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And then she called my name (a guest post)

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.

“And then she (Sue Summers) called my name”~Margie Thorngren

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.


Renegade Rendezvous Official Ride Photos Here. Official Results Here.

(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.

1st 2nd 3rd
25 Mile Camille Rucker & Caprices Zippo

(3:13, Paint)

Best In Class

Margie Thorngren & RWR Horus

(3:18, Shagya)

David Laws & Ama’le

(3:19, Rocky Mountain Horse)

50 Mile Dennis Summers & AH Bantiki

(6:44, Arab)

Best In Class

Sue Summers & Pavberg

(6:44, Arab)

Jennifer Jacobson & Three Socks

(7:56, Saddlebred)

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.

Sandra Cheek and her 100 mile ride on Wilson

Darlene Merlich and her 25 mile ride on a mule named Ramone



(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.

Chuck Cowan on Blazer. Photo by Ermintrude Cow Photography.

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 and Blazer coming into vet check.

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.

1st 2nd 3rd
25 Mile

(47 entries)

Rose Corey & RC Vinn Diesel (2:40) Anita Tyrell & Whip (2:48) Jennifer Odle & Sea Squirt (3:01) *Best In Class
50 Mile

(28 entries)


Dennis Summers & TK Tiki (5:08)

*Best In Class

Tom Dean & Benzo (6:00) Sacha Edgell & M&M Gabriella (Gabby) (6:08)
75 Mile

(3 entries)

Carol Giles & SAR Dragon Rider (10:36) Ron Sproat & SAR FS Valiant Heart (11:28) Celena Pentrack & OMR Prophet (11:28)

(3 teams)

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)

EDRA Miles To Be Used Towards Tevis Qualification

Chuck Stalley, Ride Director of the Tevis Cup, has indicated that any riders wishing to have their EDRA distance miles (within Tevis qualification guidelines) be used towards qualifying for the Tevis need to send their ride results/records to Chuck Stalley at Additionally, Ride Managers may also make the request to Chuck in advance of their event so that riders can plan their rides accordingly.

EDRA Rider Sandy Cheek and Smoke power up Cougar Rock

Riders can learn more about the Tevis Cup requirements here. For EDRA Ride Calendar and to plan your ride season, click here.

About Tevis Cup (excerpt from

The Western States Trail Ride, popularly called the Tevis Cup Ride, is the oldest modern day endurance ride, having been held annually since 1955. As such, it has been the inspiration and model for the most challenging endurance rides worldwide.

The ride was first organized by Wendell Robie, an Auburn businessman and devoted rider of the Sierra high country. Many people in the 50s doubted that any modern-day horse could cover the rugged trail from Lake Tahoe to Auburn in a single day. Wendell and a few of his friends proved them wrong in August of 1955. He continued to hold the ride annually thereafter and organized the Western States Trail Foundation to preserve the 100 mile trail and the Ride.

Each rider who completes the 100 mile course from Tahoe to Auburn within the 24 hour limit and whose mount is judged “fit to continue” is awarded the coveted silver Completion Award Buckle.

The Tevis Cup trophy is awarded to the person who completes the 100-Mile One-Day course in the shortest amount of time and whose horse is in sound condition and “fit to continue.” The Tevis Cup was named for Lloyd Tevis (1824 – 1899) by his grandson Will Tevis, a prominent San Francisco businessman and early benefactor of the Ride, and was first awarded in 1959 to Nick Mansfield, riding Buffalo Bill, an eleven year old TB Cross gelding.

The other major trophy, the Haggin Cup, is awarded to the rider whose horse is in the “most superior physical condition” of the first ten horses to cross the finish line. The Haggin Cup, named for James Ben Ali Haggin (1821 – 1914), was first awarded in 1964 to Paige Harper, riding his six year old Arabian gelding, Keno.

“The James Ben Ali Haggin Cup shall be awarded by the Cup Committee to the horse among the first ten to finish judged to be in the most superior physical condition by the Veterinary Committee. The rider must have exhibited a level of horsemanship and sportsmanship equal to the prestige of the award as judged by the Cup Committee during the competition to be eligible to present for the Haggin Cup”.

The Josephine Stedem Scripps Foundation Cup was established in 1994 to recognize each of the finishing Junior Riders for their special achievement. The first Junior finisher was David Jay, Jr., who completed the 3rd annual Ride in 1957.

Something New At Grizzly Mountain

Ride Photos from Trail Song Photography can be found here.

(April 21, 2018, Madras, OR) – The American Saddlebred brigade descended upon Madras, Oregon Saturday, April 21, 2018 for Grizzly Mountain Endurance ride. It would have been hard not to notice some of these flashy, high-headed horses as some, like Velveteer, brought that same presence he had in the show ring to the trail.

American Saddlebred Velveteer and Shelah Wetter expanding his resume.

“I rode the black horse Velveteer in his very first 50! He was spectacular, pulsed in immediately, ate, drank and was much more mannerly than last ride for the pulsers and vets,” Shelah said. Last ride was Crazy Daze just two weeks prior. Velveteer was her mom, Pam Heiman’s, show horse and was just started on trails in October.

Pam Heiman’s breeding program has been producing American Saddlebreds for the past 30 years that have been carefully chosen for athleticism, versatility and beauty. All of those qualities can be seen in the dozen or so Saddlebreds who are now in endurance homes making their way to rides all over the Northwest. Shelah trains Saddlebreds professionally in Deer Park, Washington and is no stranger to the show ring or the trails.

Dixie and Natalie Law. Photo by Trail Song Photography.

Some others in the endurance community were also trying something new at Grizzly, with mixed results.

Erika Floyd and her “little red Ferrari” Tessa did the 25 – only the second distance ride together.

“Work got in the way last year. We conditioned all year and then she sat in the pasture for the winter.” Erika said. “I am incorporating more rest and more slow work than I did last year. A lot more dressage exercises rather than just focusing on the endurance aspect. I trailer once a week and do a long ride.”

Erika attributes bad race brain in her ride last year at Coyote Ridge to this new approach.

“It was an experiment to see what of those slow, calm lessons translated to ride day. We tested it the day before and she walked on a loose rein.”

However, that didn’t carry over to race morning with the little red Ferrari revved up and hot to go. Her antics caused Erika to sprain her ankle in the first mile and then dismount in subsequent miles and run along her until she settled.

“I was frustrated and mad at her so I decided to put my energy into running instead,” said Erika. “She was a powerhouse headed down the trail 10 – 11 mph on the second loop.”

Erika Floyd and her red Ferrari Tessa. Photo by Trail Song Photography.

But Erika loves her redheaded, opinionated mare and plans to do more 25s to practice leaving camp and condition the brain.

Ann Szolas and her Paint gelding Tezeros Stormy aka Indy learned a lesson in overthinking that resulting in a disappointing pull in the 50 – their first pull since the team started endurance six years ago.

Trying to accommodate some lingering scabs from a bout of cellulitis he had earlier this year, Ann made the decisions to try Grizzly with glue-ons – which Indy had never worn before. The change in footwear and lack of protective pads led to Ann opting to pull when he came in slightly off at the vet check.

“I changed it, and you never change anything for a ride!” She said. “The scab ended up being such a non-issue and I was kicking myself for doing the number one no-no.”

“I love him too much to risk anything. He is sound in the pasture, happy and healthy so that is all that matters to me!” said Ann. She adds that the ride was awesomely run and she sounds nearly as happy as Indy in his pasture.

“Next ride, I’m going to do everything exactly as I have been.”

Top Three Results 1st 2nd 3rd
25 Mile Sarah Hockett & Detailed Legacy (3:09)

*Best in Class

Darcy Bean & HB Aur Squirt (3:10) Jenna Towner & Riches to Burn (3:46)
50 Mile Dennis Summers & AH Bantiki (6:06)

*Best in Class

Lynn Atcheson & Banner (6:06) Beth Claussen & Beau de Valeroso (6:08)
75 Mile Kathleen Pilo & Doublemint Rio Gambler (10:26) Jamie Hughes & De Khapprio KF (12:12)

*Best in Class

 For a view of the ride compliments of Alexis Berryman’s helment cam click here:

Rainy Days at April Daze

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.

Georgia and her American Blazer, Gracie. Photo by Brian Dirks.

“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.

A wet Lynn and Banner head out for another loop relaxed in a halter. Photo by Heidi Taggart Larson.

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.”

A relaxed Banner at Vet Check. Photo by Heidi Taggart Larson.

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 &

AH Bantiki

(2:49, Half Arab)

Terry James &

RFR Polaris

(2:50, Arab)

Shelley Kerr &

CW Cruizer Gold

(2:53, Grade)

50 Mile Lynn Atcheson & Banner

(5:05, Arab Pinto)

Dennis Summers &

DR Finnigan

(5:23, Arab)

Sue Summers &

WMA Pastella

(5:23, Arab)

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 &

Lauverus Moon


Tara Rothwell/Margarita Philips &

Morguitible Asset CCA (Arab Cross)

Ride & Tie 16 Mile Richard Alderson/Matthew Clark & Destiny

(Turbo Friesian)

Grizzly Mountain Ride Offers Ten to Eighty Miles Of Fun

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.

The Loops?

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
30 miles $90 TBD
50 miles $100 TBD
75 miles $115 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 or call 503-784-5337.



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!