2016 - Full Story

by Keith Kibler
July 2 2016

I started Endurance on this course 11 years ago. It is the closest ride to where I live and I want to support he Mowrer family in their selfless commitment to the sport of endurance, so I always try and make the ride.

It is extremely technical , but not as tough as the Shawnee National Forest and that is where we ride almost every week. Technical courses are the best on for the gaited horses that we train and compete. We have the horse version of a 4 wheel drive and because our horses don’t have a time of “suspension” when all 4 feet are off the ground at the same time. The horses have “gaits” and that usually mean a running walk, a racking gait and a canter. Our really top horses, that are mature, also have a gallop. We use our knowledge of the horse, the gps watch, and a heart rate monitor to know when to switch gaits.

Sandy , my hero of a wife, was in Seattle with grand babies so I got to prep for this solo. Fortunately, I had a friend named David and a friend named Kelley who wanted to crew and a friend named Gaby who also wanted to compete. Gaby has one of the 18 twhs who have successfully completed a 24 hour 100 mile aerc ride. Her mare, Cheyenne, is a muscled racking machine...

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Wild Disappointment - Irish Horse

Trails-and-trials-with-major blog - full story

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Well, the Wild West endurance ride went exactly as I expected…for the first 35 miles.

Well, except for starting in the rain. That wasn't expected! As it pitter-pattered on the roof of the truck the night before the ride, dripping off the trees, I was doubting my choice in sports and remembering rain clothes forgotten at home.

But in the morning I was grateful I'd at least remembered my waterproof jacket, but sure wish I'd packed waterproof shoes too. Oh well, spare set into crew bag and time to go.

I started a bit back but that didn't last long, Major was a freight train, and we passed quite a few people and then were in a lovely bubble by ourselves. I don't mind the speed, it's the pulling and fighting that gets me. In our bubble it was great, fast and strong. Then I got off to walk an exceptionally rocky downhill section and got caught up to by some other riders. And his brain fell out. Repeat...

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

2016 Sunriver 100 – Jala Neufeld

2016 Sunriver 100 – Jala Neufeld

I do not even know where to begin. It started a few weeks ago when I finally committed to registering for the 100. From that day forward, my motto was “I got this.” I had to keep saying it, keep thinking it, whenever I had a doubt about it; I got this came out of my mouth.

Nicole and Greg were instrumental in helping me prepare, checklist, packing lists, going over ride plan, crew plans, what ifs, and reinforcing the “don’t let the good idea fairy take over!” Yah, she Nicole told me that. I always have some really great ideas (NOT!) I got this.

The weekend before the ride, I flew to Wisconsin for a work related training event. I arrived back home on Wednesday, Nicole picked me up from the airport and we went and checked on Belle. She was looking good. Her weight was up, she was full of energy, and her legs looked good. I had taken her for her “blow out” ride the Friday before I left so that’s always a worry on how she will come out of it. I got this.

Thursday morning, travel day. Finished packing on the loose ends from the house, getting ready to load the truck to take to the trailer, and….. the truck won’t start. I got this, it’s ok, I got this. Slight change of plans, load up the car with everything, take it to the trailer and Greg will deal with the truck and his last minute errands. We can still get out in time, I got this.

Kim and Kat helped to finish packing the trailer, we got everything in place, went over lists just to make sure. I got this. Greg still wasn’t back, and I couldn’t reach him on his phone. It’s ok. I got this. Kim and I enjoyed a cup of coffee watching the ponies play out back. I got this right. Yep I got this.

Greg rolls in, and we hook up, load up Belle, and off we go. My super crew included Greg, master of everything especially taking care of me and Bell, Kat, my go to for my elytes and best little runner, and Kim, best massage therapist, motivator and everything else. I got this.

Rolled into ride camp and immediately started to get things in order. Kim, Kat and I unpacked, getting Belle ready for the night and arranged sleeping quarters. Greg got the cooking area all set up and made the best dinner. Homegrown pork chops with stuffing!! It was so good. Ok, I got this. It’s also getting really cold out, I mean water buckets freezing kind of cold.

After dinner I took Belle for a walk. We went down to the water tanks; she thought they were going to eat her. Ok Belle, we can’t have a spooky horse, so as she’s thinking about freaking out, I jump and holler, OMG I thought she was going to come out of her skin, I laughed so hard. She gave me a look, oh that look. She settled down. We had a conversation as we were walking. Just reminding her that we’ve ridden in the dark before, we have always been fine, she just needed to breathe and relax. We got this. We are almost back to the trailer and Belle does a complete freak out like something was eating her ass. Girlfriend you got to quit this there is nothing there!! Come on now, breath, relax, we got this. Took her a few to get herself back together, but she was really worried about what was behind her. I can assure you it was nothing. Then I look up, the sky is spitting snow. Are you serious! SNOW!! In June?? Alright I need to get some sleep and get warmed up. I made sure Belle was tucked in, warm and had plenty of food in front of her and off to bed I go.

I was so cold, I couldn’t warm up. I was hoping that Kat and Kim were staying warm in the back of the trailer. Nothing was moving so I assumed they were tucked in. I didn’t sleep very well, kept getting up to check on Belle. Every time I opened the door, she just looked at me, go away woman I’m warm and trying to sleep.

Friday was nicer; the sun was out, but still cold. Took all day, getting elytes ready, vet check bags packed, little naps, walking Belle, registering, ride meeting, going over ride plan with my super crew, breathing and just generally trying to relax. Many people came over and wished me the best. I was asked numerous times if I was riding with someone. I said no, I know my horse, and it’s something we can’t do and be successful, not this ride. I had to be able to make my own decisions out there without the influence of another horse and rider. I assured them I would be ok, I had my super crew, I had spot, I had a lot of support both on the grounds and back home. I would not be alone. I got this.

Completed my registration, Anna was so sweet in giving me my lucky number: 313. Got in line to vet in, got the number on the butt, vetted thru with a HR of 40. No backing out now. I got this.

It was hard going to sleep Friday night. I layed in bed and closed my eyes, but every little noise had me awake. I check on Belle at least three times. I got this, get some sleep I told myself.

Ok, this is where things get fuzzy, so bare with me.
Saturday morning

Wakeup 0330, check. Coffee to warm up (it’s flipping cold and raining), oatmeal for breakfast, start mixing elytes. Check – I got this

0400, start giving elytes, brushing Belle, prepare for tacking up. Check, I got this

0430 Greg comes out to help me saddle up and keep Belle warm, lifts me into the saddle. Go over the first two loops and what the plan is, check, I got this.

0455 Check in, I got this

0500 Trail open, we WALK out!!! WALKED!!! Oh yah, I got this.

Belle is listening, we walked the first bit, then picked up a little jog, a couple of horses passed us and she’s still with me, head in the game. The first hill, a couple more riders pass us and she is starting to fret a bit, so check check, come on girlfriend, me and you, no one else, we got this. She responds and out we move. Within the first mile we have settled into a comfortable pace, not to fast, not to slow and we can’t see anyone front of us, a couple riders behind us but they are not messing with Belles brain, all is good.

Get to the first water tank, and the I asked the radio guy (hindsight 20/20 look, don’t ask) which way everyone went, he pointed to my right, so off we go. We move out and she’s moving nicely, comfortable, turn the corner and the front runners are coming back at us. Ummm. They informed us that we are going the wrong way, we should have went left at the tanks not right. I had about 4 or 5 riders now that stay with me as I call Lois, there is no way I’m going to put on any extra miles at this point without verification of where I’m at. Lois confirmed our location and confirmed where we went wrong. Alright, it’s ok, I got this. We start heading back and now I have a complete ass of a horse under me. She thinks she’s heading home, we are hopping and popping and going sideways. I’m doing my best to sit, breathe, talk to her, reassure her all without crying. I got this, girlfriend, we got this.

Ok, past the point of our mistake, she settles in a little. Cruising along, and oh my we start going downhill. I had to walk, I have to save those shoulders, to early in the game to mess anything up. I was passed by a few of the 100 milers. Which is ok, I want a completion, I want a happy horse. She doing well, listening, lifting, using her body correctly. THEN, the front 50’s come up on us, I pull over, let them pass. Belle lets me know that this is not right, she doesn’t belong behind anyone. Oh boy, come on girlfriend, not a time for a temper tantrum. We have this conversation, I wait till she settles down, I’m not moving till you figure this out. Finally, she listens and we are going forward again. Aaaannnd, here comes another 50 miler. Annndddd we have this conversation again, this time it didn’t take as long. Girlfriend, we got this, I got this, trust me, I need you.

We are cruising along down the trail, hit a little single track through the trees, she loves those, just a bebobing along annndddd… no more ribbons. Ah hell, where did I go wrong, I back track, she’s confused, thankfully it wasn’t very far, but now my emotions are all over the place, I’m crying, tears are rolling, and saying over and over I got this I got this I got this. My garmin buzzes at me and I see 20 miles pop. What the hell, no way, there is no way was have gone 20 miles already, ok, well if we did then we should be coming up to VC right. Yah… my mind was gone, I couldn’t think. I was stressed, so much has gone wrong already. It’s cold, it’s wet, I’ve taken two wrong turn already. I’m still crying as we come up to another radio guy, after my last experience with the radio guy I’m not asking nothing. But I see water, let’s drink. She said no thank you…. Ok, if we have truly gone over 20 miles you should be drinking right… that’s her thing. So we keep trucking down the trail, playing leap frog with a few riders as we manipulate the ups and downs of the terrain. My GPS buzzes again…. 30 miles, NO FLIPPING WAY HAVE I GONE THIS FAR!!! So I stop, I look really hard at my Garmin, holy hell, Jala you are an idiot!! I forgot to clear my last ride out. You have NOT gone 30 miles you have gone 17. Ok I feel better, I really do, then I cry because I’m an idiot. But I’m going forward and I’m saying out loud, I got this, I really do, I got this. Get over it and move on.
We stop in the meadow to grab some grass, she grabs a mouthful and tells me we have to keep moving forward, so up into the single track we go. Remember, she loves the windy single tracks. We pass two riders and keep going up the hill, two riders come up behind me. It’ Celena and Carol. For some reason I felt a wave of relief over me seeing those two. Celena said we were about 3 miles from VC. Oh thank you lord, I’m doing ok. Just seeing those two brightened my day. Even though it was in passing, it was awesome. Ok, I GOT THIS!!

Come out the single track and I see Cassidy hiding under a tree with a blanket around her trying to keep her camera gear dry and herself warm. Oh I was so thankful to see her. I stopped and chit chatted for a bit, letting Belle eat the luscious grass. She informed me that camp was just around the corner. Belle and I jog a little and when I see the vehicles I start walking. Camp sees me and cheers, it was an awesome feeling to come into after the rough start we had. Belle immediately pulses down and wait. It’s a full check not a trot thru like I thought. OH shit!! I told my crew not to worry about the first one, I had no one out there. Oh shit oh shit, it’s ok, really it’s ok, it got this. Paige comes running up to me and asks what she can do to help, I wanted to break into tears right there. I was so very thankful she was there. I do my best to take care of me and Paige was awesome feeding Belle from her hands and helping me with elytes. I leave camp 10 minutes late, but it’s ok. I want a completion, not going on placings.
And off we go. I really don’t remember much of the next stretch. Other than being cold and wet, UNTIL we are a couple miles from camp and it starts flipping snowing and snowing hard! I know I’m close to camp because I hear the mule hollering for its friend. I laughed, I’m close and I know it. I start walking down the big hill coming into camp, come around the corner and I hear Greg’s voice, “come on mama, we got you!”. I wanted to cry again. We come across the line and Belle immediately pulses down. Greg runs her through vet check and the girls take Belle back to camp to take care of her. Greg throws me in the trailer next to the heater and starts to take my wet clothes off. As I’m stripping I’m hollering out the elyte instructions, Kat is all over it. She was spot on with getting those all set up.
Time to head out again. Back up in the pink look to the same VC area. I really don’t remember much of that loop. I remember coming in to VC, I saw my bright orange shirts and knew all would be good. My amazing crew did a fabulous job taking care of me and Belle, she was looking good.

Time to head out to the next loop. I tell you what, I am so thankful that Washington bike riders are respectful. Oregon bike riders are ass hats. I came across at least four of them, not one spoke to me, not one stopped. They just kept going. Ass hats. Come up on Tani and Layne. They said to be thankful I didn’t run into the motorbike and the four wheeler. And into the last out check I come. The sun was finally out and belle was a little warm, so she took a couple minutes to pulse, but she did. She looked good. We are at the 68 mile mark. But I’m starting to feel it. My body is telling me enough is enough. But my crew was the best, they kept me motivated, took care of Belle.
Greg throws me up on Belle and off I go. This loop was rough for me. I was hurting in places I shouldn’t. I walked a lot, Belle was confused. But she carried me. I came up on a rider that was also walking. We rode together for a bit. Belle did very well at maintaining the pace, just nice and easy, walking when my body said no more. A few riders came up behind and passed us and the one we were riding with went off with them, so it’s just Belle and I again. I hurt, I really hurt. I was crying my body ached so bad. I slowed WAY down. Belle got to eat a lot of grass, when we could find it. I didn’t have my Garmin , it had died, so I plugged it into the truck to charge for my last loop so I had no clue how far we had gone, what pace we were keeping. My mind was starting to go numb. But… I got this. I just needed to get to camp. We stopped at one point, I cried and Belle ate. I bet you I was there for at least 10 minutes just trying to pull myself together physically and emotionally. I told Belle, come on girl, lets keep going forward, we have to be close to camp. We come around the corner, literally just around the corner and there was camp. I wanted to cry again. And yet again, my amazing crew took care of Belle and made sure I was ok. Belle cleared vet and we took her to the trailer.

We kept that saddle on, so she knew she was not done. She was so confused. We are 80 miles into the ride. We are at camp, it’s getting colder as the sun is getting ready to set in about an hour or so. My crew is amazing, lifting my spirits, letting me know that my team is behind me and waiting updates. Belle looks amazing. She’s eating and drinking and peeing and pooping and taking care of her and me. She has been a complete rockstar, but we are not done yet. One more loop. I got this. I put on dry clothes and a heavier coat and Greg lifts me into the saddle. My body says no more, but my mind is back on track, Belle is saying what the hell…. We got this. I was cheered as I left camp for my last loop. Garmin back on, I know where I’m going. Music is playing. My goal was to get down those nasty hills before it got dark, I think Belle was thinking the same thing as she cantered along. We got to the first downhill and she sighed. I apologized to her, I knew I couldn’t get back on if I got off, so she carefully carried me down the hill. We cantered to the next one, and she again, took care of me going slowly down the hill. I got this. The worst of that loop is over. The sun is going down and it’s starting to get dark. I’ve been watching the four wheeler tracks, they were putting glow sticks up. I was ready for the dark to come. Belle and I have been doing night rides at home. But ya know, riding a new trail at night is a whole different experience. Glow stick to glow stick, that what I was told to ride. I got this Keep my eyes open and up. I kept my headlamp off so I could see those sticks easier. It made a big difference. Trust my horse, trust my Belle to make the right choice in where to put her feet. I got this.

Paige had told me she would meet me at the water tanks with some alfalfa for Belle and a bottle of water for me. We are now about 14 miles into the loop and I thought we had missed each other, it was dark. I come around the corner and I see headlight, vehicle headlights, I hear Kat!!! OMG I was flooded with emotions. Paige hand fed Belle a whole flake of alfalfa, Belle was relaxing again. Kat handed me my water, I guzzled it. We stayed there for at least 10 minutes, letting Belle just chow down. Paige said she would follow me out, but not turn on the headlights so I didn’t get sick. I’ve been running without lights and I was afraid it would mess up my night vision also. Belle had a burst, of energy, she knew where she was, we were only about 4 miles out and it was mostly road, she cantered along. I only saw the truck once behind me. The next water stop Belle guzzle, she had learned to drink at every stop now. She guzzled, and off we go, she’s moving out. We are coming down the hill into camp, come around the corner and we see camp. I hear my crew, I hear the cheers, I’m crying, I did it I did it. And….. Belle stops. I mean just stops. I urge her forward, thinking she might be scared of all the lights, nope, he had to pee. We all laughed. I cross the finish line, Greg had to lift me out of the saddle. I can’t move. I don’t remember who did what, but Belle’s tack was off and her blankets were on and she was over at vet and I was confused and Kat took me by the shoulders (apparently I was freaking out a little) and says, ”Jay, she pulsed, she completed” OMG!! WE DID IT WE DID IT. I’m actually numb now. Greg took care of Belle, Kat video’ed everything. I remember very little. I remember getting hugs of congratulations and getting some very much appreciated hot chocolate. I remember laughing at Greg’s BC trot out. I remember hearing her CRI numbers, I remember that she looked fantastic. I remember that my crew did an amazing job of taking care of us.

True emotions of what I accomplished didn’t really hit till we are driving home. I read my team page comments, and was overwhelmed at the support they were giving from afar. I cried when I read all the words, I cried again when I read it outload to Greg who was driving. I cried again when I got to Nicoles.

This was such an amazing experience. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support, the cheers, the comments, for being there. I would start naming you all individually but I am afraid I would miss someone. Because it was everyone. It took a village to prep, ride, and complete and without you all I don’t think I could have done it as successfully as I did.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Every Little Thing (Old Dominion) - BolarGirl

Greento100 Blog - Full Story

by BolarGirl

Monday, June 13, 2016

It was the Old Dominion (I had never heard of Tevis) that first captured my imagination of riding 100 miles through an article in a local electrical co-op magazine.

The ride is nicknamed the Beast of the East and of the riders I’ve met (a very limited sampling) who’ve ridden both rides – most have said the OD 100 is a tougher ride to get a horse through than its more famous cousin the historical Western States Ride (Tevis). Recently I saw the OD 100 called on an endurance site: probably the toughest endurance ride in North America.

I am in no position to argue this point though I hope to be able to someday.

Regardless, the OD began my endurance journey and though I am not ready to take my horse to any 100 mile ride yet, the OD also has 50 and a 25 mile distances available. I volunteered for the OD 100 last June and went through the whole 24 hour period as a vet scribe (learned a ton), was able to ride the 25 last fall, and this year after completing our first 55 mile at Biltmore I registered Khaleesi and I for the OD 50.

Knowing full well what I was taking on I set about preparing the best I could for this ride taking everything I learned from my LD rides, everything I’d read about endurance riding, everything I could glean from my mentor, and the things I picked up on my first 55. It was a tough 50 to take on so early in her career and I also have the distinction of riding one of the small percentage of non-Arabs (Arabs are somewhat more genetically inclined toward the sport and win most of the major awards. They tend to cool more naturally and are built to sustain long miles at a fast speed without breaking down) but it is what it is. I just hoped we could keep our roll of completing each ride we start intact a while longer.

Spoiler alert: we did complete successfully!...

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bad Luck in Fort St John - Chase Endurance - Full Story

Chase Endurance | June 9, 2016

Once again I was hopping on a plane in order to get to a ride site. However, this time I was heading up north to Fort St John, BC wherein I was advised that the forest fires had died down and were not infringing upon the riding trails. The reason the fires had died down was because it snowing, and snowing, and… well you get the picture. I arrived to a complete white out. Luckily, I thought, I had reserved a 4×4 so I shouldn’t have any problems getting to the ride site. But when I asked the rental agent for my 4×4 I was told that all had been given away and the only vehicles left were minivans. The rental agent advised me as long as I stayed in town, I shouldn’t have any problems.

So I drove out of town after picking up the essentials at the local grocery store. It was still snowing. I drove about 60 km north while it was still snowing and came upon a handwritten sign that read “camp” with an arrow pointing to turn. I turned and it was a gravel road with a foot of snow on top. I drove about a mile and noticed about 50 tents in a field. I thought it was really unusual for ride camp to have so many tents and no horse trailers in sight so I kept driving, the snow was getting deeper and finally the van just stopped as it could not plow into the snow any further. I grabbed my phone to call the ride manager to see if someone could drive out and help clear a path so that I could drive further however, there was no cell service. I tried to back up but the van was just spinning out on the snow turning to ice and it was fishtailing closely to the ditch.

Of course, there were no shovels or even an ice scraper to help dig me out. I didn’t want to get my riding gloves wet, so I dug with my bare hands in the snow until I reached gravel behind each tire. During the digging, I remembered a conversation with my friend Elroy wherein he asked whether I wanted to join him to ride at Mount Adams in Washington. I told him “no” as I really wanted to get in more training at this 3 day endurance ride in Fort St John. I asked him why he doesn’t want to attend this ride. He told me that the weather was often unpredictable and it was such a long drive that he didn’t want to take the chance. Did I tell you that Elroy is a very smart and experienced endurance rider?...

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Monday, June 06, 2016

Hallelujah! 5000

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

June 5 2016

What better place to finish up Thunder's 5000 AERC miles than at Outback Hallelujah Trail multi-day! Gorgeous trails, wonderful footing and big loop rides with very little repeat. Extremely refreshing! And then to be able to top it off with our special accomplishment of 5000 miles among good friends, well it just doesn't get much better.

The first day started out cool with frost on the ground and ice on the water buckets. Thunder was full of himself and acting like a stupid kid, a few people thought I must be riding a new horse and it couldn't possibly be the one with all the miles. We circled, we zigzagged, I tried all sorts of stuff and then finally did what usually works. Got off and led him until he settled his silly bad self down! Then I got back on and we trotted on down the trail. He still had attitude but not as much! We only had a few miles left and he saw two horses ahead and just had to pass them. I tried to convince him to eat grass and just chill but no way. So with about 2 miles left I told the gals ahead that we were coming around. Thunder cantered by and kept on going to finish 8th...

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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Mt Adams Post ride wrap up 2016 - Darlene Anderson

MtAdamsRide Blog - Full Story

June 1 2016
by Darlene Anderson

Once again, the Village managed a terrific Mt Adams Ride. There were so many things that went right, it hardly seems fair to bring up the things that weren’t so right, but I’m going to anyhow. Later.


30 miler results 67 started, 60 finished for a 90% completion rate

55 miler results 47 started, 41 finished for an 87% completion rate

75 miler results 9 started, 7 finished for a 78% completion rate

100 miler results 30 (!!!) started, 19 (!!!) finished for a 63% completion rate

There were 11 riders who took on the introductory ride and all seemed to enjoy themselves.

So, going back to 2009. Stephanie Irving, the ride’s second ever RM asked me to take on the ride management with her guidance. It was what any RM would call a “healthy ride”. People tend to show up in droves to early in the year rides and Mt Adams has always been one of those rides people try to get to. The big deal with Mt Adams is that there is usually plenty of trail clean up to be done before the ride. Some years the snow isn’t even completely off the upper trails. It’s not an easy ride to put on, but in the end, it’s very satisfying because, well, “if you build it, they will come”.

It’s always been plenty of work to put on this ride, but they always come, and they leave mostly happy, and that’s more than any RM can hope for. My goal, however, was to make the ride even better. When Steph asked me to take on the ride, I thought to myself, here’s an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. I like to think a trail should be marked a certain way. I like to think that decent awards, sometimes something unique are a little of what people come for. I like to think a well thought out course brings people back. We played around with the trail configurations, we learned by trial and error what works and most certainly does not work in trail marking. We wanted to build a ride that people wanted to go to . A ride that people plan their season around...

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Mt. Adams 2016 – we completed our first LD! - Red Mare Running

Redmarerunning Blog - Full Story

Sunday, May 22, 2016

We did it! I didn't jinx it! Deli didn't injure herself the day before! She got in the trailer! We arrived intact and rode 30 miles!

Deli and I COMPLETED our first limited distance ride yesterday! We completed 30 miles at the Mount Adams Endurance Ride.

I am so very happy with Deli and had a blast on the trail. The Mt. Adams ride is beautifully run. Which is a good thing, because it is a BIG and BUSY ride (with 68 riders, I believe, in the LD and… 30 started in the 100 miler!). The trail was well-marked and the scenery was absolutely stunning.

Deli felt great all day. We dealt with some over-excitement on her part, which was expected for her first ride. She got fairly strong at points (though never out of control) and I was glad I opted for her snaffle bridle over the side-pull. Her power-trot was exhilarating as we wove our way up and up through the forest. It threatened to rain all day, sprinkling on as at times. When we climbed through an old burned out area, the mist crawled in between the blackened trees. At one point we got a close-up view of Mt. Adams’ snowy base. The first loop was long and involved a lot of passing and being passed by other groups of riders. I rode all day with my friend Vanessa and her horse Jinn and had a great time with them...

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Test of Training (Grizzly Ride) - Laura

Rarejourney - Full Story

May 9 2016
by Laura

I will be honest, there are many times that I find myself wondering if I have done a good job with a horse or is what I am doing with that horse productive, am I good enough to be training horses? Usually these thoughts are when I am falling asleep, or driving somewhere. Or after a bad ride, almost always on one of mine. (hardly ever a bad ride on Quick oddly enough) My inner critic has gotten worse, I used to not worry about that sort of thing. Now that I am upping my game it is happening more often. Sometimes I reach that moment of wanting to quit, then I look a one of the horses and know that I could never do that, that the thought itself is silly.
On Sunday I shut my inner critic up. There was not a bad thought she could pull out. Nothing. Silence.

In a last minute decision I took Foo to Grizzly on Saturday night. It was my first time hauling over the pass in my new truck! Entirely nerve racking until I was actually doing it, then I had to laugh because pulling my aluminum straight load with only one horse in it was so much easier than driving Paula's 3 horse gooseneck with two horses and all of the stuff we needed for ride camp. I love this truck. I am still horrified that my trailer was quite green, I didn't have time to clean it. I got done my lesson, and hooked up and left.

I got there as they were having the ride meeting. Set everything up for Foo, registered and vetted her through. This was not only a huge test of Foo's future as an endurance horse, but also a test of how well I had trained her. Foo loves trail work, compared to the issues I have had in clinics and shows, all of the time spent on the trail has been different. Last year at this time she could barely handle a dressage show, intro- walk trot level. Yet it was in an arena, and she is not an arena horse.

In the few short years I have been in endurance I have come to want a few things in the horse I ride. That does not mean that Quick is there yet, he had a lot of deep emotional and mental issues to work through. Foo did not.

First I want a horse that walks out of camp on a loose rein. One day she might get ot the point of racing with someone, but before that she MUST walk out on a loose rein.

Second, I want a horse that listens, that I can rate with just my seat on a loose rein. I know there are times when you need contact, but generally, loose rein and listening.

Third, I want a steady tempo. Especially with the longer distances the more consistent pace you have the better.

There are more, but that is what you can train into a horse...

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Great Britain: Enduring the elements! A first experience of Endurance riding - Full Story

May 16 2016
by Magic's rider

A well-executed event showcasing an exhilarating and technical sport which had the welfare of the horses at the heart of it...

Before actually attending my first endurance race my knowledge on the sport was minimal. I held three fairly rudimental opinions on what it entailed. Firstly competitive endurance riding was galloping flat out for hours on end. Secondly the majority of competitors in the UK were happy hackers. Lastly that the sport had been subjected to many years of negative press showing images of exhausted horses brought to their knees in foreign countries.

Given my rather crude presuppositions on endurance you might be asking yourself how I found myself volunteering at such an event. My livery yard abuts 600 acres of forest called “The Kings Forest”, situated about three miles from Bury St Edmunds in the heart of Suffolk. My yard is predominantly filled with hairy cobs and naughty natives but amongst these reside two very handsome and light footed Arab endurance horses who have been staying over the winter. Since their arrival I have been intrigued by these magnificent animals and what their “job” entails.

Each year two FEI endurance rides take place at The Kings Forest and our livery yard is utilised to provide FEI secure stabling. A week before the spring ride my yard manager opportunistically asked the liveries if anyone fancied helping one of the FEI riders who was low on crew – seemingly the only one not to have checked the weekend’s weather forecast I keenly volunteered.

So at some unearthly time in the morning I arrived at the yard to meet with Andrea Champ – the FEI rider who had somewhat unwittingly taken up my offer of help! Andrea had two horses competing over the weekend both entering their first FEI 1* race of 80km. Saturday was the turn on Magic ‘A touch of magic’ a ten year old Arab x Appaloosa – who seemed infinitely more excited about the early start than I did. Breakfast finished (for Magic) we loaded up to get to the race start...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cache Creek 50 2016: One Tough Mudder - Aurora Grohman - Full Story

by Aurora Grohman
May 9 2016

I already have a 12 hour Cache Creek completion story, but that’s a more typical one, involving heat, endless boot losses, and electrolyte worries. This was the first year that Cache Creek had 2 days of rides and also the first year ever, as far as I could glean, that it misted, rained, and drizzled darn near all weekend. It’s a notoriously hot and hilly ride with generally great footing–generally, but not when you add water! Of course we mortals can do absolutely nothing about the weather except worship the NOAA app and pack everything *and* the kitchen sink because you just never know in these events if you will need shorts or a waterproof parka and it’s really unfortunate if you have neither.

As of Cache Creek, I have had sale mare Ellie home 4 weeks and ridden her 3 times. She’s a high drive, forward, impatient mare and an impressively gifted athlete. She is a mare that can drive you crazy if you don’t accept the simple fact that she is who she is. That is not to suggest that I allow shenanigans, I am an endless foot placement and general manners enforcer, however accepting the very nature of the beast allows you to not let it affect you mentally or emotionally, because it’s merely the mare being her. She’s a little spacey, and she wants to go and she always will. There’s so much more to it than that, however. This is an athlete gifted from birth, like one of those 10 years old with mind blowing voices on reality television, she’s born to do it and flourishes in her element. And that is why a horse that moves restlessly and sweats trailering alone, finds herself on her first solo camping trip in ride camp, feeling like this.

Simply put, she loves it. She settled right in, camps phenomenally, eats, drinks, poops,pees, stuffs her head into her bridle, chomps down electrolyte paste and carrots with equal enthusiasm, and eats all night. Like ALL night. She’s a racey greyhound built mare and requires plentiful groceries, but she consumes and expels, yes she does. Many of my horses drink best when walked to troughs intermittently in camp but she drank well from her trailer bucket, too...

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Ghost Riders at Still Memorial - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales - Full Story

by Karen Bumgarner
May 7 2016

Last week I just had to get out of Dodge! I was going to burst if I stayed home. So Friday at 9:30 AM I was tossing stuff in the trailer, loaded the Blue and off we went for Prineville. My dear friends Cole & Charlotte Still, along with Alice Warner, and the Prineville Ridge Riders had put this ride on for over 40 years. We used to help every year in the old days when that area was "home". However they are gone now to better trails but I could hear their voices calling me.

Cole and Alice built many trails and added to the trail system each year as time went on. And I'm sure Cole rode the ride for 32 consecutive years and as I rode this year I recalled many of my old endurance friends. I know some of them were riding with me. My trail angels...

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Antelope Island - Chase Endurance - Full Story

Chase Endurance | April 19, 2016

The finish line was in sight and Doc knew it was time to overtake these two gentlemen and their horses, but we were still on a single track trail and passing was dangerous with the boulders lining the sides. They knew I was close as they kept looking back over their shoulders seeing how much more ground Doc and I had made up over the last 12 miles...

Jill and I arrived at Antelope Island Endurance Ride Camp in the late afternoon of Friday, April 8th. Jill was leasing a sharp looking gelding going by the nickname Pinky from Christoph Schork at Global Endurance Training Center in Utah. I was teamed up once again on Doc who is owned and trained by Elroy Karius in Kelowna.

As we both were going to be riding in different equipment, we saddled up our respective horses to get stirrups set, figure out any possible rub spots and loosen up the horses from their travels. Pinky was hot and ready to race. Jill was finding him to be quite the handful and wondered if he would be a good fit for her riding by herself in the 25 mile limited distance ride. Elroy and I saddled up and rode up and down the road past the start line to get the horses accustomed to riding in a group. Pinky calmed down significantly if we rode on either side of Jill but it looked like he might be a bit too much to handle safely if she rode alone.

After we untacked, we met to discuss our game plan for Saturday. Elroy and I were registered to do the two day 100 mile ride, however, there were only two or three other riders registered. I’m still figuring out the points system with the AERC, but we would receive more points if we rode in just the two 50 mile rides separately as they had more entrants. That also gave us some leeway should something happen and we weren’t able to continue on day two. Jill decided that she had more than enough horse and registered to do the 50 mile with us and joined the Canadians...

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Friday, April 15, 2016

The Mongol Derby Girls Ride in Iceland - Full Story

April 9, 2016
by Sarah Cuthbertson

From bling'd out bridles to shaggy steeds, Canadian endurance rider Sarah Cuthbertson rides in Iceland!

If you have been following for a while, you probably already know that this year’s adventure for me was to go to Iceland and ride. I was doing this with veterans from the Mongol Derby of 2014 – obviously a talented crop of riders. This was arranged by Anita, who rode the Derby and offered this as a reunion for our quirky and adventurous group of friends.

It did start somewhat similarily to the Mongol Derby actually. We were picked up in busses and just wouldn't shut up for the drive out of the city. However, this time we were past the getting to know you phase, and into the “what have you done for the last 12 months phase”. We did have a few pit stops along the way – one for some food (which I desperately needed for a pickmeup thanks to flying in on the redeye that morning) and the next for the tack shop. You can imagine how exciting things got when we entered in there!

We got to “basecamp” as I will call it for now, which was a beautiful spot at the base of mountains and just across the road, a beautiful lake. Again, like the Derby, we selected our saddles, bridles and packs, and waited eagerly for our horses to be brought in.

Then in came the horses – semi mongolian style: meaning a four-wheeler rounded them into a small pen for capture (if in Mongolia, this would have read Motorcycle). The horses, contained by nothing more than a string around them, nipped, kicked, squealed and ran around like they had something to prove. Several were hard to catch and we wondered if we were in for more wild shenanigans like in Mongolia (of course, we were prepared for this).

I will save you wondering, and say right off the bat… NO. Despite the horses’ antics in the herd, once they were caught, the horses became puppy dogs. Their attitudes toward the humans (once tack was on) was far superior to the Mongolian horses, and even every horse I know at home. They were the snuggliest, cutest, most badass teddybears I have ever had the privilege to ride...

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