Mentor Musings & Nuggets
Get the inside scoop on distance riding tips and real life experience learned from our trail veterans.
Ride Photos can be found here.
(April 7, 2018 Spokane, WA) – The rain was coming down in sheets. In that special way that rain falls in spring – torrential, driving.
And that was how it was on Saturday morning as a hardy group of distance riders set out on the well-marked course for the start of the Equine Distance Riding Association (EDRA) season.
“We were soaked down to the knickers,” Robin Burns declared after the ride. “I’ve never seen so many happy riders and volunteers, though.”
And among the group of happy riders was one small girl. Nine-year-old Miss Georgia on her trusty horse Gracie. It would be her first 25 mile ride and Erin Putnam had stepped up to sponsor the youngster.
“The trails at Riverside State Park are special to me. After over a year of disappointments and frustrations with horses that weren’t the right fit for endurance, Oreo and I completed our first 25 mile ride at April Daze in 2015. At Crazy Days in September of 2016, Terry James and Bucky escorted us through our first 50. At the April 7, 2018, Crazy Daze, Oreo and I had the privilege of escorting nine-year-old Georgia Glidden and her horse Gracie through their first 25. When Georgia’s mentor, Jennifer Kaplan, mentioned at the EDRA Convention that a 9YO girl had joined without her parents, I was intrigued. When Jennifer later posted that she was looking for someone to sponsor the girl at April Daze, I thought, “Why not?” I and Margie Woodford and Shannon Peckham were already planning to do a turtle pace 25, so let’s check this out,” wrote Erin.
“Georgia and I went out for a test ride on Friday afternoon, and we learned that we had the potential to be a great team. Then it was the l-o-n-g wait until 8am start time! Georgia has the blessing of a very supportive family, so she and Gracie had more crew than most of the rest of us put together! Despite the cold rain, we hadn’t even made it back to camp before Georgia was asking me if she could ride with me again. Georgia and Gracie finished with flying colors.”
According to Georgia’s mentor, Jennifer Kaplan, “Georgia is hooked and I just spoke with her dad, Brian and sounds like he has the bug too. He’s aiming for Selkirk.”
It’s worth noting that Georgia’s mount, Gracie, is an American Blazer. A breed of horse whose breed association mandates a gentle disposition. To learn more, visit the breed association here.
The trails were well marked despite attempted trail sabotage on Friday and the rains on Saturday. Riders were able to follow the route with the GAIA app but most found they didn’t need it with ample amounts of chalk and ribbon showing the way.
One person grateful for the well-marked trails was Lynn Atcheson who took first in the fifty mile and Best In Class.
In her own words, “I’m notorious for always getting lost,” Lynn laughed. So with the first few loops she tracked behind Sue and Dennis Summer before swinging to the front with her horse knowing the way.
She finished in a time of 5:05 on a fit and happy Banner. Banner is a gelding of unknown age and origin, although best guess puts him about 16 and perhaps an Arab cross. This was his first victory in a 50 miler although he gave indication of his talent two years ago when he took first in the 30 mile Prineville Ride. He’s consistently Top Ten but it wasn’t until Lynn’s friend Jamie Hughes encouraged her to step up to a fifty that the pair really started to shine.
“I had to be talked into doing one,” said Lynn. “It was hard, I did a lot of walking and crying before I finished.”
But finish they did, and after a mild winter in the Gorge area of Washington and solid conditioning on the hills surrounding the Columbia River they were ready for April Daze. Lynn attributed the 3,500’+ elevation changes in her conditioning rides as a big part of Banner’s fitness.
“50’s are getting easier, but they are still hard,” said Lynn. “We’ll do another 50 at Grizzly, but I’m only going if I get some real rain gear!”
Want to join Lynn at Grizzly? Be sure to check out the ride page here. Grizzly Mountain is Saturday, April 21, 2018.
|Top Three Results||1st||2nd||3rd|
|25 Mile||Julie James &
(2:49, Half Arab)
|Terry James &
|Shelley Kerr &
CW Cruizer Gold
|50 Mile||Lynn Atcheson & Banner
(5:05, Arab Pinto)
|Dennis Summers &
|Sue Summers &
|TYM Relay||Myra Darty/Dublin Ban & Nicole Leonard/Ugly Betty||Kathleen Ferguson/Deal’s Crown Royal & Guy Cheek/JV Trinidad||Kim Black/Karim & Sandy Cheek/Bold Design|
|Ride & Tie 25 Mile||Ben Volk/Taryn Rathbone &
|Tara Rothwell/Margarita Philips &
Morguitible Asset CCA (Arab Cross)
|Ride & Tie 16 Mile||Richard Alderson/Matthew Clark & Destiny
The Grizzly Mountain Ride on April 21, 2018 has been a fixture on the Northwest riding calendar since 1999. Darlene and Max Merlich are the second set of ride managers to coordinate this staple event. The event offers rides from a ten mile trail ride up to an 80 mile Test Your Mettle Relay.
The ride is located in Central Oregon, a few miles outside of Madras. The footing is mostly two track dirt roads, single track trail and a small amount of gravel roads. We checked in with Ride Manager, Darlene Merlich, to get the lay of the land.
What makes this ride special?
The Grizzly Mountain Ride is special because it’s an early spring ride. There is plentiful grass, some natural water, and amazing mountain views! Another bonus to this ride is the catered dinner on Friday night by Landmark Catering! Lots of communing goes on around the fire pit.
Why should a new rider try Grizzly as their first ride or an experienced rider add it to their list?
A new rider should try Grizzly as their first ride because the managers take the time to make sure the trail is well marked (ribbons, lime, signs and gps tracks made available), there is plentiful water available on the trail. We feed our riders Friday and sometimes Saturday evening, and there is a very friendly to new people/riders atmosphere at this ride!
The Grizzly Mountain Ride is a great ride for those that have ridden many rides before because it takes place in the spring when horses are still fuzzy and maybe not quite in “race” shape. The easily navigated terrain at this ride makes it a great “conditioning” ride. The weather is generally ride friendly and most folks can finish even the 75 miler in the daylight hours.
What surprises might riders encounter given the location?
There is a possibility that the range cows will be turned out before the ride takes place. If this happens, there are lots of gates to go through. We do our best to find people to “man” the gates, but if we’re short of volunteers, riders will need to open and close gates. There are also highway crossings since the bulk of the ride takes place on the west side of Hwy 26 and ridecamp is on the east side of Hwy 26. Because this is a desert ride, there are plenty of views of the Cascade Mountain range.
This year we are having a 26 mile ride as our shorter distance. This will be a single loop with an out vet check somewhere around 14 miles. The outcheck will be a 45 minute hold for the short distance riders. You’ll be on what we call the Rimrock Loop. The 50 milers will be doing the same Rimrock Loop, then the newly named Scales Loop, and finishing off on the Tribby Loop.
We’ve added in the Warner Loop for the 75 milers, and the Test Your Mettle Relay riders will be riding the Warner Loop, then the Scales Loop, and they’ll finish off on the Tribby Loop.
The map files will be made available as soon as we’ve accurately verified the miles. We are asking riders to download the Gaia GPS app on their smartphones. GPX files will also be made available for riders using Garmin type GPS’s.
What distances are offered and how much is it?
|Ride Distance||Cost*||Start Time|
|10 mile Trail Ride||$25||TBD|
|Test Your Mettle Relay 80 mi||$180||TBD|
*Juniors are $25, PNER members take $10 off. 50% Ride Manager Discount to all PNER Ride Managers.
Want to jump in and join Darlene and the crew at Grizzly Mountain? You can download the ride flyer HERE (Grizzly Mtn Flier 2018-1), visit the website, or contact Darlene Merlich at email@example.com or call 503-784-5337.
MINI-CLINIC TO BE HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH GRIZZLY MOUNTAIN RIDE
In keeping with the Start Ready, Finish Proud motto, Grizzly Mountain will also be hosting a mini-clinic on the Friday of ride weekend.
Rider Option Pull Codes presented by Lois Fox.
Tentative time: 4 pm, Friday, April 20, 2018
How well do you know what’s normal for your horse? In this clinic we will talk about how and when we make decisions during an endurance ride. What can you learn from a pull? We will clarify what the pull codes mean and how they should be applied. It’s a rare horse with more than a few completions in his career to have no pulls. It’s a myth that any horse can do endurance with the correct preparation. EDRA has the motto :START READY, FINISH PROUD”, which is what this mini clinic is all about!
April Daze on April 7 marks the start of the Equine Distance Riding Association (EDRA) ride season. The event, which features rides from about 12 miles up to 75, is located at Riverside State Park just outside of Spokane, Washington.
The ride’s location at Riverside Park along the Spokane River means easy to moderate terrain that is welcoming for the new rider, and easy on horses just coming out of winter that may not be fully legged up. The footing is good with dirt trails and some rocky sections.
The ride is managed by a woman no stranger to the endurance community. Gail Williams manages a number of rides in the Northwest and held April Daze for the first time in 2015. The ride was held again in 2016 before having a conflict with Army scheduling in 2017 that caused its cancellation.
We sat down briefly with Gail to learn more about what this ride has to offer, what makes it special and what riders can expect.
What makes this ride special?
Because of the moderate terrain and well defined trails, April Daze is a great early season ride. The ride camp is wonderfully flat and has lots of room and easy access for big rigs.
Why should a new rider try April Daze as their first ride or an experienced rider add it to their list?
We have a great crew of vets and helpers, who are willing to take time to show both new and experienced riders the great trails, point out places to experience scenic views, and have a good experience.
The trails will be very well marked, using both ribbons and signs and riders will be able to call ride camp if necessary. We will have abundant water along the trails, probably every 5 – 7 miles.
What surprises might riders encounter given the location?
Because the park is in an urban area, riders may encounter people on bikes or hiking or walking along the trails. People walking may have dogs with them although they are supposed to be leashed.
There will be at least two loops, one mostly north of ride camp, and the other(s) more south of camp. The loops should be available for gps download a week or two before the ride. All vet checks are in camp with loops going out from a central point, from 10 – 25 miles.
What distances are offered and how much is it?
|Ride Distance||Cost*||Start Time|
|Trail Ride||$30||9 am and after|
|25 miles||$90||8 am|
|50 miles||$100||6 am|
|75 miles||$115 (5 entries required by 3/25)||5:30 am|
|Ride and Tie 12 miles||$25||8:30 am|
|Ride and Tie 25 miles||$75||8:30 am|
|Test Your Mettle Relay 50 mi||$160||6:30 am|
*Juniors take $25 off, PNER members take $5 off.
Want to jump in and join Gail and the crew at April Daze? You can download the ride flyer APRIL DAZE 2018 Flyer or contact Gail Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 509-952-1256.
Pre-registration not required but strongly encouraged and appreciated.
(February 8, 2018) – The Equine Distance Riding Association is preparing to add mini-clinics to each distance ride in 2018. The concept, tested in 2017, is aimed at expanding riders’ skills in a variety of areas.
The initial mini-clinics in 2017 were informal gatherings the day prior to the main ride but were so well received that they will be expanded to all EDRA rides in 2018. The new mini-clinics will be held the Friday afternoon prior to the distance ride on Saturday.
“The mini-clinics are intended to give EDRA riders proven tools for their toolbox to up their game in a variety of ways,” said Dennis Summers. “There are old dogs ‘hey, I resemble that remark’ that have proven methods to share with interested riders.”
The topics to be covered include; presenting a horse for the vet and trot outs, training for a relaxed start, how to present for best condition (BC), tailing a horse, and more. The clinics will be free to attend and may be audited by volunteers and non-riding attendees.
“Every rider shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel, unless they want to that is,” Summers said. “Giddyup!” Summers will be helping head the new educational component and builds off his educational “nuggets” shared via the EDRA website.
EDRA members will also have an opportunity to offer their input on what topics they’d like to see covered during the Annual General Meeting on March 17.
The mini-clinics build on EDRA’s mission to have a robust mentoring program that supports the development of horses and riders in a fun and friendly environment. More information will be available on the EDRA website and Facebook page as it is finalized.
The Equine Distance Riding Association is set to host their second annual Distance Riding Conference March 16 and 17, 2018. The two-day conference will be held at Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, Washington.
The two-day conference combines a hands on clinic with EDRA’s Annual General Meeting. The Conference, titled “Get Ready to Start Ready” builds on EDRA’s founding principles of developing and preparing horse and rider teams via mentoring and education opportunities.
“We are thrilled to have such a great, positive response from endurance riders for our second year,” said EDRA President Kathleen Ferguson. “We couldn’t do it without the generosity of the endurance community.”
The two-day conference offers hands on riding clinics with the Northwest’s own Celena Pentrack as well as Robin Ryner. The format will cover small rider improvement lessons as well as opportunities for body work for horse and rider. Equine body work appointments will be available with Jennifer Pillow and human massages with Libby Kalkoske.
Time out of the saddle will be focused on a couple key areas including GPS training, saddle fit, and the Annual General Meeting. Members are encouraged to attend and vote in the annual elections.
Up to fifty horse and rider teams will be accepted for the riding portion of the clinic while all are welcome to audit. Registration will open February 1 at www.equinedistanceriding.com.
Full details on the schedule, fees and registration can be found here.
By Sandy Cheek
I’ve heard the refrain from some newcomers to endurance (and others as well) that there is a clique-ish or clubby vibe they’ve encountered when at ride camp. EDRA has worked hard to counteract that by always providing a
central gathering place at ride camp for everyone to mingle, and developing a robust mentoring program so newcomers have at least one person with whom to connect.
But I’ve been thinking lately about my own endurance friendships, and why, at ride camp, I tend to migrate towards some folks and share an adult beverage and tell lies together. Why them? Why, in particular, are those my ‘enduring’ friendships? (See what I just did there? Pun fully intended).
Most of the faces I see across the campfire I’ve also seen at boring, boring meetings on Sunday mornings after a PNER convention, hammering out the duller aspects of taking care of our sport. I’ve worked on policy with them. Ugh. Budgets. Double ugh. Put together a convention, which, without a village, is impossible. Helped create a new distance organization and got both accolades and arrows slung my direction. Together, we have weathered some storms!
Sure, we ride together too. Those miles late at night on a hundred help forge friendships like none other. But here’s my point.
That closeness that some perceive as elitism, that sense of connection we have with one another doesn’t just come easily. It’s pieced together over years of working together in adverse conditions, without recognition, not just for what’s in it for me, but for a larger purpose—a shared belief in what is important for our beloved sport. When you connect with someone over the management of a ride, or how to mark a trail, or put through a budget proposal—it’s hard. And you learn stuff about that other person you’d never have known about from just riding with them.
So here’s the takeaway. Are you feeling left out? Like you want more endurance friends to hang around with? Then ask yourself: When was the last time you really gave back to the endurance community? If your answer is “well, I helped mark trail once two years ago…” well, maybe it’s time to jump into the mud and do some more work. Believe me; you will discover the meaning of friendship. And respect. And that goes both ways. The next time you’re at a ride camp, there will be faces across the campfire you’ve seen in other contexts. You’ll look each other in the eye, grin, raise a glass, and know—that you are now part of the “club.”
Reciprocity Agreement between Endurance Riders Association of British Columbia (ERABC) and Equine Distance Riders Association (EDRA)
December 2016 (updated February 2017)
ERABC and EDRA share a common goal of providing safe, sane competitive distance riding events for their members. The number of riders who are crossing the US/Canadian border to participate in rides has decreased. We share the additional goal of wanting to reverse this trend.
While there are certain costs of international travel (health certificates, Coggins) that are beyond our control, we believe we can make our respective rides more attractive by developing a reciprocity agreement that would incentivize riders to attend. To that end, we propose the following:
We plan to post pre and post ride news about EDRA events here on the news page and we have some fun ideas on how to do that. Sophia McKee has generously offered her assistance with the webpage while I’m learning the ropes.
She has some FABULOUS ideas; one – to have EDRA reporters who’s job would be to interview people at the rides and report back to us for posting. How fun would that be? Any volunteers?
Right now we are scheduling all our mentors to submit a Nugget of information they think will be helpful. We’ll start posting these on our education page along with other articles that we think could be of interest. Of course, the page will be the place to find ride results and rider/horse mileage and points and award standings.