Mentor Musings & Nuggets
Get the inside scoop on distance riding tips and real life experience learned from our trail veterans.
By Sue McLain
Update on the Fund. Approximately $2,500 was distributed to Ride Managers in 2020; 50% of 50 ride entry costs were covered by EDRA; and over 20 different kids benefited from ride entry fee discounts subsidized by the organization.
A number of Ride Managers did not access the Fund in 2020. In some cases, Ride Managers said that they had such strong adult rider attendance, they were in a position to cover youth rider discounts entirely. This was a selfless and kind act and it reflects their support of youth in our sport for which EDRA is deeply grateful.
Historical information is provided further on in this report. It includes information on the number of ride events, eligible youth, and payouts. It also includes my personal observations for 2020 – all good news since the quantity of youth participating in our sport seems to be growing!
EDRA does not want to decline a request from any Ride Manger! Given the quantity of youth riders in 2020, the slightly higher ride entry costs, and the likely higher numbers of available rides in 2021, we estimate a potential need of up to $13,000 to support all the rides in 2021.
Because the 2020 Anna & Mary Memorial Ride and corresponding $5,000 contribution from Darlene and Max Merlich, along with fewer ride managers accessing the Fund in 2020, EDRA will start 2021 with approximately $9,000. Additionally, the EDRA Board is planning to make the 2021 Trout Lake 100 an additional fundraiser to support the cause – likely raising sufficient funds to cover requests for the upcoming ride season.
Any distance rider knows that rides wouldn’t be possible without a host of volunteers dedicated to making them happen. Volunteers are the heart of EDRA. From the mentors, to the pulse takers, to those that work tirelessly on committees, this organization owes them all a debt of gratitude.
Congratulations to those that earned their pins in 2017 & 2018. If you haven’t yet, be sure to report your volunteer hours to Erin Putnam.
Bronze: 1-19 hours; Silver: 20-49 hours; Gold: 50+
Dani Gregoire (Russell)
Interview with Bogart-
Horse’s Note: Boss annually interviews me with the intent of keeping the communication lines open and evaluate my years production. I finished this year taking Margie on a 35 mile tour of the desert. It was supposed to be a relay race but just like Gilligan’s 3 hour tour it took much, much longer than expected. For this reason the focus of this years eval was that on the “2018 remarkable relay experience”
Question 1- tell me where you analyzed a problem and came up with a solution.
“For the relay I paired up with Margie, who turned out to be a serial peer! On the first loop boss man led us and dealt with the problem. Margie wanting to stop cause she drank to much coffee pre ride. Boss man said “u never stop on the first loop, can’t break the rhythm- suck it up buttercup” problem solved, or so I thought. On the second loop I was alone with Margie. All was going good, we were making good time. Boss man would be happy. Partway around though Margie stops to get off-to pee!!! Willing to give her this one since she seemed like a pretty nice gal I let her go. Then when it come time to get aboard, unsuccessfully after about the 3rd time I said adios amiga and headed for home alone. Part of my job description is to mentor riders and this sister needed some tough love! After a couple hours of letting her wander the desert I paired up with her and you know what? She didn’t get off again! A lesson learned ala Bogart!”
Question 2- what is your key to success when dealing with the public?
“Again I refer back to the relay with Margie. Being very experienced and good at my job I tend to take charge and quietly tell my rider to be quiet, stay in the middle and just trust me. After following boss man and Jagger the first loop Margie did just that, cept for the peeing but hey she is a serial peer!
Question 3-are you happy with your current job and what changes would you make to improve your work environment?
“ I do work really hard in spurts but the hours are really good. Boss man only asks me to race hard 4-5 times a year and a couple other times I mentor riders like Margie on “races”. I am ok with my work description but really feel my groceries need to be increased, yeah really increased. Yeah, you know that feed that tastes like molasses? I need more, a lot more. Grass, you know the really high green grass? I need more, year round- blah,blah,blah.
As 2019 gets underway it is time to turn our EDRA thoughts to the annual conference and elections. The membership needs to elect a new President and VP team, 8 Board of Directors positions and the 3 member Conflict Resolution Committee. I have attached job descriptions for the President and Vice President. I would direct you to the By Laws for Conflict Resolution Committee (Section 2.10) and Section 3 for the Board of Directors. Additional information regarding EDRA Officers is found in section 4 of the By Laws. The By Laws are posted on the website. Go to the “About” button, scroll down to the lower right for the By Laws button.
The following EDRA people have indicated an intent to run for 2019 positions:
Pres/VP: Terry James and Jo Weinstein
Statement of Intent: Terry James
My name is Terry James and I have teamed with Jo Weinstein to run for President and Vice President of EDRA for 2019. Some of you know me, but not everyone does. In light of that, I will give a brief history.
I have owned and operated McElvain Dental Laboratory since 1990 and have been a dental technician since in 1982. It seems as though I’ve always wanted to improve and get better at everything that caught my interest. It started with model car kits, and progressed to driving race cars at the age of sixteen. I loved biking, so when I moved to the Northwest, I had to try mountain bike racing.
Then my wife Julie entered the picture. One of the first things that she made known was that there would be horses in our future. You see the result of that statement. My interest in horses—and my interest in getting better and improving my performance–was re-kindled. I had worked my way through college at my university’s equestrian center so this was a logical progression. We moved to Colville in 2007 and then got involved in distance racing in 2013. Julie did a few races that year and then I did my first 25 miler at Jubilee. Things changed for us one day while she was at our local Walmart. She saw someone that she thought that she recognized from the rides. Although it was out of character for her, she walked up to her and asked, “Are you Sue Summers?” Indeed it was Sue, and that introduction started us on this exciting journey we have been on.
Fast forward to the present day. When EDRA was in its beginning stages, I enthusiastically supported its formation, and both Julie and I became founding members. I’ve decided to run for President because I believe the organization is one that is founded on solid principles, and yet constantly strives for improvement and innovation. I hope to contribute to the growth and improvement of EDRA through serving as President.
Statement of Intent: Jo Weinstein
The 2019 ride season is right around the corner. With this said, I am excited to have the opportunity to announce my intent to run for the position of vice president of EDRA.
In 2015 I was just returning to the Pacific Northwest endurance family after a 10 year hiatus. I felt like a newbie all over again but much older. I was introduced to my first EDRA ride at Grizzly in 2017. I had my virgin logbook and finished my first Mettle relay with my new friend Tom Dean.
My initial goals for the upcoming year are to initiate and develop a standardized Steward’s talk and ride meeting talk. In addition I’d like to introduce Friday night talking points to focus on any EDRA updates that would be helpful to share with riders, veterinarians, and volunteers. I find it rewarding watching EDRA evolve as an endurance club that smartly promotes the growth of the sport that I am passionate about.
Thank you for your time- Batman and I will hopefully see you on the trail.
Joint Statement: Terry James and Jo Weinstein
Jo and I sat down to discuss what we could bring to EDRA as a team. We agreed to advocate and oversee the maturation of the foundations that set EDRA apart. These foundations encompass the
Mettle relay, the Mentor program, the Steward program, and the Education program. Most paramount is a safe, fun, friendly, and fair competition as our Mission Statement reflects.
Looking forward to the 2019 ride season!
Conflict Resolution: Chair Rusty Toth and members Siri Olson and Becky Osbourne
Youth BOD Position: Georgia Glidden, Jasmine Jacobson
Past President BOD position will be filled by Kathleen Ferguson
Adult BOD Positions (5 must be elected)Sue Summers, Sandy Cheek, Julie Barnfather, Margie Thorngren, Lois Fox, Cortney Honan.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RUNNING FOR A POSITION PLEASE CONTACT Kathleen Ferguson, EDRA President at firstname.lastname@example.org YOUR NAME WILL BE ADDED TO THE BALLOT FOR THE POSITION YOU INDICATE.
For your information the EDRA Appointed Positions include:
i. Annual training meeting
ii. Drug protocol training
iii. Maintain qualified pool of stewards
iv. Recruit/assign Steward to rides
v. Ensure drug test kit is delivered to selected ride(s)
vi. Review, maintenance, and summary of Steward Manual
i. Pre-Ride Clinics – Dennis Summers
ii. Nuggets – Dennis Summer
iii. Youth – Stevie Jacobson
i. Oversee equipment and trailer inventory and maintenance
ii. Schedule for rides and assist identifying logistics of moving
i. Social Media
ii. Crisis Response
iii. Concussion Protocol – Carol Giles
iv. Safe Sport – Carol Giles
i. Arranges Board conference calls
ii. Membership (records)
iv. Ride results
v. Welcome and thank you renewal letters
i. Anna and Mary Memorial Youth Fund – Sue McLain
ii. Membership (financials)
i. Board of Director Minutes
ii. Corporation’s records (e.g., official files of rules, bylaws, program descriptions)
iii. Follow-up on non-renewing members
i. Awards procurement – Lois Fox
ii. Banquet – Sandy Cheek
iii. Speakers and Facilities– Kathleen Ferguson
Contact these chairpersons if you wish to volunteer in their area.
Get Ready to Start Ready Conference
The Conference is themed “Get Ready Safety First!” this year and is March 15-16that the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake. The lesson format with Celena Pentrack and Robin Ryner is a single 2 hour small group lesson focused on desensitizing our horses to obstacles encountered on the trail. We will all also participate by operating obstacles during lessons times as well. I think we can learn a lot from watching other people’s horses and listening to the suggestions instructors have for them. There are three lesson times Friday and three Saturday starting at 10am. Be sure to stipulate arrival time so I can schedule your lesson. We also have a saddle fitter so bring all your saddles to check (Stonewall Saddles), 2 body work practitioners (private payment) and a connected riding instructor available by appointment – we will sign-up for these appointments after arriving at the fairgrounds. American Trail Gear and Siiri Hats will be on campus for shopping! Equine rescue demos in morning and afternoon Saturday. Helmet Education packets handed out at check-in. Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health is providing an experienced veterinarian, Dr. Cheramie, to scope horses for ulcers and offer a care plan for your horse. You will sign-up for appointments after registration because I have to schedule you into classes first. Tentative cost will be $100. Dr. Cheramie will also be a guest speaker at the Banquet Saturday night.
The Conference also includes meeting times for the membership Friday night and Saturday morning for a report on 2018 and time for membership input for 2019. We have some important discussions items on the agenda, so I hope you all make a big effort to at the AGM (annual general meeting). Don’t forget the Annual Awards Banquet MC’d by the Beet Pulp Lucky Girl=Margie Thorngren! We will wrap up the night with Karaoke in fine EDRA tradition!
Early arrivals can check into stalls and camping on Thursday the 14thbeginning at 1pm.
I have attached an informational sheet with fees included. The Fairgrounds raised their prices so it is a little more than last year. I think you will feel like you got your money’s worth by the end of the weekend!
I look forward to seeing you all at rides this season. I may miss my first EDRA ride in two years because we are moving the horses, dogs and me to Goldendale, WA to our new retirement place this spring. I am very excited about my deluxe new barn and indoor arena! The horses will have 10 acres instead of 3 to run on every day. And I get a tractor! Oh…yea…there’s a nice house. Trout Lake 100 will be in my backyard and I am training with the EDRA team to take it over as the EDRA ride manager. Terry James and friends will take over Ride the Loup! so maybe I will get to ride it! We start the spring off with a bang at Gail William’s new ride, Don’t Fence Me In near Odessa. Grizzly Mountain is a nice early challenge. Coyote Ridge is my favorite spring ride because the wild flowers are fantastic. Want to have an adventure and ride out of the area? Head over to Helena and Blue Cloud –it is an easy drive on freeway and state highways –beautiful ride –worth the trip! Sand Canyon and Renegade will give your horse a challenge in the NW mountains! You get 3 days of riding from one trip if you head down to the new 3 Peat Ride at the end of May –I am going to try to take advantage of that! Honor Anna and Mary at the Memorial ride in October and maybe take on the challenge of a 75 or 100 mile ride! Or have a REALLY BIG adventure and travel down to the Scottsdale Remarkable 100 in December—lots of EDRA folks have gone down and can give you trip advice. Our NW ride schedule is filled with fun and beautiful scenery as well as great ride managers and friends to ride with out on the trails.
It has been an honor to be on the team that guided the formation of EDRA in 2016. If my dining table could talk….many, many hours of meetings took place in my dining porch looking out at Whiskey and Monkey while Sandy Cheek, Julie James, Sue Summers and I hashed out details and emailed and called founders for advice. We are extremely proud of the organization that EDRA has become, the generous volunteering of EDRA membership, and the fulfillment of the Mission Statement we wrote at my dining table.
“The mission of the Equine Distance Riding Association is to promote, at all levels and to all members, safe, competitive equine distance riding events and experiences. EDRA boundaries include the continental US and Canada. Lifetime miles of equine and rider will be compiled for EDRA sanctioned events within these boundaries. Central to EDRA’s mission is a robust mentoring program that supports the development of equines, riders and ride managers to their maximum capabilities while protecting horse and rider. Fun, friendly, and fair competition in a learning environment is our goal.”
My reward has been the deep friendships I have formed due to EDRA. I encourage you to volunteer –the friendships and memories formed by working with others lasts a lifetime. Now it is time to turn the reins over to a new leader. I am confident the new P/VP team will bring new ideas and energy to EDRA in 2019. I am very excited to see how EDRA grows in the near future!
Kathleen Ferguson, EDRA President
Guest post by Margie Thorngren.
I won a trip to Arizona where I rode from sunup to sundown on a horse named Bogart in a treeless saddle. If you had asked me even a year ago that this would be my life I would have just giggled in your face. No, way would I be that gal. Someone that could fly to another state, ride a horse they just met for 35 miles, and stay up till the last 100 mile rider came in. But, that is my life and I am that rider. I learned so much about myself this trip. I learned that I am a wonderful rider and I have what it takes to succeed in this sport. I was humbled beyond words at how everyone in my world supported me. Both from helping me through my first loop to reuniting me and Bogart after a disagreement in the direction we were heading when I was hopping aboard.
Here’s my story from one of my most cherished memories so far in my life.
It took me 10 hours to get to the Sand Canyon ride, and boy was it worth it! During awards I was honored to be the gal that got to rally the kids in the raffle drawing. The drawing itself was exciting and fun to say the least, each of the kids got to draw a name for one of the amazing prizes. When it came down to the drawing for the trip to Scottsdale, AZ I was beyond excited. I told all the kids that the name they were looking for was mine! And believe it or not when I watched them draw the name from the bucket and saw my name I just lost it! Sue called my name and we both jumped for joy! I was over the moon….. And yet a little worried as I didn’t know how I would be in shape to ride 100 miles! Thank goodness I found out later that I could choose the distance I was riding.
Now, EDRA has a very unique riding opportunity for those in our sport and that is to ride with a relay team. I’ve watched these rides throughout the year and couldn’t wait to try it for myself. So, when Sue asked if I wanted to be on a team I jumped at the opportunity.
Now, months of waiting until it was time to fly!
It was Wednesday and I was so ready to get to Scottsdale that I arrived 6 hours ahead of my flight. There was no way I was going to miss my flight because I couldn’t find a parking space in the maze they call a parking lot at SeaTac Airport.
I arrived in Tucson around 10:45pm to be escorted by my ontorage of Ron Sprout and Dennis Summers! Ok, so I must admit I felt like a rock star from the moment the plane landed. I mean I won a trip to Arizona and now two endurance superstars were picking me up at the airport like I was a famous person. We get to the house very close to midnight and Dennis shows me the tach-ma-hall! I had my very own super-duper motorhome to stay in. Talk about feeling like a millionaire! So, I thought I would be too tired to sleep but nope I am exhausted and sleep like the dead.
The next day was Thursday and that is the day I would normally be traveling to the ride. But, I was already an entire day ahead of schedule. Now it was time to meet my steed! Dennis introduced us and we took out my new, ok Sue’s, saddle for a fit. I was hoping it would have stirrups that go short enough… since my legs are pretty stout. And it was great… Dennis tried not to laugh as he put the stirrups up…. Up…. Up… and then off I went for our madden voyage. Bogart and I did great on our super-fast walk ride. He had his balance but, me not so much after all I was riding in my very first treeless saddle. Boy what an amazing feel. I could feel the air in his lungs and the movement of every muscle. It was amazing and I truly felt connected to him in a way I’ve never felt before. Our meet n greet ride was just wonderful, but my stirrups were a little long. So after another adjustment up a whole Dennis and I set to work getting together all the other items we would need to ride on Saturday. When Sue got back from marking trail we all went out on a beautiful ride at a nice trot. Then it was party time at Sue McLain’s house for pizza and amazing company. The house was full of friends new and old. We were all so happy to be spending time together in such a beautiful home. Things couldn’t have been better.
Well good morning Friday! I took the Mooch and Yolo for a wonderful walk in the morning and enjoyed the amazing scenery. Came back to the house and spent time with the horses…. Ok shoveled poo… for some reason I can’t get away from that choir regardless of the state I’m in or horse I’m with. But, a girl’s got to earn her keep. We then exercised the horses in the pasture and got a nice sweat on them. They were so happy just bolting around the cactus and showing off their stuff that makes them amazing endurance horses. It was a blast to watch them move so freely and with smiles on their faces as they bolted past Dennis and me. There was work to be done to get ready for the ride so Sue introduced me to my new “steed”…. One of their quads! I’ve never ridden a quad before and it was truly exhilarating. I had a blast just eating Sue’s dust! Well it wasn’t really dust it was pelting sand but who cares it was amazing and I needed a facial anyways. We ran the quads around the dessert putting up trail markers and signs. Then we moved my palace over to ride camp. Ride camp was a beautiful ranch with huge cactus and beautiful smooth sand. It looked like we were setting up camp right in the middle of a Thoroughbred race track the ground was so amazing. I couldn’t wait to ride in it. More riders started coming and setting up their camps as well. Things were starting to feel “real.” I think that was the strangest thing for me, my routine for pre-ride activities were so different. I felt like I was just hanging out with my friends. So, knowing that I was going to get up and ride at 5:30 am meant I had to put my game face on. I took my shower and put on my ride clothes. That’s something I learned from my dear friend Kathleen Pillow during her pre-ride clinic at the Renegade ride this year. If you sleep in your ride clothes the night before that is one less thing to worry about during the morning of the ride. So, off to sleep I go all dressed and ready to ride!
Finally it’s 4am and its ride day. Ok, I was too excited I was up at 3am trying to find a cup of coffee. Sandy Cheek came to my rescue around 4:30am and I drank it with enthusiasm. Dennis was walking the horses over from the house and we got things going. I saddle Bogart in the dark, which I amazed myself with because I had only put the saddle on one time prior to that. But, it was like I knew this saddle as well as if it were mine. Dennis added my glow sticks and we hopped aboard. Then before I knew it we were off on our first loop. I have to admit it was very dark and I was more than a little bit nervous. But, I couldn’t have been safer between Sandy and Dennis. They were riding the first loop of their 100 mile ride and they let me ride with them on their loop. I was over the moon with excitement. So, here I was trotting at a beautiful 9 mile an hour pace with coyotes howling in the background and the blur of Christmas lights. It finally sinks in! I’m riding the remarkable Scottsdale 100 endurance race and I’m right in the heat of it. I’ve got an amazing horse underneath me and two amazing mentors in front and behind me. I knew I won a trip to Arizona but I had no idea that this is what I won.
As we come in from the first loop I see my team “I’m with Sue” ready for me to cross the line and bring Bogarts heartrate to 60. Well that took less than 30 seconds! And off goes Sue McClain to do her 20 mile loop. She gets back and with the same lightning pace her horse pulses down and Sue Summers is off for her 15 mile loop. Overall, we got a very long rest. I was able to untack Bogart, give him a nice grooming, and massage. As for me I got to change my riding clothes including socks and what nots and truly felt like a new person. I was ready to ride my loop and would get the chance as soon as Sue was pulsed down. I get aboard Bogart and we walk around awaiting Sue’s return. When she and Stella arrive it is like an instant drop in heartrate for her girl and I’m off for my last loop. I was riding the 20 mile river loop. I tried to think how long that might take me and my boy and I figured it would be just over three hours. So trot trot trot we go running through the sand with the wind in our hair. The sights were amazing I still couldn’t believe I was riding in a desert with cactus’s flying past. We trotted past a few riders and really enjoyed our time. I knew I had a few minutes so I hoped off so both Bogart and I could take a little break behind a bush. All was well and I found an old tree stump in the middle of the desert. I hit it with my shoe to make sure there were no bees…. Didn’t want us to get stung and have an unexpected dismount. So I scramble up the stump and get one foot in the saddle. I’m throwing my other leg over and well Bogart had another idea. I mean I can’t blame him he was facing home and he thought that was the direction we were headed. But, he forgot to take me with him and I found myself with tweedy birds and stars above my head and no Bogart to be found. Now mind you at this point I thought for sure he was just around the corner playing hide and seek. But, after a few minutes I realized he was no longer with me and I knew he was heading back to camp. So, thank goodness I had my cell phone on me. Honestly this is the very first time I have ever carried my cell on my body. After this adventure I will always have my phone on my body. So, back to the story…. With tears in my eyes I called Sue to tell her I lost her horse. I couldn’t believe it and was so scared for Bogart. After all we were in the middle of the desert. Who knew where he was and he was all tacked up. Sue was so amazing she asked if I was ok and then assured me that we would find him. I told her I was good just a little bit of sand burn on my shoulder. But, I needed my Bogart! I had to finish the ride. And then the adventure to reunite us began. People in the community saw him and posted photos on Facebook. The local bike riding organization called Sue and inquired about my health and safety. Wow what a wonderful place to live. While my team “I’m with Sue” searched by the road side they look out towards a golf course and there he was! Just taking a little stroll safe and sound eating grass. Not a worry in the world. Finally Bogart and I are reunited; I swear I could hear that song… Reunited and it feels so good playing in the background. So, I hope on and re-ride a section of my ride so I can get to the spot where we lost our way and it is off and running again. Now I’ve got some time to make up so we pick up the pace and come in with huge smiles on our face. Bogart was amazing once he and I came back to camp. He was happy and healthy. His CRI was wonderful; he had an amazing appetite, and just relaxed the rest of the night.
Life couldn’t be more perfect to end this amazing ride!
Check in soon for a follow up guest post from Bogart, the horse.
(June 30, 2018 Naches, WA) – It’s common to see other breeds alongside the Arabian at endurance rides, identifiable by a splash of color, a butt too big to be anything other than a beefy quarter horse, or a gaited horse ambling down the trail.
But every now and then you stumble upon a little squirt, with a spirit so fiery, they dare you to question their height.
Meet Rachel Miller and Skeifa, a 12.3 hand, 20 year old Icelandic mare.
“I hadn’t ridden her in a month,” said Rachel after the ride. Just casually dropping that she had a concussion from her other horse.
“But her training has been going really well, I had brakes this time!”
Skeifa, which means “horseshoe” in Icelandic, came to Rachel in a package deal with the aforementioned “other horse”.
When asked how she landed on such an unusual and rare breed of horse, Rachel sheepishly admitted to having seen a program on TV when she was nine about Icelandics and vowed she would one day own one. Now she has two.
Rachel and Skeifa made their first foray into endurance at Coyote Ridge in the 25. They completed and then set their sights on Renegade, arguably the toughest 25 in the state.
There they top tenned with a 7th place finish among the big horses. Skeifa performs a tolt, a rolling gait unique to the Icelandic breed.
“It’s more like riding a horse where you just go into different gears instead of changing gaits. I’m still figuring it out,” said Rachel.
They are well on their way.
|25 Mile||Camille Rucker & Caprices Zippo
Best In Class
|Margie Thorngren & RWR Horus
|David Laws & Ama’le
(3:19, Rocky Mountain Horse)
|50 Mile||Dennis Summers & AH Bantiki
Best In Class
|Sue Summers & Pavberg
|Jennifer Jacobson & Three Socks
|TYM Relay||Robin Burns/Faheed Eskont Shaat (Arab) & Courtney Honan/Splendid SR (Arab), 7:49||Tom Dean/SAR Devil’s Advocate (Arab) & Tiffany Buob/Deal’s Vane Boy (Arab), 8:01||Sandra Cheek/Bold Design (Arab) & Debra Rae Lantrip/Clouds Crescent (Missouri Fox Trotter), 8:09|
June 16, 2018 (Trout Lake, WA) – As a writer you try to capture the essence of a person and their story and paint a picture with words. But sometimes, it is their words that are more powerful than yours and when that happens you allow them to speak for themselves.
Trout Lake is circled on the endurance calendar for many in our community. For two incredible women, it was particularly special this year. I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I did.
(May 19, 2018, Coulee City, WA) – Chuck Cowan knows what it is like to stare death in the face. He also knows what it’s like to trample death with his horse and laugh about it.
Just one year ago Chuck required an emergency evacuation from Grizzly Ride camp with life threatening internal bleeding. It was discovered that he had an aneurysm in a major artery that had ruptured into his stomach. He died. Twice.
In the months following Chuck lost over 25% of his body weight and had a true battle for his life. During that time, Chuck credits fellow endurance rider and nurse, Tani Bates, with helping him.
“She came and encouraged me every day and really helped me pull through.”
The endurance community didn’t expect to see Chuck again. From riding five-day fifties to not being able to walk from his easy chair to the bathroom, Chuck persevered.
“My goal on January 1 this year was to at least get on a horse,” said Chuck.
He made it out to the barn and could barely make it into the saddle. Four months later he made it to Prineville but had to pull after 25 miles because he was so weak.
This past Saturday, however, he did more than “at least get on a horse” and finished the 50 mile at Coyote Ridge with his Mustang/Quarter Horse, Blazer.
“Blazer is a multi-day specialist and Tevis Finisher. I love riding my veterans,” said Chuck, “They take care of me and get the job done.” Get the job done is a bit understated. The 21 year old veteran carried Chuck to a 14th place finish in the 50 with a time of 8:42.
Blazer has been with Chuck nearly his whole life, coming to his ranch as a two-year old. Chuck started and trained him himself and took him to his first endurance ride at age six.
“He’ll have a home with me forever,” said Chuck. As do all his horses that he’s raised on his ranch.
Chuck also had plenty of praise to heap upon the Ride Manager, Tiffany Buob, and overall EDRA ride experience.
“Tiffany provided an exceptionally well managed event…I was particularly impressed with the friendly, welcoming outreach to all the new folks and the education clinic Friday afternoon on the use and application of standing wraps to help preserve healthy legs for our horses post ride.”
“The trails were well marked through beautiful lake, canyon and farm country. Initially, I was concerned about the significant use of farm roads but it was a non-issue and actually provided ample opportunities for cantering. All in all, excellent experience.”
Chuck discovered the sport of endurance in an unconventional manner. While perusing the pages of a horse magazine on one of his many business flights, a friendly flight attendant handed him an endurance magazine and said, “here, read this.”
With his interest piqued, Chuck showed up at Klickitat with a horse and no idea what to do.
“Everyone was busy and I didn’t want to bother anyone,” Chuck recalls. “But when I came into camp, Marilyn rushed out and was so relieved to see me. I guess I was only supposed to take six hours but I was out there for seven or so just walking and trotting along by myself. Everyone had been worried sick about me. She sat me down and explained a few things I needed to know.”
But, as was the way of the time, that’s how you learned about endurance. You just went out there and did it.
Chuck credits the spirit of endurance with saving his life.
“Endurance, that’s our sport, but it’s also a mindset and a way of life. And once you blend that all together, you don’t quit. You just keep fighting.”
When you get weak or tired, you hang tough. And when you are at your lowest. You have friends pushing you to the finish.
Full results can be found here.
|Rose Corey & RC Vinn Diesel (2:40)||Anita Tyrell & Whip (2:48)||Jennifer Odle & Sea Squirt (3:01) *Best In Class|
|Dennis Summers & TK Tiki (5:08)
*Best In Class
|Tom Dean & Benzo (6:00)||Sacha Edgell & M&M Gabriella (Gabby) (6:08)|
|Carol Giles & SAR Dragon Rider (10:36)||Ron Sproat & SAR FS Valiant Heart (11:28)||Celena Pentrack & OMR Prophet (11:28)|
|Jennifer Hover & Fox/Ben Volk & Marquitible Asset CCA (5:56)||Sandy Cheek & Bold Design/Susan Summers & Pavberg (6:01)||Guy Cheek & JV Trinidad/Kendal Ingraham & WMA Steadfast (6:01)|