Wednesday, July 29, 2009

USA: Preparations in full swing for Tevis Cup

Auborn Journal

Employees at Echo Valley Ranch Supply Store in Auburn sport orange shirts with “Tevis riding out of the ashes” written on the back.

The 100-mile horseback endurance ride known as Tevis Cup is literally back from the ash and smoke of wildfires that forced the cancellation of the ride in 2008. With its return comes more than 170 riders from places like Maryland, Canada and Japan, as well as the business swell at local supply stores like Echo Valley.

This Saturday’s ride, as it has for more than 50 years, takes riders from Robie Park, south of Truckee, through scorching canyons and over mountain passes to the finish at the Auburn Overlook.

“It’s the first and granddaddy of all endurance rides,” said Elise Travers of Echo Valley, who competed as a junior rider at Tevis in 2007.

Preparing and riding

Outside of its old age, the Tevis Cup is the “granddaddy” because of the challenges it dishes out.

Travers says that even qualifying to ride is no easy task. Prospective riders must log more than 300 “race” miles in the previous year to be accepted to Tevis. And those race miles have to be in races of 50 miles or longer. Throw those races on your resume, and you’re in.

But once the ride starts, the even tougher aspects for horse and rider kick in.

“Usually, it’s about a 50-50 chance that you make it through (the ride),” Travers explained. “If people ask if you’re doing Tevis, you say ‘we’ll see’ because you don’t know if you’ll finish.”

Penny Coey, who volunteers at the race every year, explained the obstacles the riders and horses have to overcome. She said things as simple as a bee sting, or a scratch from a manzanita bush could force a rider to quit.

Riders have to make sure their horses (and themselves) are fueled up and healthy. Electrolyte pills for energy and probiotics (like yogurt) to keep the horse’s digestion moving are a must, according to Coey. Much like the Western States endurance run, riders must stop at checkpoints, where veterinarians check the horses for any injuries or breathing troubles.

Travers said keeping herself energized on the ride is equally important.

“I wear a Camelbak for water,” she said. “The canyons get so hot, especially at the bottom.”

Travers said it was a relief when she got to the finish in 2007. Most riders finish well after midnight.

“It’s so exciting to be at the finish line, and see them come in,” Coey said.

Economic impact

Echo Valley Ranch has been sponsoring the ride for 19 years, and also receives plenty of business from Tevis riders coming through town.

Owner Greg Kimler said his store supplies just about everything Tevis horses might need, from grains to equipment.

“We sent out 60 bales of hay, just for Tevis,” he said Tuesday.

He said he also sponsors a team that competes in the ride, known as the Midnight Riders.

The Tevis Cup is naturally included in the “Endurance Capital” tag that Auburn claims, but Kimler said it doesn’t receive quite as much attention as other events like the Western States Endurance Run.

“The city and newspaper promotes the Western States run more, but it’s because the (horse) riders don’t bring as many people to town,” he said.

Kimler explained that the riders tend to stay at local ranches, places where they can keep their horses in the days leading up to the ride. This makes for less of an economic impact on things like hotels and restaurants, businesses that see an up-tick when teams for the endurance run come to Auburn.

The two 100-mile endurance events coexist well, however. Auburn Running Company donates water bottles and helps supply electrolyte replacement products for the riders.

Tevis Cup:

Who: 170 riders

What: Tevis Cup, a 100 mile horseback ride on trails from Truckee to Auburn.

When: This Saturday, August 1. Riders will start coming in late Saturday night.

Where to watch: Riders finish at the Auburn Overlook, near the fairgrounds.


[More ...]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

USA: Tevis Cup Endurance Ride Vet Countdown Begins - Full Article

by: Marsha Hayes
July 27 2009, Article # 14605

Veterinary preparations for the 54th running of the Tevis Cup, a 100-mile horse race, have kicked into high gear as the Aug. 1 race day approaches.

Head veterinarian Greg Fellers, DVM, has been working on recruiting and organizing the 17 veterinarians charged with manning the nine equine checkpoints scattered between the starting point near Lake Tahoe and the finish in Auburn, Calif.

"Horse are evaluated for soundness and metabolic status, including hydration, heart rate, and fatigue," he explained.

Riders are awarded a Tevis belt buckle if their mount is judged "fit to continue" at all checks while covering the trail within 24 hours.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Mexico: Oaxacan youth brings home silver medal

On July 24th in the lush rolling hills of Henryville, Indiana, two Mexican Youth Endurance Riders, Gabriel Mendoza Gagnier , age 17 and Magali de la Rosa, age 16, successfully completed the 75 mile ride to bring their international team to a silver medal win.

This team comprised of two Mexican and three Canadian youth riders took the honor of having all five riders successfully complete, their horses being deemed by the vets as “fit to continue”. In this demanding discipline of endurance riding “to finish is to win” and a 100% completion is considered stellar.

Heavy rains had left the ride’s steep trails muddy and slippery, a situation that required extra-cautious riding but for Gabriel and Magali the "for them" exotic deciduous forests lightened the work of the twelve hours it took them to ride their Arabian horses to a safe and sound finish.

A spirit of support and camaraderie permeated the event that for the first time ever saw riders from all three North American countries competing. Special appreciation goes to veteran rider Jan Worthington and equally experienced ground crew Grace Ramsay who generously lent their knowledge and their horses - Lantana for Magali and LuNor Sovereign for Gabriel.

For more info on endurance riding in Mexico visit:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mongolia: Reddy to compete in Mongol Derby

Aiken Standard
7/25/2009 11:40 PM
Staff writer

The inaugural Mongol Derby is being called the toughest and most physically demanding race in the world.

The derby, arranged by a tour company known as The Adventurists, will feature 26 participants, who will ride semi-wild Mongolian horses 1,000 kilometers across the varied terrain of the Mongolian steppe.

The sojourn should take about two weeks, and participants had to pay an entry fee of $4,450, in addition to the $1,800 that will go toward Mercy Corps, the charity organization who will benefit from the challenge.

Aiken resident Tara Reddy is one of the intrepid horsemen who will be participating in the event. Attempts to reach Reddy via e-mail and phone were not returned. Attempts were also made to contact Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent of The Adventurists, who was with the Mongol Rally hordes in the Czech Republic; and she also did not return e-mails.

The event has drawn concern from several organizations who question the health and safety of the horses who will be participating in the Mongol Derby.

The test of fitness, stamina and endurance will not only push the riders to their limits, but also the horses, who must be in condition for the contest. The start date for the race is Aug. 22. The length between horse stations is 40 kilometers or about 25 miles.

The route will be split into two 500-kilometer legs. Each participant will ride 25 horses during the Mongol Derby. A section on horse care and horse welfare of the horses participating in the event have been posted on the Mongol Derby website, at

Horse welfare is an issue that was raised by the Long Riders Guild, who, according to its website, is the world's first international association of equestrian explorers. The invitation-only organization was founded in 1994. The group has raised questions about whether the organizers of the event are going to be able to provide adequate veterinary care, has suggested that there is absolute disregard for the welfare of the horses involved in the race and has called for an immediate halt to the event.

During an interview conducted by the Long Riders Guild on July 11, Dr. Thomas Juergens, a DVM who is an adviser to VET Net, the Mongolian nongovernmental organization linked to the Mongol Derby, told the guild that he was surprised that VET Net had been linked to the event; a copy of the interview was forwarded to the Aiken Standard by the Long Riders Guild. Juergens also called for the event to be stopped on moral and ethical grounds.

Questions remain as to how adequate the veterinary care will be and how many veterinarians per horse will be available.

Mercy Corps relationship with The Adventurists dates back several years, according to Caitlin Carlson, Mercy Corps communications officer.

"Mercy Corps has been a beneficiary charity for Adventurist events since 2005, initially as the principal charity for the Mongol Rally," said Carlson, in an e-mail dated July 22. "Over the past four years, we have been a beneficiary charity for other Adventurists events such as the Rickshaw Run and the Ruta Del Sol. In 2009 Mercy Corps is one of the three charities for the Mongol Rally and one of two charities for the Winter Rickshaw Run. This year we are also the sole charity for the first ever Mongol Derby. Mercy Corps is not involved in the organization of these events."

The money being raised by the prospective participants for Mercy Corps, which is hoping to raise approximately $41,000 from the Mongol Derby, will go to help a variety of small Mongolian businesses and help stimulate and create job opportunities for poverty-stricken families, who are often nomadic. None of the fundraising money from The Adventurists has been accepted by Mercy Corps at this time, said Carlson.

"Mercy Corps continues to be in regular contact with The Adventurists to ensure that the highest standards of animal welfare are upheld during the Mongol Derby," said Carlson. "We have been assured by the race's organizers that appropriate measures are being taken to safeguard the welfare of horses and participants. We are committed to animal welfare and would not involve ourselves in a fundraiser that compromises this commitment. As far as we can tell, the debate between the Long Riders Guild and The Adventurists amounts to a difference of opinion among long-distance horse riding enthusiasts about animal safety."

The Adventurists say they will provide extensive veterinary care prior to, during and after the race.

"If the horses come to task properly conditioned, are at the proper body weight, are sound of limb and are checked prior to, during and after the races, and they (The Adventurists) institute what they say they are going to do and insure the horses will be properly looked after, the horses' welfare must come first," said Dr. Jeannette Mero, American Endurance Ride Conference veterinary committee chair, who said the AERC would never endorse or sanction an event like the Mongol Derby.

THE AERC has strict rules and regulations riders must follow, and the rides are tightly monitored by veterinarians, said Dr. Keelin Redmond with Avoca Equine LLC.

"Every 10 to 15 miles there are stringent vet checks, and there are repeated vet checks throughout the ride," she said.

It's up to the endurance ride veterinarian to decide if a horse is fit to go on based on its metabolic and mechanical recovery. Pulse rates, hydration, respiration and metabolism level should be checked. After the ride, the horse must still pass final inspection.

Contact Ben Baugh at

[More ...]

Friday, July 24, 2009

USA: Walla Wall riders excel

Walla Wall - Horses and Hits
By Bret Rankin | July 22, 2009

photo: Cassandra Berube
WALLA WALLA — Local riders Ernie Schrader and Cassandra Berube continue to excel in endurance racing with Schrader’s two horses, Captain Calypso and I’m a Sweet Steele.
They tied for second place at the 100-mile Sun River Race at Mount Bachelor, Ore., on June 20th. Captain Calypso again won the coveted Best Condition award. This was his fifth Best Condition award in as many races this year, at distances of 50, 75, and 100 miles.
I’m a Sweet Steele had the highest veterinarian score, just slightly higher than Captain Calypso, but Captain Calypso won the award because he was carrying 42 more pounds of weight for the entire 100 miles, and was in better condition at the end of the ride than the winning horse.
Schrader and Berube rode the entire race together, but had some bad luck. They were “in front of the pack” and reached the second veterinarian check point 30 miles into the race — before the veterinarians arrived, and before the staff had marked the stop location. They continued down the trail past the stop until they realized they must have missed the check point. After riding an additional 25 minutes, they returned to the vet check which, by that time, had been posted in time for riders who were trailing behind them. This allowed five riders to get ahead of Berube and Schrader.
In the next 55 miles, they caught all except the leader, who finished about 10 minutes ahead of them. The next horse behind them was about 40 minutes back.
This was Berube’s first race at the 100-mile distance. She had been practicing for it by riding at night, but that practice proved unnecessary. Schrader and Berube finished well before dark. The last finishers came in at about 3:30 a.m.
Schrader and Berube’s next race will be the Tevis Cup on Aug. 1, along with local rider Dean Hoalst. The Tevis cup is considered to be the toughest horse race in the world, starting near Lake Tahoe. It covers a 100-mile distance over all types of terrain including a climb up the ski slope at Squaw Valley, reaching 8,700 feet at Emigrant Pass, a series of climbs and downhills in deep valleys with temperatures ranging from near freezing to over 100 degrees, swimming the American River at night, crossing the “No Hands” timber bridge and the cable “Swinging Bridge.”
After about 15,000 feet of total elevation change along the 100-mile trek, the race finishes in Auburn, Calif. All riders must finish within a maximum 24-hour allowed time.
Typically, less than half of the 200 pre-qualified international starters actually complete the ride in any given year. Most of the non-completers are “pulled” for various reasons at one of the vet checks along the way. As with all sanctioned endurance races, any horses showing any signs of serious distress, fatigue, lameness or other issue are not allowed to continue. Riders are not checked and may continue injured.
[Full article...]

Mongolia: Controversy continues over Mongolian race - Full Article

July 24, 2009

Both sides have invoked the memory of Genghis Khan, and both seem as intractable as the mighty Mongol warrior, as the war of words continues over the merits of a 1000km horse race across the Mongolian steppes.

CuChullaine O'Reilly, founder of the Long Riders' Guild, has attacked the race, voicing fears for the wellbeing and safety of the horses and riders.

O'Reilly has raised concerns around the experience of some riders, the ability of the small local horses to carry larger-framed foreigners between race stations, and the dangerous and difficult nature of the terrain.

However, The Adventurists, the firm organising the event, says veterinarian support will be in place for the relay race and riders will carry tracking devices for their safety.

Discussion forums and bloggers have weighed into the debate over the race, which will involve up to 800 horses, with some questioning whether the event is in the best interests of the Mongol herdsmen who eke out a living in the remote terrain.

On its website, The Adventurists played up the danger and adventure in the race, which will involved 25 riders racing native horses for 40km legs between horse stations manned by local herdsman.

"Having thundered out over the start line," the Adventurists website exhorted, "a crotch-pounding 1000km will stand between you and glorious victory.

"You will have to navigate your way from one station to the next single-handedly; there's no marked course and there will be huge stretches with no paths or tracks at all.

"In fact even when there are tracks there is little chance they will be going in the right direction. You will be facing the wilderness, alone ...

"Bleeding kidneys, broken limbs, open sores, sun stroke, moon stroke and a list of dangers longer than your arm stand between the you and victory."


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Australia: Going for Gold

Gold: Murray Bridge equestrienne and
endurance rider Jill Bourton took home gold
at the recent South African Championship at
Fauresmith in Free States.


MURRAY BRIDGE equestrienne and endurance rider Jill Bourton has won gold with the Australian team in the South African National Endurance Championships at Fauresmith, in the Free States.

A New Zealand team was also invited to compete in the recent tri-nations event, with more than 400 riders from South Africa.

The South African team consisted of six of their fastest qualifying riders who were the favourites to win gold.

Both the Australian and New Zealand teams were provided with good, qualified horses.

The Australian team arrived a week before the event and were hosted at a game farm near Klerksdorp, in the North West Province, where they were able to ride and train their horses.

During the week, Bourton suffered a fall as the 16.2 hand Anglo Arabian horse she was borrowing shied at a stable.

A Queensland rider also fell during the incident as both horses bolted.

Both riders were unhurt apart from bruising and were able to continue riding.

By the weekend, horses and riders had travelled to Fauresmith in the Orange Free State where the three-day ride was held.

The Fauresmith three-day 200 kilometre championship has been going for 34 years and is regarded as the premier endurance event in South Africa.

The ride started with 382 riders and finished with a 58.7 per cent completion rate.

Bourton set the pace for the Australian team from day one and completed the third day as the first international rider across the line with a total riding time of 11.04 hours.

She finished 43rd out of about 155 riders in the standard weight division.

The New Zealand team lost all but one of its riders through vet outs over the three days of the competition, the South Africans lost three and the Australian team only lost one, resulting in the gold medal for Australia.

"It was certainly the highlight of my year and probably my endurance career," Bourton said.

"The horses were amazing and the speeds were very fast over terrain very similar to our far north and Flinders Ranges.

"I actually felt quite at home."

Bourton said the hospitality and generosity of the Africans was amazing and she would not hesitate to go back.

She hoped she could inspire more South Australian riders to apply to take part in future teams.

"The Eastern States tend to dominate the international side of our sport and even though we have some good endurance riders in this State, I was the first South Australian to compete overseas for some years," she said.

Young Rider Team Dressage Kicks Off 2009 NAJYRC

July 22 2009

The 2009 Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC) presented by Gotham North kicked off today under a deluge from the sky at the Kentucky Horse Park. Despite the fact that rain showers, and eventually a downpour, plagued the first day of competition, some stunning rides in the USDF/Platinum Performance NAJYRC Dressage Championships Team Test and the first medal ceremony of the championships brightened the day for riders and spectators alike.

It was an exciting test from start to finish, as just over four points separated the Gold-medal team from the Bronze-medal team.

Region 7 took home the first Gold medal of the competition. The team, consisting of Brian Hafner and Lombardo LHF, Amanda Harlan and Liberte, Christine Stephenson and Markant and Brianna Dutton and Tibet, finished with a team total of 198.631. All four riders put in solid tests. More importantly, they all appreciate their team members and how well they have gotten along on the journey to the NAJYRC.

"I got really lucky today," Hafner said. "My horse was really solid. We had a few minor faults. It is a huge deal for me to be part of this group and do so well as a team."

Harlan agreed with Hafner, and got the added privilege of experiencing the rain firsthand.

"I was very happy with my ride today. I rode in the pouring rain for the first time!" she said. "I'm so happy to be here. It's been an amazing journey."

Dutton and Stephenson finished with solid scores, but both were thrilled with their team's efforts and with receiving the Gold medal.

"There were a few more mistakes than usual," Dutton said. "But, it was nice to ride and get out there. My team is really awesome."

"I didn't have the greatest ride today," Stephenson admitted, but added, "I have the best teammates anyone could ever have. It was just awesome being there and being able to compete."

The Silver-medal team from Region 2 was made up of Ashlee Todosijevic and Sjoerd, Brittany McCarthy and Gabelle, Kristen N. Becker and Ramses and Kassandra Barteau and GP Raymeister. Region 2 had two riders finish in the top three individually, and had a combined score of 197.315.

The Bronze medal went to Region 3 with a combined score of 194.579. The Region 3 team included Mary-Cameron Rollins on Rose Nior 2, Caroline Roffman on Accent Aigu FRH, Amanda Sterns on Revanche and McKenzie Jenkins on Tsarina Bint RII.

Topping the leader board individually after the first round of dressage was Brian Hafner aboard the Hanoverian Lombardo LHF. Hafner, hailing from Region 7, received an average of 68.842% from the five judges. Lombardo has been with Hafner since he was a four-year-old.

"My horse was really solid today," he said. "We had a few minor faults. But I am very fortunate to have a great horse. He's so amazing. He has a great personality, and I am very blessed to have him."

Hafner goes go school in San Diego and trains with Laurie Falvo Doyle.

Kristen N. Becker and Ramses, a flashy KWPN from Region 2, turned in a 67.789% to put themselves in second place. Ramses impressed the judges with his flashy gaits and smooth, solid movements to earn a Team Silver medal, as well as put himself and Becker in a solid position for the rest of the competition.

Rounding out the top three is Kassandra Barteau and her GP Raymeister, also from Region 2, with their score of 67.579%. This isn't the first trip to this competition for Barteau, but it is the first trip to the championships for her partner. Thus far, Barteau is pleased with Raymeister’s performance.

"He was such a good boy!" she said. "I just took it nice and slow, and I didn't push him. I thought he was really steady. He can get a little flighty, and he didn't see the [judges'] tents yesterday. But, I was really proud of how he handled that."

Raymeister, a nine-year-old Holsteiner stallion by Rantares, has been with Barteau since he was just starting out under saddle.

"We've been together for four years now," she said proudly. "I've had him since he was doing training and first, and he's just working his way up to the FEI levels, figuring it all out."

Wednesday also featured horse inspections for the jumping horses, the eventers and the refiners, as well as the Opening Ceremonies which took place after the dressage had concluded. The big event was a packed and exciting march of the many groups that are onsite and participating in the week-long activities.

First was the procession of participating athletes from across North America that walked into the covered arena through ceremonious black curtains. Dressage, jumping, eventing, reining, vaulting and endurance were represented, followed by the officials.

Many dignitaries were present to show their support, including USEF President David O'Connor, Kentucky Horse Park Director John Nicholson and the President of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein.

After the presentation of the FEI, Mexican and Canadian flags and anthems, it was time for the American flag and anthem to be presented. This was followed by the Lafayette Color Guard and students who performed the Linda Eder song "Gold."

The dignitaries returned to share their thoughts and encourage the athletes who traveled so far and worked so hard to earn a spot at these amazing championships.

Thursday at the NAJYRC will be packed with events staring at 7:30 a.m. and wrapping up long after sundown. Junior Team dressage will compete, as well as Junior and Young Rider show jumping, CCI** eventing dressage and reining.

For more information, visit

Monday, July 20, 2009

2010 WEG: Preparations for World Equestrian Games go full-tilt - Full Article

July 17, 2009

By Gregory A. Hall

LEXINGTON, Ky. — It will be more than a year before tens of thousands of equestrian fans fill the new arena and outdoor stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park for 16 days of world championship equine events, but a practice round of sorts for competitors and organizers gets under way next week.

An international reining test, expected to attract 75 competitors from North America, is open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday, followed July 30 with a four-day vaulting competition.

That first "dress rehearsal" is the latest step since Lexington won the right to host the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games — with an estimated 60,000 fans and 700 competitors from 60 countries.

In the more than three years since that happened, a $45million, 6,000-seat indoor arena has been built at the horse park, along with a $25million outdoor stadium that with temporary seating can hold up to 30,000, along with numerous other details like lining up parking as close as possible in Central Kentucky.

The local organizer of the event said staffers are working to ensure that by Sept. 25, 2010, the day the games begin, nothing goes wrong — and even if it does, you don't notice.

"We go through literally every minute of every day, detailed planning (for) … transportation, security, competition, hospitality, food service, trade show," said Jamie Link, chief executive of the World Games 2010 Foundation. The goal is to "have a very detailed plan and also a very detailed contingency plan for weather, security issues, transportation issues."

The arena got positive reviews Friday from one of the first riders to use it.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Canada: Riders, horses put to the test

Hope Standard

photo: Denise Pascucci and her horse Aur Lanii participated in Merritt's Ride over the Rainbow endurance ride.
Brock Photography

Published: July 13, 2009 12:00 PM

On Saturday July 4th, four Hope riders saddled up for a 'Over the Rainbow Endurance' ride held just outside of Merritt.

The ride consisted of 3 divisions: a 30 mile, a 50 mile and a 100 mile ride over amazing countryside, pitting man and his horse against the forces of nature. All the Hope riders competed in the 30 mile division. It was a grueling hot day with temperatures reaching in the high 30. The riders left base camp at 7:30 a.m. to travel the first loop of the ride consisting of a distance of 15 miles. Riders must decide on what pace to travel at and keep their horses in top form while following the well marked trails back into base camp. Upon return, the horses are checked over by one of 4 vets on site and are held for a mandatory 45 min, break. After the break, they once again leave base camp and finish the second 15 mile loop, again at the pace decided upon by the rider, then return to camp where the horses are checked over again by the vets to make sure all is well. Hope rider Whitney Medley finished in 2nd place competing against 43 horses and riders. Rider Lee Pettit pulled from the race after the first half, when his horse Shilo was suffering from the extreme heat and he felt it was best to rest the horse instead of continuing on. First time rider Shelley Taylor on TRS Joe Cody placed 30th while companion rider Denise Pascucci on Aur Lanii place 31st and received the High Vet Score for the 30 mile riders. HVS is when the horse receives top marks from the vets in all categories such as good hydration, clear lung and heart and no lameness.

The weekend was great, filled with lots of friendly riders and a good sense of camaraderie. The ride marked the 20th anniversary of the Ride over the Rainbow and many great prizes were sponsored by the BCCTRA.

The riders will be attending the final endurance ride of the season in September being held in Westbank.

[More ...]

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Australia: Mudgee’s endurance champion


Mudgee's equestrian endurance champion Mette Sutton has accomplished her greatest ever feat, winning an equestrian gold medal for Australia at the 34th annual South African Endurance Championships.

The ride was held last week in Fauresmith, a small lucerne and potato farming town in South Africa's Free State province.

Sutton and her five other Australian teammates - Jennifer Gilbertson, Clare Fleming and Tami Parnell from New South Wales, Gayle Holmes from Queensland, and Jil Bourton from South Australia - won the 'Best International Senior Team' gold medal in a Tri-Nation battle with South Africa and New Zealand.

"It was pretty amazing to win, I never expected it," Sutton said.

Sutton said that the Australian team did not go out and try to post the quickest time. All they wanted to do was to finish with as many riders as possible, which they did, as five of the six Australian riders completed the course.

"The team referred to itself as girl power," she said.

It was Sutton’s debut ride for Australia and she said she became emotional when Advance Australia Fair was being played.

"On the first day they played all the three national anthems and they played Australia's first. I sang the words out loud and there were a few tears... I tried to hold them back but it's not often you represent your country in the sport that you love,"

The multiple Cooyal ride champion was invited to take part in South Africa’s premier endurance event by the Australian Endurance Riders Association in May.

The ride consisted of three days of gruelling riding; covering a distance of 201kms -75kms on the first two days and just over 50kms on day three.

The Fauresmith course ran over low hills and ridges, along dirt roads and stony sections that slowed riders down.

Sutton said she found conditions to be very similar to Australia's.

Only 60 per cent of competitors completed the ride and Australia finished 46th out of the 86 that finished.

Riding a seven-year-old grey Anglo Arab gelding named 'Buks', which was supplied to her by the Endurance Ride Association of South Africa, Sutton rode in a time of 11 hours and 23 minutes.

Sutton said that was a good time for her but it was not as quick as some of her other competitors.

"I was surprised at how fast the South African riders were. They would take eight hours to ride 200kms at speeds of 24km/h."

The Mid-Western Regional Council’s 2009 Australia Day sportsperson of the year recipient will now take a well-earned rest from big competitive races.

She will focus working on younger horses including her three-year-old coloured mare 'Tuldar Dream Catcher' for competition.

While her famous equestrian horse 'Tuldar the Magician' will have a spell for the rest of the year and will be back for the Tom Quilty gold Cup in June next year.

USA: 2009 Adequan NAJYRC presented by Gotham North Readies for Kick-Off

Release: July 16 2009

Beginning Wednesday, July 22, with a kick-off celebration and opening ceremonies, the 2009 Adequan FEI North American Junior & Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC) presented by Gotham North will welcome junior and young riders from across the expanse of the continent to a much-anticipated and highly-regarded series of championships.

The NAJYRC is the premiere equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders age 14-21. Young equestrians come from the United States, Canada and Mexico to vie for championship titles in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage, eventing, plus the Western-style discipline of reining. The competition is run under rules of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport.

The 2009 series of championships will be one of the biggest in the history of the event with an increase in the number of entries, as well as the number of demonstration events having grown substantially. In addition to the higher number of competitors seeking a victory, there are two non-Olympic equestrian disciplines participating with riders taking to the endurance trail and the vaulting arena in non-championship events.

Many of North America's best equestrians got their start at the NAJYRC including Olympic medalists Greg Best, Karen O'Connor, Chris Kappler and McLain Ward.

The NAJYRC began in 1974 as an eventing challenge between the United States and Canada. A dressage championship was added in 1981, and show jumping was added in 1982. The first complete Young Riders championship was held in British Columbia, Canada in 1982. The Championships were expanded to officially include a championship division for juniors in 2006. The discipline of reining was added to the official schedule in 2008.

Opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22, and admission is free of charge (there is a nominal parking fee for the Kentucky Horse Park). For more information, visit

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Italy: Assisi Endurance Lifestyle 2009

Release: July 14 2009

The FEI Meydan City European Endurance Championship Open 2009 is the most important world endurance event of the year with all national official teams from five continents participating. Held during the event known as the Assisi Endurance Lifestyle 2009, the endurance championship will join other activities and topics such as economics, medicine, real estate, culture, fashion and entertainment across September 17-27 in the Italian city of Assisi.

The program also includes a prestigious international veterinary symposium, a round table conference on hippotherapy, a master art exhibition on horses and a weekend of activities dedicated to children and ponies. Assisi Endurance lifestyle 2009 is sponsored by RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana, the event’s main media partner.

The opening ceremony of the FEI Meydan City European Endurance Championship Open 2009 on Thursday, September 24, will be glamorous and unique. Taking place in Assisi’s municipal square instead of in the stadium, each nation will pass by in procession with its own flag in a medieval atmosphere and setting, supervised by the Ente del Calendimaggio di Assisi.

The Great Endurance Ball will take place on September 25 in a location which is still top secret. There will be a special event during the ball supervised by the famous fashion firm Luisa Spagnoli.

The highlight of the event will be on the September 26 when the best world riders will compete against one another, among them the official national teams of the countries of the Persian Gulf, which are the event’s favoured teams: The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

In addition to the endurance race, the children in attendance won’t be forgotten. After the success of the Pony Village 2007 and of the Italian Pony Endurance Championship 2008, the program includes an independent event called “Ponies & Kids.” The event is totally dedicated to children and horse riding, horse riding intended not only as game and sport, but also as formative and educational.

From the September 17-20, there will be competitions in endurance, vaulting, obstacles, gymkhana, dressage and various pony games. There will be three competition fields and children will have the opportunity to experience horse riding with competitive spirit.

For more information, visit or contact Sergio Cerini at

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thailand: Hua Hin – Cha-am Horse Festival 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009

As part of the official 100th Hua Hin Centenary celebrations, the inaugural Cha-am – Hua Hin Horse Festival “Endurance Classics” has been organised, with over 100 riders and horses participating in an endurance marathon along and against the breathtakingly spectacular beach and mountain backdrops for which the twin resort towns of Cha-am and Hua Hin are world famous.

You are invited to join your fellow horse lovers for a riding extravaganza and social gathering, with a plethora of equine activities and games for your enjoyment along the stunning scenic beach route between Hua Hin Airport and the starters’ line and winning post at Dusit Thani, Hua Hin.

Equestrian enthusiasts participating in the 40 and 80-kilometre endurance events over beach and mountainous terrain between Cha-am and Hua Hin fall into three categories, with local Thai and expatriate riders pitting their skills against regional riders from neighbouring South-east Asian countries and International entrants from the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

In addition, there is a 10-kilometre contest for locals, featuring horses from within the boundaries of Cha-am and Hua Hin and a special event for VIPs which is bound to attract some notable celebrities and socialites.

Special celebration rates to mark this unique and momentous event are available from Dusit Thani Hua Hin, who will also host the not-to-be-missed VIP party.

Don’t miss your chance to come join the fun, simply by admiring the horses or by saddling up and testing your endurance. Whichever is your cup of tea, make sure you are part of the beach spectacle of Hua Hin’s first century!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Malaysia: Tuanku Mizan Leads Charge In Fun Ride Endurance Race

SETIU, July 11 (Bernama) -- Yang di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin led the charge among 51 riders in the Fun Ride 2009 endurance race which started off at the Terengganu International Endurance Park (TIEP) in Lembah Bidong here on Saturday.

Tuanku Mizan, who is riding B.H. Magna Thor, is representing the Royal Terengganu Endurance Stable (RTES) in the 80km race.

The overnight race is expected to finish at 5.10am tomorrow.

Tuanku Mizan's son Tengku Muhammad Ismail is taking part in the 40km race together with 33 other riders.

Tengku Muhammad, who is also representing RTES, is riding Harmere Cairo in the race, which is organised by RTES and the Terengganu government.


Great Britain: A weekend of endurance at Perth

Perthshire Advertiser

Jul 10 2009 by Alison Anderson, Perthshire Advertiser Friday

PERTH Racecourse was the venue recently for the two-day Scottish Endurance Riding Championships, with the flagship event, the two-day 160km endurance, going to Irish rider Helen McFarland on J St Jake with a speed of just over 14kph.

Endurance rides are run as race rides, with a mass start, timed vet gates and first past the post and passing the stringent vetting the winner.

As well as the longer endurance ride classes, it was a weekend festival of endurance, with supporting classes including pleasure rides and timed competitive rides, where gradings are awarded on the basis of heart rate and speed.

Around 150 horses and their riders, of all shapes, sizes and breeds, enjoyed the weekend, with an opportunity to enjoy a historic and varied route as well as watch some of the top endurance horses in Scotland in action and pick up some tips.

Belfast-based lawyer Helen and Jake finished comfortably ahead of the field in the two-day 160km while, in contrast, there was a flat out race to the line in the 80km endurance ride.

All riders in the 80km class made an error on course, so the pressure was on to make up time and speed. Four combinations battled it out to the line with Dumfries rider Nikki Todhunter snatching victory on her 17-year-old part bred Arab mare Fayre Savanna.[More ...]

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

New Zealand: Mandy and Copper grab national title

9th July 2009

MANDY Walton of Toko was delighted last month to pick up the title of Endurance New Zealand Junior Distance Rider of the Year.

The 17-year-old won the North Island Junior Endurance championships at Easter and now with her horse Copper she has picked up the national title.

Endurance riding involves riding up to nine hours a day following markers cross-country without overtaxing your horse. At the end of each event the horses are vetted, and if their heartbeat is over 64 beats per minute you're out.

"You've got to take your time and really know your horse," said Mandy.

Mandy has been riding since she was six but only started endurance riding last year.
Her grandfather Trevor Walton, who competes in endurance riding on a senior level, taught Mandy to ride. They were into horse trekking but Mandy said they found that a bit slow so took up endurance riding.

Mandy rides at a trot or canter. Her longest ride so far was 83km at Auckland and she carries a heart monitor to check the horse's heart rate.

She said Copper is a great horse for the shorter rides and she has ridden 24 competitive rides on the eight-year-old mare.

Next year she moves into the senior division where rides are up to 160km long.

To do those she has a new horse, a seven-year–old gelding called Charlie. Both horses are Arabs, the best horse for endurance riding as their heart rate is slower than most horses.

Mandy has her eye on competing in the South Island Champs in January and if all goes well, then the 100 km Nationals in April next year.

She practices by riding most days for two hours and if she does OK at the national champs she will have a chance at world events. Kiwi riders do well on the international endurance-riding scene.

South Africa: Bad luck for Mark Tylee and Jenny Champion at Fauresmith


The Endurance New Zealand team of Mark Tylee, Jenny Champion, Helen Graham, Maxine Leary, Debby Worsfold and Kylie Avery headed off to South Africa on Monday 29th June for the National Champs in Fauresmith.

After the first day of competition at the South African National Endurance Champs, Fauresmith, Mark Tylee and Jenny Champion are both out of the competition.

The story through today is that Mark's horse was difficult to manage, the horse did not settle into the competition, biting both himself and one of the attending veterinarians, subsequently the horse was vetted out on heart rate.

Jenny Champion's horse unfortunately went lame.

On a positive note the other four riders, Kylie Avery, Debby Worsfold, Maxine Leary and Helen Graham are still in the competition where they will be going into their second day of competition very soon.

Helen Bray reports on the ride:

For some, the beginning of the trip was a challenge.

The group that left from Wellington Mark,Jenny,Tina had no problems through Sydney and on to South Africa. For those leaving through Christchurh it was not so easy.

The Christchurch flight was cancelled 5min before departure. We were rebooked through Singapore, giving Debby Worsfold ,Kylie Avery ,Helen Graham ,Helen Bray,and Philip Graham, an extra 5 hours in CHCH a 11hr flight to Singapore 8hrs in Singapore waiting for their 11hr flight to South Africa.We made it in the end. We met up with the rest of the party Tuesday morning, Travelling 2hrs to where the Australian team were staying, for lunch and a game park tour. We then travelled 500km north west to our host families. The team is being hosted by members of the North Western area Endurance club.

The host families also are supplying our horses. The family I was with, farm 5000hect of flat, Kalahari sand country in a semi-arid area, getting 16inch rainfall. Their farm is stocked with 400 beef cows and 75 horses. Stock are run in 100 hectare paddocks, horses and cattle run together. All stock work is done on young endurance horses.The country is covered by little grass and low scrub.

The next afternoon, we took in a visit to a game park with a variety of wildlife. It had a large number of fenced 2hect pen's for lions,and leopards. Some great photos were taken.

We left for Fauresmitm the next day, travelling Southeast 600kms in convoy with the horse truck, caravan and support vehicles. We passed through the Kimberley diamond mining area and saw some amazing African vistas.

The ride base is at Fauresmith, a town of 1000 people. It is about 1500m above sea level, sandy, stoney country. The ride has been at the same venue for 35 years. It is the S.A. National Champs, 200kms over 3 days. There are 3 loops each day, with 2 out post vet checks. 411 entries so far. The ride has been won in the past with speeds of around 25km.

Today we have travelled 120km North to Bloemfontain for some sightseeing and retail therapy. It is warmer, clear sunny days, almost tee-shirt weather, but the nights are cold.

Training rides and horse preparation take up the next 2 days. A parade is held on Monday morning prior to pre ride vetting. The ride begins at 7am Tuesday, 7 July, local time.

The team is being hosted in local homes, 5mins from base. Their hospitality and that of our horse hosts is incredible.

Namibia: Victory in 60 km Endurance Ride

Tuesday, July 07, 2009, 11:00

Not content with just going on a Safari Riding Holiday in Africa, veteran endurance rider Sue Speed competes in a 60 km Endurance Ride and wins

On Arrival at Windhoek, Namibia, I was met by Ingeborg Hernes, my host at Okapuka Horse Safaris. My destination was Okapuka Ranch, which is set in countryside ranging from flat savannah to sandy valleys, mountains, rugged cliffs and dry river beds.

The ranch was established as a private game reserve in the mid '80s, by Fritz and Monika Flachberger. It covers an area of more than 35,000 hectares, which has become the home to a wide variety of game that continue to breed well.

Okapuka has a herd of mainly purebred Arabian horses. They live in sandy paddocks and are stabled during winter nights. There is very little grass in the dry season so they are fed hay and lucerne. For hard feed, there are oats, barley, maize and lucerne, all ground to a meal with added minerals and electrolytes. The safari horses do a week on and a week off and after six months' work are turned out in the bush.

On the first afternoon we met at the stables for an afternoon ride to Baboon Post. The saddles were South African, made by Leon Liversage. They are based on stock saddles and are some of the most comfortable I have ever ridden on. We rode with longer stirrups and a more upright position than I am used to (like a cowboy!).

My safari horse was a mare called "Desperanza El Nabilah". She was gorgeous, very forward going and liked to lead. When she settles, I am sure she will make a fantastic endurance horse. During the ride, we saw a huge herd of eland at the water hole, which was a fantastic sight. We also came across black wildebeest and giraffe.

The next morning, we had an early start to The Windmill, following the flat sandy tracks along the ridge of the mountains. We rode through fields of Namibian lavender to see blue wildebeest, giraffe and a whole family of bat-eared foxes. We also saw two resident crocodiles sunbathing.

On my second day we began Endurance Training, consisting of 13 kms of trot in just under an hour. It was lovely in the cool of the morning. My endurance horse was Farrasha, a black nine-year-old Arab mare. She was very like my own Yakamin in personality and a joy to ride.

After breakfast, we set off for another safari ride with nice long canters along sandy tracks. We saw a herd of rare sable antelopes, springbok, oryx and wildebeest hiding in the thick acacia bushes. It was a shorter ride today as we went shopping in Windhoek, in preparation for Saturday's endurance ride.

On the third morning we went on a Picnic Ride to a beautiful valley, full of exotic birds such as the Lilac Breasted Roller and Crimson Breasted Shike.

We rode Farrasha and Ameer and met the pick-up for lunch, drinking wine in the shade of an umbrella acacia.

On Thursday's safari ride, Ingeborg rode Jacosa, her best endurance mare. She is in foal so is not competing this year. There was a moment of drama when she nearly stepped on a Puff Adder. Ingeborg lost two horses in the velde last year from snake bites.

On Friday morning, we loaded the landrover and trailer with enough gear to last the two horses, Ingeborg, myself and the groom Pontiamus, for three days. We set off to Katjapia; a farm north of Okapuka, travelling across difficult terrain through the mountains.

We were both competing in 60 km classes, I in a "No Weight" division, and Ingeborg in a Standard Weight Novice class.

The following morning, we changed into our riding gear and, after an unexpected delayed set-off, took the horses for a quick spin.

At the ride briefing, Rudolph, the route master, went through everything in Afrikaans. No one carries maps on these rides, you just ride from arrow to arrow!

Saturday morning brought with it cold temperatures. We were up at 3.45 am, ready for our start time of 5:30am.

The massed start in the dark was very exciting. Farrasha was calm but Ameer was hyper. We had planned to start last but it didn't work out like that, we caught the others up much too quickly.

There were water bowsers every 10 km or so but the horses didn't drink much on the first loop. I was pleased to be on Farrasha, who just pulled a few faces at Ameer to tell him to behave but kept going steadily.

The first leg just flew by. We covered the 28.2 km at 14.5 kph. We vetted after 41/5 minutes, followed by a 40 minute hold and then we were off again on the second 32.5 km loop.

Ingeborg overheard that the leaders were only 21/2 minutes in front. We decided to go for it! Ameer was behaving perfectly now and Ingeborg took photos as we rode. We overtook five riders and increased our tempo to 22 kph. Smiles all round.

In the intense morning heat, we stopped at every watering place. With no sponges to hand, we used our hats to pour water over the horses!

We were at the last watering hole when another rider appeared out of the blue. Ingeborg told me to get going but I was on the ground and there was no handy termite mound to mount from. Eventually, I clambered aboard and set off while Ingeborg kept him talking! Then I heard galloping hooves and it was Ameer catching up fast.

Seven hundred metres from the finish, three more riders were coming up from behind, so we urged the horses on and flew over the finishing line at full speed. We'd done it!

We only had to get through the vetting and both horses were fine, with Ameer's heart rate dropping to 61 bpm in seven minutes and Farrasha's in ten minutes. She had covered the 60.7 km in 3.48 hours at a speed of 15.97 kph despite the heat and the dust. Both horses won their classes!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Spain: Qatar's Premier Stud Provides Full Support to Spain’s Endurance Racing Season

Photos by Scott Trees - Trees Media

El Paula 120km a successful race for participants and organizers

June 28, 2008, Puerto de El Paular, Spain:
The results from the first ever FEI-sanctioned 120 km endurance race held in Spain's Penalara Nature Reserve brought forth a promising crop of young Spanish riders who were qualifying for Spain's National Team. Sponsored by Al Shahania Stud of Doha, Qatar, this event highlights the stud farm's firm support of endurance racing around the world and their dedication to the sport.

Held over June 27th and 28th, the 120 km race for adults and juniors challenged riders and horses with a stunning course through mountainous terrain and forest found in this natural preserve. Located only an hour from Madrid, the location was chosen both for its beautiful scenery as well as its cooler temperature.

"We are thrilled to have sponsored the first running of the International Endurance Valle de El Paular. We witnessed a high caliber of horses and riders, and are very pleased with the local support we received. We are confident this race will continue to foster young riders talent, and we look forward to our continued support of this race, as well as others," said a representative of Al Shahania Stud.

Located in an oasis outside Doha, the capital of the Arabian Gulf state of Qatar, Al Shahania is one of the most progressive and successful Arabian breeding and racing establishments in the world. The impressive facility boasts state-of-the-art equine breeding laboratory and barns, full quarantine facilities, and lush pastures ideal for young, growing horses. Currently producing an average of 20 foals per year, the farm is breeding consistent quality flat racers as well as endurance Arabians.

Keen to embrace the world's growing interest and participation in endurance, Al Shahania has ambitious plans for future event sponsorships as well as increased breeding efforts. The inaugural International Endurance Valle de El Paular is the stud farm’s first sponsored race in Spain.

The 120 km for Seniors had 30- starters with 17 finishers, and 26 starters for the Juniors category and 12 finishers. David Fernandez Vilar riding Enia won the Adults race with a total race time of 06:23, while Uma Mencia Uranga on Indian Tawfik won the Juniors category with a time of 06:33. Norte Team won the Adult team race with a winning average time of 06:29 and Team Equipo B won the Juniors team category with a time of 06:33.

"This is the biggest thing to happen in this village in a long time. The race was very well organized, and it is a great opportunity for our youth, as well non-riders to get a sense of what this sport is all about," commented a local resident.

Accomodated in the historic Sheraton Santa Maria de El Paular 15th century Monastery and Hotel, race participants and organizers enjoyed a lively cocktail party pre-race, and an enthusiastic prize giving ceremony wrapping up what was a fun filled weekend for all.

Al Shahania Stud, founded by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani, is recognized as an international racing enterprise. In all, 157 horses reside at Al Shahania, predominantly of French lines, and the farm produces an average of 20 foals per year. In the 20 years since its inception, Al Shahania has earned a place among the world’s great Arabian race stables, helps define the standard for excellence in breeding of the Arabian horse. Al Shahania breeds both flat and endurance racers, and is consistently producing results-driven horses.

Complete results here.

Monday, July 06, 2009

UAE: Dubai daily suspends publication over story

Published Date: July 07, 2009
DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates' most popular newspaper suspended publication yesterday for 20 days in compliance with a court ruling after being sued for a story alleging some of the Abu Dhabi ruling family's horses were doped. The suspension against the Arabic-language Al Emarat Al Youm was issued last week by the Abu Dhabi Federal Supreme Court, which is the highest court of the Emirates. The court also imposed fines of 20,000 dirhams ($5,445) on the paper's editor and chief executive.

According to official documents, the newspaper was suspended for "intentionally publishing inaccurate and untrue information" about horses owned by two sons of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, a prominent member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family and the Emirates' former deputy prime minister. The newspaper in a 2006 article alleged that their horses at Warsan Stables were drugged to enhance performance. The stable owners sued the newspaper, editor Sami Al-Reyami and chief executive Abdullatif Al-Sayegh for libel and defamation.

A lower court ordered the suspension, but the newspaper appealed to the high court. Al-Reyami and Al-Sayegh could not immediately be reached for comment yesterday. The Dubai-based Arab Media Group (AMG), the newspaper's owner, said in a brief statement the group was "committed to the laws and regulations of the UAE and will fully adhere to the court's decision with immediate effect.

As has been declared by the Federal Court of Appeal (the highest federal court) the Arabic daily publication Emarat Al-Youm has been temporary suspended for a period of 20 days from 6 July 2009," said in a statement. The group is a division of Dubai Holding, run by the Dubai's ruling Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. The 59-year-old sheikh owns several stables, hosts the world's most lucrative horse race in Dubai every year and rides endurance races.

Several newspapers in the Emirates reported the horse Mohammed rode in 120-km endurance races at Bahrain in January and Dubai in February failed doping tests. But local media typically avoid stories that could upset Emirati officials, rarely questioning rulers' decisions in print and on the air. The practice has recently been strengthened by the country's pending media law that includes a staggering fine of $1.35 million for "insulting" members of the ruling elite and up to $136,000 for "carrying misleading news that harms the national economy.

Human Rights Watch condemned the court's decision on July 1 to suspend the paper as a "serious attack" on press freedom. "Even if the article was not accurate, shutting down the newspaper for three weeks is totally disproportionate and a serious attack on press freedom," said the New York-based watchdog's Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson.

Racing is a massive sport in the UAE. The six million dollar Dubai World Cup is the world's richest horse race, while Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Stables in England and the UAE are among the best known in the world. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the two largest emirates in the seven member UAE. - Agencies

Italy: 2009 Gubbio CEIO Nations Cup

4 July 2009

On 4 July 2009 in the countryside surrounding Gubbio, Italy, an ancient town whose roots date back to pre-Roman times, the CEIO*** 160 km Italian Nations Endurance Cup and Campionati Italiani Endurance was held.

Italian Giuseppe Neri, riding Gemir, was first across the finish line, claiming the title of Italian Champion. Italian Danilo De Angelis on Present Jey was second, followed by young rider Sarah Chakil of France riding Lady Armor.

In the CEI** 120-km Roman Theatre Race, Italians swept the first 11 positions, as Erika Vagnetti, riding Ghimly, won over Antonio Vaccarecci, riding Eldor. Silvia Scapin, riding Hermes di Pegaso, was third and won Best Condition.

Elena Mariotti riding Naiade du Croate won the CEIO** Young Rider/Junior 120 km race, followed by Emma Berti on Czar de Fressanges, and Carolina Asli Tavassoli on Abisy'Nczyk.

Additionally, a CEI* 93-km ride was won by Marco Melograni on Shamir.

Riders from Italy, France, Slovenia, Jordan, Belgium, Switzerland, Argentina, Austria, Greece, Malaysia, and Japan participated.

For more information, see

The podium:

Left, Danilo De Angelis, Giuseppe Neri, Sarah Chakil

160 km Best Condition: Drazan / Kristel Van Den Abeele

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Australia: Bareback ride a warm-up for Tom Quilty

Weekly Times Now
July 2, 2009

ENDURANCE riders think nothing of trotting and cantering their horses 160km as a warm-up for a major event.

But it's another thing when you ride that distance bareback, as Nikita Verspaardonk did on her horse Wally at the Upper Murray endurance riders challenge on June 21.

Nikita was one of several riders preparing for the world-famous Tom Quilty endurance ride, which starts at midnight on September 18 through the Tonimbuk State Forest.

The Upper Murray event was for riders in open classes and weight divisions.

In the two-star level event, Kristie McGaffin won the class and also took the important best-conditioned prize with Kurrajong Concorde. There were nine starters and seven completed.

In the one star class, leading Australian rider Penny Toft of Queensland finished ahead of 19 others to take honours on Don.

In the weight division, the heavyweight section was won by Leah Leishman on the Morgan-bred horse Mt Tawonga Wishing. The middleweight winner and best conditioned horse went to Merv Fisher's Wenway Eternity.

Kim Noble's lightweight winner was Mytkina, and Nicola Robinson's Shuja Bint Melika was best conditioned.

Samantha Noble took out the junior class.

Friday, July 03, 2009

USA: Western States Trail Documentary Film

Now Available on DVD

The Western States Trail Foundation, sponsors of the world-renowned 100-Mile Tevis Cup Ride, is proud to announce the DVD release of They Crossed the Mountains: The History of the Western States Trail. The 52-minute documentary covers the usage and history of the famous Western States Trail by Native Americans to Gold Rush miners, and by horseback endurance riders and runners — a history spanning thousands of years. This poignant film portrays a wide scope of history, from John Fremont’s discovery of Lake Tahoe to firsthand stories about Indian relatives who traveled this path. Tales of brave pioneers, both historic and contemporary, punctuate the film. Twelve historians were interviewed, giving the documentary a richness and depth about the trail route that traverses the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Carson City, Nevada, via Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley to Auburn, California.

A portion of the documentary includes excerpts from a 1931 black-and-white silent film that features a group of Auburn men who traveled the trail on horseback, carrying the American flag along the route to the Sierra crest, marking it along the way so that this original Emigrant Trail did not fade into the wilderness. The documentary also highlights a background of how the Tevis Cup 100 Mile Ride and the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run evolved and became such integral parts of the trail’s history.

The documentary’s producer and director, Ginger Kathrens of Taurus Productions Inc., Colorado Springs, Colorado, is an Emmy award-winning producer, filmmaker, cinematographer, writer, and editor. Recently aired on PBS are her latest documentaries: “Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies” and “Cloud’s Legacy: The Wild Stallion Returns.” She has written two award-winning books about Cloud. Kathrens was also the co-producer and cinematographer of a two-hour special, “Spirits of the Rainforest,” for The Discovery Channel, for which she earned an Emmy Award for Best Informational and Cultural Documentary. Other projects for Discovery include “The Ultimate Guide: Horses” and “The Ultimate Guide: Dogs,” as well as producing segments for "Wild America" and filming for National Geographic and the BBC.

They Crossed the Mountains film documentary was produced by the Western States Trail Foundation and was underwritten by the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, the Josephine Stedem Scripps Foundation, the Placer County Historical Foundation, and the Western States Endurance Run Foundation. DVD copies of the They Crossed the Mountains: The History of the Western States Trail may be purchased from the Western States Trail Foundation by calling 530.823.7282 or by visiting The website will also indicate when and where future showings of the documentary will occur.

Contact: Kate Riordan 530.333.2002 /

USA: 2009 Old Dominion Endurance Ride

Teamwork Key for the 2009 Old Dominion Endurance Rides
USEF Release: July 02 2009

By Beth Liechti Johnson

Teamwork proved key to the successful running of the 35th Old Dominion Endurance Rides, held this June in the Appalachian Mountains along the Virginia/West Virginia state line. Throughout the ride, teamwork made the difference: between horses, riders and crew, between ride management, veterinarians and farriers, and between radio operators, drag riders and emergency rescue personnel.

By June 12, 158 horse-and-rider teams had arrived at base camp outside Orkney Springs, a quaint little town located at the foot of Great North Mountain, part of the George Washington National Forest. Of the 33 100-mile teams who started on the humid morning of June 13, 24 completed. Of 69 55-mile teams who started, 56 completed. And the 25-mile limited distance ride had 43 starters and 40 finishers, a 93% completion rate.

Since its evolution from the U.S. Calvary Mounted Service Cup, the Old Dominion (OD) endurance ride stands out as a true test of teamwork between horse and rider on a spectacular, but undeniably difficult, trail. In addition to the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) and Eastern Competitive Trail Ride Association (ECTRA) sanctioning, the 55- and 100-mile distances of this year’s event also served as the Arabian Horse Association Region 15 Championship.

By June, the spring rains had pelted the Virginia landscape for several weeks, so trails were muddy and footing was slippery. The rain held off most of ride day, and ominous clouds rolled across the sky, bringing cool breezes and keeping temperatures in the low 80s. The air was thick with humidity that made pulsing down tough.

Trailmaster Gus Politis, assisted by several OD members, marked this year’s trail. Old Dominion Endurance Rides, Inc., board member John Marsh said the 100-milers faced three major climbs: a 1500’ climb to the top of Great North Mountain at mile 6, a 1600’ climb to the top of Devil's Hole 40 miles into the ride, and a 1000’ climb up Little Sluice Mountain 70 miles into the ride.

Marsh noted that the majority of trail consisted of rolling, forested terrain over a combination of trail and Forest Service roads with frequent elevation changes of 300 to 400 feet. Riders enjoyed the display of mountain laurel in full bloom, along with ample streams for drinking and plenty of grass on the trail for horses.

Veterinary checks at five locations revealed scene after scene of the incredible synchronization between riders and crews, as well as ride management, station heads, timers, volunteers, vets, farriers, and traffic control.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m., OD member Claire Godwin, DVM, on her 10-year-old Arabian gelding EH Ahmose was first to finish the 100 miler in 12 hours and 17 minutes. “Ahmose is a cantering horse, which held him in good stead on this ride,” said Dr. Godwin, who was thrilled with her first 100-mile win on a horse who had never before done a 100.

Dr. Godwin added, “The trail was challenging, but doable—a blast. The miles melted away since the scenery was so gorgeous.” The Godwin family epitomized teamwork: daughter Katie crewed for her mom and husband Pete assisted with trail marking and filling water tanks at key points along the trail.

Stagg Newman and Ruth Anne Everett rode with Godwin most of the day, with teamwork and sportsmanship going hand-in-hoof. All three watched each others’ horses for problems, and Newman even lent Dr. Godwin a hoof boot when Ahmose lost a shoe.

Everett’s Anglo-Arab Razz crossed the finish second and earned the best condition award. Katherine Shank on WindDancer-Bey was top finisher in the 100-mile Calvary Division, which precludes receiving any outside assistance. Shank also received the Old Dominion Trophy for the team that demonstrates optimum performance based on the horse’s post-ride recovery and condition.

In the 55-miler, Bonni Hannah finished first on Rezus Respite. Kara Lee Thomas finished second on AF Big Bucks. And junior Hunter Green was third on Gotcha Covered PW. Veterinarian Meg Sleeper's horse Syrocco Gabriel received best condition.

As with most endurance rides, not everything went as planned. Two situations demonstrated the sound leadership, solid teamwork, and invincible spirit of OD ride management, who handled each situation with urgency, care and professionalism.

Around 5:00 p.m., one 55-mile team was unaccounted for—an unwelcome discovery considering that night was approaching and the mountainous terrain had intermittent cell phone coverage.

OD ride management initiated a search and rescue operation with the Shenandoah County Emergency Response Team, Orkney Springs Volunteer Fire Department, volunteer radio operators and drag riders. For six hours, drag riders, motorcycle riders and ATVs combed the marked trails and side trails.

Just before midnight, drag rider Lynn Golemon located the missing horse and rider unharmed, at the Bucktail vet check in West Virginia. Golemon was driving her rig back from the Big 92 vet check when she heard the rider whistling to attract her attention.

The rider had missed the sign indicating a left turn for the 55-milers leaving the second vet check, instead continuing straight on the 100-mile trail and eventually arriving at Bucktail. Since all of the 100-milers had long since passed through, the check was closed, but fortunately the rider remained in place until help arrived.

In another incident, one of the 100-mile riders elected to withdraw from competition between the checks and was proceeding more slowly then expected between the 82-mile gate-and-go and the 94-mile veterinary check. Drag riders Karen McMullen and Jamie Bladen discovered the horse and rider about 3:30 a.m. The horse was exhibiting dehydration symptoms, so they administered field first aid using a squirt bottle to get water into the horse, and offered moral support to the rider.

McMullen used her multi-use radio service (MURS) radio to contact base camp, guide emergency vehicles to the site, and confer with the treatment vet. Extraction maps developed by John Marsh proved invaluable in pinpointing the rider's probable location and head drag rider Zoe Sollenberger hiked in to assist.

As daylight approached, OD members cleared the narrow trail with chainsaws so a rig could reach the horse. Treatment vet Lynne Johnson, DVM, checked the horse before releasing it for the ride back to base camp around 7:00 a.m.

Co-ride manager Nancy Smart said, “The safe extraction of this horse showed how important drag riders are, how critical radio operations are, and how lucky we were that John Marsh developed extraction maps of the entire course.”

AERC Vice President Laura Hayes, who rode the OD 100 in 2008 and volunteered this year remarked, “The magnitude of coordination to put on a continuous 100-mile ride is incredible, and the Old Dominion club does it with class. Kudos to a great group of dedicated endurance riders.”

OD Vice President and co-Ride Manager Joe Selden said, “The tremendous success of this year’s OD was due to the terrific team effort from all involved.” That teamwork started with the ride management and involved a variety of participants, including the Shenandoah County Emergency Response team, members of the Northern Virginia Trail Riders motorcycle club, who checked all of the trails ahead of the riders to ensure markers remained in place, the volunteer fire department, who prepared several excellent meals as well as assisting with the search for the lost 55-mile rider, head vet Nick Kohut, DVM, who led a top-notch team of 13 veterinarians, and 10 amateur radio operators, who ensured ride management had radio communications with station heads, vets, and drag riders, and finally Henry Mulbauer, who timed the finishers until the wee hours of the morning as he has every year since the inception of the OD ride.

Zoe Sollenberger led an indomitable team of 18 Old Dominion Drag (ODD) Riders, many who are wilderness first aid trained and amateur radio licensed, and three who are search-and-rescue trained. The ODD Riders proved, once again, that drag riders are the unsung heroes of endurance. OD board members Mary Howell and Bonnie Snodgrass coordinated more than 30 volunteers serving as timers, vet scribes and pulse and respiration (P&R) takers.

Finally, all OD participants owe a big thanks to OD board member Gus Politis, who single-handedly built the quarter-mile gravel road, now called Politis Boulevard, that runs the length of base camp, greatly reducing the chance of trucks and trailers getting stuck. Politis coordinated the movement of several hundred dump truck loads to the site, spreading the gravel between loads—a gargantuan effort by a dedicated man that greatly improved this critical aspect of the Old Dominion.

Beth Liechti Johnson ( is a freelance writer and wannabe endurance rider currently located in Virginia.

Old Dominion Endurance Rides Inc. (, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 1973 to promote and support the sport of endurance riding through competition, training, education and trails preservation. The club is located in Virginia, but membership comes from all over the country. The OD currently hosts three endurance rides annually—No Frills, Old Dominion, and Ft. Valley—as well as Ride and Tie competitions in conjunction with the endurance rides.

The American Endurance Ride Conference is the national sanctioning body for endurance riding in the U.S. and Canada. For more information about AERC or endurance riding, please contact the AERC office, located in Auburn, CA, at (866) 271-2372, email, or visit

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Australia: WEG proves 'hugely expensive'

Jenny Sheppard

July 3, 2009

THE high cost of transporting horses and riders to next year's International Equestrian Federation World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, has created international uproar.

National federations throughout the world have expressed concern over the costs of flying horses to America for the WEG, which will run from September 25 to October 10 next year, and the inflated prices that "official" hotels near the horse park are charging for accommodation.

Eight equestrian disciplines - driving, dressage, endurance, eventing, para-equestrian, reining, show jumping and vaulting - will decide their world champions during the competition.

England team manager Will Connell said: "It will cost between 1.25 million BP ($Aus2.57 million) and 1.5 million BP ($Aus3.08 million) to take eight full teams to WEG."

A full English team would comprise 51 horses.

For Australia, travel costs are always an issue, and high-performance manager Brett Mace said any shortfall was normally met by competitors.

"Getting the horses to Kentucky will be hugely expensive, but we accept the location for WEG will not always be geographically convenient," he said.

"But it is WEG and it does provide Olympic qualification opportunities."

2010 WEG chief executive Jamie Link said accommodation had been discussed at a recent meeting between national federations and organisers.

WEG 2010: 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Announces Ticket Prices

JUNE 30, 2009

Ticket Sales Set to Begin on September 25, 2009

LEXINGTON, KY - Ticket prices and detailed competition schedules for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are now available as the world’s most prestigious equestrian competition prepares to visit the Kentucky Horse Park from September 25-October 10, 2010.

Ticket prices and event start times have been finalized for the eight world championships, which are being held outside of Europe for the first time in their history. Tickets will go on sale September 25, 2009, exactly one year before the Games arrive in Kentucky. Approximately 600,000 tickets will be available with prices starting as low as $25.

For a complete list of ticket prices, click here.

"We are pleased to have created a ticket program that will be accessible and affordable," said Jamie Link, CEO of the World Games 2010 Foundation. "We have a wide range of prices that offer something for everyone, from equestrian enthusiasts to visitors who want to enjoy the 2010 Games, the Kentucky Horse Park and the many other activities and offerings we have available."

Ticket sales will be facilitated by the 2010 Games Ticketing Provider, Ticketmaster, Inc. All ticket sales will be completed online at the Games Web site,, beginning on September 25, 2009. Event start times are subject to change.

By registering at, interested buyers will be able to receive important news and information about ticket sales as it becomes available. Subscribers will also receive:

· A 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games competition schedule
· Housing and accommodation information
· Press releases on the latest news updates
· Information on hospitality packages
· The latest release of official 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Game merchandise
· Information on events and activities in Kentucky during the 2010 Games

About the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games

The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are the world championships of eight equestrian disciplines recognized by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). Her Royal Highness Princess Haya is the current president of the FEI. The Games are held every four years and this will be the first occurrence in the United States.

The Games will be broadcast on NBC Sports, which has marked the largest commitment to network coverage of equestrian sport in U.S. television history. The 2010 Games are expected to have a statewide economic impact of $150 million, and current sponsors include Alltech, Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International, Inc. and Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. For more information on the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, please visit

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