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Navigating the Ups and Downs of Distance Riding in 2023

Some reflections on Distance Riding, EDRA, and the people who love this amazing sport:

“I used all of the wisdom and tips from incredible riders around me in the EDRA community and from sponsors.”
“Learning how to fail with grace, and no matter what, to love your horse. These are all things that are important to sportsmanship as well as life lessons. For the love of the horse.”
I love the people in this community and whether I’m planning on racing or just tagging along on conditioning rides as we get more into this summer, I feel like Cinder and I will still benefit learning from everyone along the way.”
“I have had support and encouragement from so many people in endurance – it’s one of the reasons I really love the sport
This sport and these people teach me more than just how to ride and how to get through a distance. I am learning skills now as a 16-year-old that will help carry me through the rest of my life.”
“Part of the joy of endurance is creating your village with other people who are just as crazy as you, and enjoy spending long hours in the saddle to see some of the most beautiful trails.”

How remarkably dedicated and tenacious you all are! Read on for “the rest of the story!”

Katie Daley and Three Socks at Sand Canyon – photo credit David Honan

Katie says, “This year has certainly had a lot packed into it! ….with the help of Shelah Wetter, we added another wonderful Saddlebred to the family to hopefully be my next up and coming endurance partner. I earned my Unaccompanied Youth status for EDRA and rode my first ride solo at Sand Canyon! I used all of the wisdom and tips from incredible riders around me in the EDRA community and from sponsors shout out a few: Shelah Wetter, Kim Elkins, Sue Summers, Sandy Cheek, Cortney Honan, and Jamie Hughes. As well I started my senior year of high school. I have learned TONS from EDRA and my wonderful mentor Shelah.”

Shelah Wetter and Team Blue Haven at Don’t Fence Me In – Photo credit David Honan

Shelah Wetter doesn’t mince words when reflecting on the 2023 endurance season. She says, “2023 was a year of failure for Team Blue Haven. Now that’s a bold statement. It was not all bad; there were also many triumphs. But for many of my junior riders, it was a year of tough lessons.  Many goals were not met, and life lessons were learned. Mainly how to pick yourself up, regroup, troubleshoot and continue on. Learning how to fail with grace, and no matter what, to love your horse. These are all things that are important to sportsmanship as well as life lessons. I am not the most touch feely type person, but I try hard to teach resilience by example. Cheers to 2024, may we all continue to work hard towards our goals. For the love of the horse.”


Beth Meenaghan and Foxy at Ride the Loup – photo credit David Honan

Beth Meenaghan shared what was truly an epic journey with her mare, Foxy. In 2022, she only did 2 rides, one of which was overtime. But in order to “Start Ready, Finish Proud” Beth decided “the best way to get long training miles was to go to endurance events. I created a fairly ambitious schedule ….and also joined EDRA, which helped me add more rides.” Beth ended up attending 8 rides in 2023! How’s that for achieving goals? She says, “Joining EDRA made a significant impact on my 2023 season. I ended up with 7 completions, including 5 Top Ten finishes.”

Beth says, “I have had support and encouragement from so many people in endurance – it’s one of the reasons I really love the sport. Amy Jones has always encouraged me to do things I don’t believe I can do. I was …a bit intimidated by the EDRA ride descriptions…but I finally joined EDRA with Amy’s encouragement. I learned that the EDRA rides are challenging – and that Foxy and I are up to the challenge.” And with Terri Powell’s encouragement, not only was Beth able to finish a ride in time, but she was in Top 10! She reflects, “I will never forget how I felt after that finish…I was in so much shock to have done so well….I realized that my lack of confidence had been holding us back. Going to so many rides this year allowed Foxy and I both to gain experience and confidence, and we overcame many of our initial challenges. By the time 2023 season was over, I was amazed how far Foxy and I had come since April. We learned so much – and had so much fun. I am looking forward to more in 2024.”

Kendal Ingraham with Stehekin and Cinder

Kendal plans ahead. Before she got a horse (actually two), she bought a horse trailer (see last year’s post), and six tons of hay. Now she was ready for Cinder, a 6-year-old Appaloosa Arabian with nary a spot on her. Kendal says, “Cinder and I took it slow to get to know one another and I quickly learned she was not a horse who can live by herself. So in November, along came Stehekin, an 11 year old Shetland pony. His manners and personality will make you like Shetlands! Cinder also has a great personality and although she lets me know her thoughts, she does it in a very well-mannered way. Will we pursue endurance? I’m not sure yet, but I love the people in this community and whether I’m planning on racing or just tagging along on conditioning rides as we get more into this summer, I feel like Cinder and I will still benefit learning from everyone along the way.”

Emilee Randal and Robin

Emilee’s story is the essence of “Ups and Downs” of this sport. She got a new horse whom she adores; she had a wild adventure trip with her mentor Jennifer Kaplan to ride in Utah; she had 100% completion rate on her races, in particular at the tough Diamond in the Rough ride and got Junior BC (or Youth) at every ride she entered. Lots of reasons to feel happy. But sadly, she had to retire her wonderful horse Robin from endurance. Nevertheless, Emilee had a great season.  “In 2023, I rode almost 400 competition miles and that would not have been possible without Jennifer Kaplan, my mentor. She mentors me both in life and the sport and I am so grateful for her guidance. Without her, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to Utah, which was a life-changing experience. She’s taught me so much about becoming a better horsewoman and I do not think I would have done so well this year without her.” Emilee also indicated her deep appreciation for each her sponsors: “Darlene Merlich, Alex Gesheva, Sandy Cheek, Libby Kalkoske, Kelsey Lene, Jeff Moor, Danielle Delamater, Jessica DiCamillo, and Carry Loughry – have all taught me something. This will be my third season and I am so thankful to everyone, especially to my mom, for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow. This sport and these people teach me more than just how to ride and how to get through a distance. I am learning skills now as a 16-year-old that will help carry me through the rest of my life.”

Nancy Zukewich’s 3-year-old fillies

In 2022, Nancy realized a lifelong dream and brought her horses home to her very own farm. She’s been working hard and is happy to report a highlight was “getting hydro (that’s Canadian for electrical power) at the farm so no more running the well with a generator!” On the horse front, with the help of her friend and mentor Leslie Lloyd, she backed both her filles and is well on her way to preparing two prospects for a life of distance riding!

Cristina Vaughan and Jax at Diamond in the Rough – photo credit David Honan

“2023 was my first year of doing 50 mile rides….It was a year full of learning about our partnership and how to handle the increased distance, especially the starts as he is a very hot horse. At one particularly difficult ride, because he was being so difficult, we did have a discussion about donating him to a tiger sanctuary due to his behavior, but we worked through it and finished with terrific vet scores. We still have some issues, but we have both improved significantly from our first 50. I learned how to travel long distances with Jax going to a ride in Colorado. I was very proud that we were able to complete all the rides we attempted this season both healthy and sound.” When asked about help along the way, Cristina said, “I couldn’t have completed all the rides without may fantastic mentor team. Becky Osborn as my official mentor is always there to answer my many, many questions regarding everything endurance related. Sandy Cheek…was always happy to give sound advice on everything from pacing, to where to start in the pack, to lending me a cooling jacket on one of the hottest rides of the year. She always believed in me and Jax when I had doubts about our partnership and is the reason I never gave up on him despite him being a complicated little horse.” She also called out thanks to “my many conditioning and travel buddies including Kelsey Corey, Katie LeFramboise, Sara Campbell, and Cori Smith. Part of the joy of endurance is creating your village with other people who are just as crazy as you, and enjoy spending long hours in the saddle to see some of the most beautiful trails.”

“Some of my greatest challenges still include trying to have a calm start and encouraging Jax to eat throughout the ride. Continuing to take Jax to rides as well as going on low-stress camping trips have helped his travel anxiety immensely, and I am still tweaking his feeding to find out what he will eat best. We are working through some medical challenges currently, and hope to be back for the 2024 season…but if needed, might take a season off to figure things out.”

Valerie Pflughoeft and Rus at Ride the Loup – photo credit David Honan

Valerie says “the two big things for me in 2023 were finishing my first 50 at Don’t Fence Me In and then doing the 50 at Ride the Loup. But the biggest change for her was in how her riding evolved from one ride to the other, and how her relationship with Russ has strengthened as a result. She reflected on her challenges on the first 50 – post-ride fatigue and soreness – and signed up for a clinic with Solange Ellis (who will be at the EDRA conference in March!). At Ride the Loup in the fall, “I was able to sit Russy’s downhill trot, stayed secure in the saddle and stopped him when dogs ran out of the woods and he bolted and did an efficient and effective posting trot. I was able to walk normally and was “normally” exhausted, but so incredibly proud of both of us.” She goes on to say “In 2022, Rus dumped me at the start of Ride the Loup. In 2023, we have come a huge ways in our partnership and communication. I love that little horse, and I was so proud of us finishing a 50 in 2023 when we weren’t able to start the same 25 in 2022.”

The tag line for EDRA is “Start Ready, Finish Proud.” These EDRA members have demonstrated tremendous commitment to doing exactly that – preparing their horses for new challenges, and no matter what the outcome, learning and growing into better horsemen and women and better people.


Dr. Finnigan or: how I learned to stop worrying and love to run

By: Alex Gesheva

Some days you get really lucky. Take a set of very unfortunate circumstances that left my horse stranded in Canada, mix it with the kindness and generosity of Sue and Dennis and I somehow found myself sitting on Jagger at Sand Canyon. Anyone there may have spotted me glowing like a lit-up Christmas tree of enthusiasm.

The interesting thing about sitting on A Great Horse: you know with absolute certainty that you’re the limiting factor in your relationship. There’s really nothing to worry about, except fixing yourself. I could marvel over Jagger’s heart rates (thank goodness for the heart monitor, or I wouldn’t believe it; also, Dennis can estimate them within 5 beats without even being in the saddle). Pair that with the chance to ride with Dennis all day and pester him with questions, and I had possibly the richest day of learning and rider self-reflection in years.

Dennis doesn’t eat or drink anything while riding. From what I can tell, he has figured out the bare minimum needed to stay alive, and just does that. I assume he does some form of concentrated self-care at vet checks, but I can’t actually confirm that because he was always doing things for his horses. He doesn’t apply sunscreen, snack, or take photos. A few times, I tried to offer him water and he just gave a dark chuckle and kept running.

Did I mention the running? Let me tell you the story of how I learned to trail run on a 50-mile at Sand Canyon. Dennis runs by choice, I don’t. But I really enjoy learning, and I thought “when in Rome, learn from the strange running Romans.” On this particular ride, I estimate Dennis did maybe four miles plus of hop-skipping up and down rugged, rocky terrain.  My calf muscles tell me I did fifty miles, but it was likely more like a mile less than Dennis. At that point, I admitted defeat and dragged myself back on Jagger, which is really one of the best places in the world to be. Seriously, that horse is made of cool.

Dennis also has a nifty 3-second routine for switching between riding and running. One, he decides he’s going to dismount. Two, his feet touch the ground. Three, he’s running. Each time, I lost a few seconds thinking about how the ground kept getting further away. The whole day was a fascinating blend of complete focus and pure relaxation, because everyone involved agreed on the job at hand and worked to get it done.

So, beyond the long list of excellent equipment hacks I picked up, I really noticed that I’ve been holding my horse back. On a normal day, when I’m not riding to live up to Jagger’s superhero potential, there are at least three key spots where I dawdle. Not because my horse needs it, just for me. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the scenery and taking it easy … as long as I stay honest with myself, make it a choice and don’t pin my ride times solely on my horse’s training or capacity. We’re a team, my own great horse and I. If I want him to reach his full potential or decide to speed up and ride harder, if I want to ride with respect and gratitude for his effort, I’ll want to put in at least the amount of try that he does.

I think I’ll train a bit harder. Heck, I might even practice running a bit more, even if I never do learn to love it.


By: Julie James

Are you confused or intimidated by EDRA’s logbook?  You do not need to be.  The intent for logbooks is to provide a benefit to you.  It is a central place where you can record your horse’s performance and your performance in distance rides.

Did you have a particularly fabulous ride?  You can make notes in your logbook of what you did and what your horse did that day so you will have the information to repeat the performance.

Did your horse get tired?  Were you able to ride your own ride, or did you allow yourself to get pulled along by a horse going faster than was comfortable for your horse?  What was different on this ride compared to any others?  Was there a time when you were riding alone perhaps and your horse lost motivation?  How often did you give your horse electrolytes?  What did you do to prepare your horse for this ride?  Did you get tired?  What did you do to prepare yourself for this ride?  Did you adequately eat and drink during the ride?

You can address all of these questions and issues in your logbook.  Your logbook is like a diary—it has your history and your horse’s history in one central place where you can review it to either repeat the successful strategy and behavior you did last time or avoid unsuccessful strategy or behavior that previously did not work.

If your horse is pulled from competition for lameness or metabolic issues, making a note in your logbook can assist you and the ride veterinarian with creating a treatment plan and strategy for the next ride.  Did your horse consume too much spring grass?  Were you unable to adequately condition your horse for this ride?  Should you draw blood to see if your horse is too high or too low in some area?  The information you put into your logbook can help determine what to do moving forward.

To get a logbook, click this link or go to the EDRA website and under the Join tab click the drop-down horse registration tab.  Fill out the information for your horse and include a side view picture of your horse then submit that form.  Currently, Holly Haddenham has volunteered to make the logbooks and will get it to you.

EDRA logbooks are intended to be a benefit to you and your equine AND registering your horse is the only way to be included in year end and lifetime awards..  Making meaningful notes and comments in it will help you to start ready and finish proud!

Breaking New Ground: EDRA Members ACHIEVE!

By Sandy Cheek

2022. We collectively emerged from the pandemic, eager to regain our “normal” (whatever that means) lives and take on new challenges.

EDRA club members – wow – a pat on the back to each and every one of you. The EDRA tagline is “Start Ready, Finish Proud” and you took that to heart. From achieving EDRA in Motion goals, to stepping up to longer distances, to sponsoring youth riders for the first time, breaking in (sometimes literally) new baby horses – each of you has something to be proud of. Here’s what some of you did:

Shelah Wetter showed us all how to mentor youth riders into a sport that is NOT EASY. If you’ve ever chatted with Shelah about how she brings these kids along, you know that “no whining no coddling” is at the top of her list. And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of riding with one of “her” kids, you’ll know they are tough, gritty and knowledgeable about their equine partners – and they care for them every step of the way. Shelah mentored the three youth pictured below through their first 50’s at the EDRA Sand Canyon ride.

L to R: Aaby Lavway on Tol(Hackney), Jayla Wilson on Captain(TB), Elle Borth on Lulu(ASB) and Shelah Wetter on Red(ASB)

And I love this picture at the finish of the ride. It shows the essence of being a great mentor – being there at the right time to center and calm equines and their human partners.

Shelah with Elle and Jayla at the finish of Sand Canyon, their first 50

Katie Daley, EDRA Board member and another of Shelah’s youth riders, did her first 50 in 2022 on Socks, as did Jayla Wilson on her horse, Captain Gavel.

Jayla and Captain Gavel

And another first: this was my first year mentoring a youth rider, Laura Rheingans. Laura is a super capable, mature young rider who is so much fun to ride with. If you haven’t taken advantage of the EDRA mentor program, do it! You can mentor or be mentored – or both. Either way it’s a win-win in my experience.

Sandy Cheek on Wilson, Laura Rheingans on Cruze, Katie Daley on Socks

Emilee Randal is another enthusiastic and up and coming EDRA youth rider, being capably mentored by Jennifer Kaplan. And she has grit! Why do I say that? In her own words: “I completed my first 50 in my first season after breaking my ankle in May!” Her enthusiasm is contagious, and it will be fun to watch Emilee as she matures and gains experience in this sport.

Emilee Randal and Robin at Mt. Spokane – with recently broken ankle!

It’s been a great year for me, because I’ve been able to ride with a bunch of these capable youth riders. One of my favorite memories is riding with Nicole Mayfield on her plucky 17-year old Morgan, Blackjack. Nicole did her first 75 at the NOT EASY EDRA Trout Lake 100. She never complained, not once. And when it started to rain, pour, DUMP down rain, her smile never faded, and she was more than willing to kick it up a notch the last ten miles into camp. As the only youth in the 75 by default BJ got the Best in Class award, but honestly, he looked amazing.

Nicole and BJ at the finish of her first 75 at the Trout Lake 100

Joslynn Terry, another EDRA youth member, hit her stride this year as well. She catch-rode two different horses on her first ever 100-mile rides. Here’s one of her mounts, Sonic. Looks like a great partnership.

Joslynn Terry and one of her 100-mile partners, Sonic

You would be forgiven for thinking that all the rest of us were sitting around eating bon-bons whilst the EDRA youth were chewing up the trail. But you’d be wrong! EDRA adult members were achieving their goals as well. Here’s just a sample of what they accomplished in 2022:

Olivia Moore completed their first distance ride on Discreet Demons and came 16 out of 32 riders. She’s hooked!

Olivia and Discreet Demons


Teresa Dixon and Traveller at Sand Canyon

Teresa Dixon says she’s “new to endurance.” She chose to challenge herself by riding two different horses and completed 3 30 mile EDRA races in this, her first season. Teresa chose Mt. Spokane, Sand Canyon and Ride the Loup to achieve her goals. She’s sought advice and counsel from some of the best: Shelah Wetter, Jen Jacobson and Julia Stroup. In addition to her rides, Teresa has jumped into the EDRA in Motion Challenge. This fun challenge is another benefit of membership; it’s a great way to keep yourself accountable for your own fitness by reporting monthly how many miles you’ve ridden, biked, walked or run. There are awards for weight divisions, as well as participation awards for all who achieve a minimum distance of 100 miles. Another reason to join EDRA!

Andrea Hurn took on the challenge of a new horse, Gem. Andrea says, “She’s been pretty easy and hard at the same time. She’s gonna be a Rockstar when she figures everything out. I was never a mare person and now I own two that claimed me upon first sight.” I just LOVE that.

Andrea Hurn on Gem

Kathy Thompson just acquired this lovely mare featured below, but Kathy has been a solid competitor for quite a few years so Dash will be brought along with care and attention to detail. Isn’t she pretty? When you see Kathy ask her how she got her name!


Bonnie Girod also took on the challenge of introducing a new horse to the sport. Like Kathy she has done her homework with her awesome mare Luna so she’s starting Legend right. He did his first 50 at the EDRA Don’t Fence Me In ride, and the veiw from his back looks just awesome. Says Bonnie: “Riding Legend stretches me but I know down deep he is a good guy and just needs more wet saddle blankets.”

Legend at Don’t Fence Me In

Luna with Comanche MoonRock

Bonnie is never one to turn down a challenge. So of course she also bred her lovely mare Luna and produced this cute baby boy. She also managed her first ride, the fabulous EDRA Big Sky ride in beautiful Montana. If you missed it in 2022, make a FIRST for yourself and put it on the calendar for 2023. Julie James, Marty Graham and others made their first Montana ride here and they’ll be back for sure in 2023!

Big Sky was a big ride for Dr. Valerie Pflughoeft. She brought her new young horse, Russ Russ. Breaking a finger at the beginning of the ride? Not a big deal.  Every picture of them on the trail they’re grinning and ears forward. Valerie has also taken up mounted archery, cuz that’s what you do with a broken finger. EDRA folks are TOUGH!

Valerie and Russ Russ at Big Sky

Amy Enquist had a great start into the sport of distance riding. She sponsored a youth rider, dragged a couple of her friends along to a ride to introduce them to the sport, and finished in the top 10 in every ride she’s done (except for some bad luck on their first 50). A rider with this kind of enthusiasm is what EDRA is all about – bringing people together who love their equine partners and the challenge of preparing them for a ride, whilst helping and encouraging others to try the sport and be successful. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Amy and Sol

Kelsey Corey is another EDRA member who’s been churning up the trail. She won the 25 mile distance at the EDRA Trout Lake 100 on Vinnie, her mom’s big beautiful Arab. She took her mom’s young grey horse to his first ride, where she also sported a broken finger (is this some rite of passage I’m not aware of?) She also did her first multiday on her very own Crash, who is really coming into his own. Kelsey does her homework, taking dressage lessons and working steadily with these horses to give them confidence and courage. She also does amazing body clip jobs on horses, by the way…check out Go Pony Body Clipping! Kelsey’s goal for 2023 is seeking the Sandybaar award, which focuses on successful completions of consecutive races at any distance. Check it out on the PNER website!

L to R: Kelsey on Vinnie, Cruze and Crash

Alex Gesheva hails from the Far North – well, ok, she lives in British Columbia, Canada. Luckily for EDRA,  Alex and her fine steed attend a number of EDRA rides, as they are quite close to her. It’s been fun watching Alex, who’s been a member since EDRA’s first year, coming to rides with her lovely family. Of late, she’s got a gorgeous new horse that seems to have amazing potential to take on anything Alex asks him for. That said, like so many of our EDRA members, she rode a few hard miles with O’Neill and had a few serious chats with him about appropriate behavior on the trail along the way. But it’s paying off, and she’s got so many gorgeous pictures of him I can hardly choose just one. Alex has benefitted from our mentor program and has been a valuable asset and voice of reason at several EDRA Board meetings. Another engaged member who’s Starting Ready to Finish Proud.

Alex and O’Neill eating on the run at Sand Canyon

EDRA members ride so many different breeds! There is a mentor group specifically for non-Arabs – because their challenges are different and members can learn from one another (Reach out to Susan Summers for information the mentor group!) There are American Saddlebreds, Akhal Tekes, Friesians, Andalusians, Hackneys, Mustangs, and Quarterhorses…the reason they are successful is because their human partners know their horses and adjust their training and expectations accordingly. Amy Carrier is an outstanding example of taking a promising young horse and bringing her along carefully, but taking off the bubble wrap when necessary. Amy has carefully been building her Freight Train Friesian/Andalusian mare Flicka towards doing her first 50. Little did she know that to accomplish that awesome goal would require some – ok, A LOT – of white-knuckle driving in whiteout/blizzard conditions to reach Arizona, the land of sunshine. And when she got there….well, it rained. Day of the ride with her first 50, it started raining about 11 am and didn’t finish up until 12 hours later. But Amy and Flicka were undeterred. They finished handily and looked great the next day. This is “Start Ready, Finish Proud” looks like!

Amy and Flicka at the start of her first 50

And….the finish. Rain, rain, go away… didn’t.

Amy Carrier was instrumental in helping another EDRA member achieve one of his “firsts” in 2022. Guy Cheek had “six wives” to help him finish Tevis on Steele. Kelsey Corey, Kathleen Dunham, Nicole Mayfield and Cortney Honan and I (Sandy Cheek) had the incredible adventure of crewing for Guy and Steele. The teamwork was amazing and Guy and Steele are so very grateful.


L to R: Amy Carrier, Guy Cheek, Cortney Honan, Nicole Mayfield, Sandy Cheek, Kathleen Dunham Pillo, Kelsey Corey and Steele

Julie Barnfather achieved a goal that so many of us have…she did a 100 with her amazing boy Marqo (Marquitible Asset). She’s a super seasoned rider, but has been masterfully transitioning him from world-class Ride and Tie horse to a distance horse. She succeeded at the Scottsdale 100, and won.

Julie and Marqo on the trail!

Jillane Boros had a good season as well. She had two horses, and as often the case, one was found to be better suited to another sport, and the other became…her Heart Horse. Jillane is a valued member of the EDRA Board. She has great ideas and is thoughtful and inquisitive in her thinking. She had a number of firsts this season: she travelled with Alex Berryman to Tevis and helped run the tack/gear store, and stayed through to film the finish of all of the Pacific Northwest riders as they did their victory laps. But highest on her list of accomplishments was riding her Heart Horse Vinnie in the dark. The Gifford-Pinchot forest can be scary at night, but she discovered that amazing connection that comes from trusting our equine partners to take care of us when we can’t see a thing. It’s pretty special. Here she is during the daylight. Can you tell she’s having fun?

Vinnie and Jillane in Gifford Pinchot forest

Deliene Walker Sellers is easily recognizable in ride camp. She always has a big smile on her face, because she is in her happy place with her big strong Quarterhorse gelding, Rebel. As mentioned earlier, all breeds are welcome in the sport of distance riding. The goal at EDRA is to provide opportunities and support for folks to learn their equine’s strengths and challenges and tailor their training accordingly. Deliene has done just that. Rebel is, well, HUGE. And gorgeous. But HUGE can be a challenge on hot and/or hilly rides. Deliene has done her homework, training on hills and in heat conditions. She’s also done multiday pack trips with groups that hone a good mental attitude to persevere for both rider and equine. Deliene is a MAGNET for drawing new people into the sport. Her enthusiastic and inclusive attitude makes everyone feel welcome. She volunteers to sponsor youth riders and happily puts aside her own goals to ride with a first-time participant. But in 2022, Deliene rode solo for 30 miles at the EDRA Sand Canyon ride. If you get a chance to ride with Deliene, jump at it!

Deliene and Rebel at Don’t Fence Me In

Rhonda Guillford lives a life I’d like if there were a parallel  universe. She’s an incredibly creative artist, and has sold her wares at Pike  Place Market in Seattle for many years. She’s a dog lover, has been a horse owner, and loves hiking and running and adventures with her friends. And she lives on an island! She’s also the EDRA drug testing czar, ensuring that our drug testing kit is stocked and ready for each ride and that Stewards are prepared to assist when required. So I was delighted when she sent in this picture of her “first” of 2022 – riding another EDRA member’s seasoned endurance horse, Aliento, on the trail. She also participates in the EDRA in Motion Challenge, tracking her considerable hiking and running miles on a monthly basis. Rhonda, I hope you and Aliento get to ride together again in 2023.


Sometimes our horse-related firsts aren’t at an endorsed ride. They may not even be on a horse. If you’ve been boarding your horse for twenty-five years, it is a PRETTY BIG DEAL when you are able to have your own piece of heaven and see your horses out on your own pasture. Nancy Zukewich lives in Ontario, Canada. She’s been an EDRA member since the inception of the organization. She’s a serious competitor in endurance events on the East coast, both in Canada and the US. She is also a wonderful person! So when she wrote, “Horses moved home for the first time. Been boarding for 25 years!”  I must admit I got a little choked up. I remember that feeling when they are at HOME. It’s huge. Congratulations Nancy, and I look forward to seeing you in 2023!

Kendal Ingraham has been a member of EDRA since its beginnings. She’s a good friend of Kathleen Ferguson, who was the EDRA President during our first couple of years. Kathleen was one of the folks who brought Kendal to the sport of distance riding, even though Kendal has never actually had her own horse to ride. She’s been a capable catch rider of some fun horses over the years. Kendal is always up for an adventure. She says, “If anyone has a horse they need ridden, get in touch!” She’s getting closer to owning her very own horse though…as a first for 2022, she bought a horse trailer!

Kendal and Shawn Ingraham and their new trailer

Dr. Marlene Poe’s schedule was so busy this year she wasn’t able to vet any EDRA rides, and she was missed. As was her daughter Katie, who was racking up miles in the previous season. But both Katie and her mom have new horses. And better yet, Dr. Poe will be vetting both EDRA Sand Canyon and Don’t Fence Me In. Looking forward to seeing their smiling faces!

Katie Poe ponying her new little project colt

Susan Lewis lives in Bellevue, Michigan but she’s formerly from the Pacific Northwest. Her family maintains strong ties with the EDRA community and I love keeping up on her adventures with her horses, husband, and two little girls. Susan is another strong participant in the EDRA in Motion Challenge, beating out most folks in her weight division because she seems to spend a LOT of time chasing two energetic little girls! Susan states that in 2022 she took riding lessons for the first time, and also enjoyed watching her girls gain confidence on their ponies.

A few former members have shared their successes as well. I’m hoping that they’ll be motivated to join EDRA again but in the meantime, it’s great to share in their successes and challenges. Sara Campbell took on the challenge of gentling a young horse off the Colville reservation. Dr. Cassee Steed Terry continues to vet rides, but in 2022 she RODE in her first 50.

Dr. Cassee Steed Terry

Sara and her “brumbie”


I know there are many other firsts out there. I heard an EDRA member won the Big Horn 100, reputedly a very tough ride.  I heard another member rode a unicorn in full rainbow colors, and galloped beside a freight train and served as the EDRA Secretary. Another bought her dream farm and planted lavender fields and stepped up to be the EDRA Treasurer. I also heard rumor that another EDRA member rode a mechanical bull in Vegas after a long night of crewing for another EDRA member’s 100 mile race. You know who you are. Pat yourselves on the back, and know that you’re pretty special.

A huge thank-you to our unsung heroes – the volunteers who help us keep this little club going. The pulse-takers, day ride managers, burger flippers, trailer transporters, non-riding spouses and children who support and cheer us on….the list goes on. Do your bit and thank everyone. Be kind. Let 2023 be the year you reach UP for your dreams, and reach OUT to help others. Both feel SO GOOD.

And finally, the photographers who come out and spend HOURS waiting for us to put our best hooves forward deserve to be thanked many times over. Their photos help us remember what fun we had. 

David Honan (Photos featuring Shelah Wetter, Jayla, Sandy and crew, EmileeRandal, Nicole Mayfield, Teresa Dixon, Alex Gesheva, Deliene Walker Sellers)

Jala Neufeld (photo featuring Andrea Hurn)

Merrie Melde (photo featuring Jillane Boros)

Ian Rabideau (photo featuring Kelsey Corey and Cruze)

Steve Bradley (photo featuring Kelsey and Crash)

SharDay Hilliard (photo featuring Valerie Pflughoeft) 

Daniel Rial (photo featuring Olivia Moore)

All others taken by assorted crew, family and friends.

See you on the trail!