The Bottass Family!

Happy Valentine’s Month!

What a month it will be with love in the air, the sun staying up a bit longer and the temperature starting to rise.

Next thing you know, spring grass will be popping up all over. Not soon enough at my place.

It’s also that time of year where the horses start to shed their winter coats. You may experience some saddle rubs over the loins and a bit of soreness. Fear not! A saddle fitter told me years ago that this time of year is their busiest as concerned owners think their horse has outgrown the saddle. He shared that if you apply Show Sheen or similar product over that area it keeps the friction from soring your horse until they complete the shedding process. I hate the great saddle search, so I gave it a try and it worked! If you find yourself in the same predicament, try this remedy before a saddle. It’ll save you time, frustration, and money.



February started with perfect weather predictions for the 68th annual FHA 100 held at the Florida Horse Park.

9 teams started the 100 with 8 finishing. It’s an arduous task to keep your horse sound and ready for 3 days of competition but I have to tell you, this group of 9 were strong and determined. The horses were in top shape and it was anyone’s ride to win.

The weather was ideal for the horses until Sunday which brought in the rain. Luckily it held off until we were off course.

The trails were well marked, the new black topped bike trail posed zero issues and everyone had a great ride.

The number of competitors was disappointing but the comradery we shared was not. From Day 1 we took care of each other. We laughed, we ate, we encouraged when it was needed, we shared stories while drinking wine and told many dirty jokes. We laughed a lot!

The LD riders started arriving on Saturday and would share the 25 mile trail with us on Sunday which added to the fun. We also had a few IDR riders through the course of the weekend.

You can see the list of all the winners on www.distanceriding.org

(I don’t want to omit anyone by accident or whack their name or mismatch the award won).

Volunteers assisted through out the weekend and a big shout out to them all! Caren Risley was there taking pictures Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Her pictures are on FB on the SEDRA and FHA pages as well most of the competitors.

It takes so many people to make this ride a success and to all who helped do so, THANK YOU!  The 69th running is next year.  I hope to see you there!

FHA 100 Mile CTR Winners!


It’s going to be a good ride when your riding buddy states: “If I die because of an armadillo make sure you put that in my obituary.”

Not only did I assure her that the obit would make mention of the murderous armadillo but that I would also do a story about her untimely demise by armadillo in the SEDRA newsletter.

I’m happy to say that the nearly blind, squeaky, jumpy forest creatures did us no harm but not without a last loop attempt. Our horses persevered, their riders defying death by woodland creature.

Edie Peters and I caravanned to Palatka with a morning temperature of 21 degrees. Indy has maintained his state of perpetual dirty since October with this arctic winter weather (in Florida terms.)

The drive was a bit longer than expected but finally ride camp was around the bend.

When we started smelling the grilled cheese sandwiches, we knew we had arrived. The camping area for Dunns Creek SF is nestled next to the St Johns River. Many rigs were there for the Friday ride but we managed to find spaces with creative parking and Friday competitors leaving. Word around camp was that the trails were better than last year as far as the “moon scape” but there was quite a bit of water and stretches of deep sand.

Oh, and several people have come off due to horse eating armadillos. Oh goodie.

As we were getting situated, my friend Bebe came up asking if there was anything she could help us with. How about catching that loose horse that’s coming in camp from the trail at Mach 9.

Sure enough, another armadillo encounter. The rider persevered and finished the ride with minutes to spare.

I’ll be riding Indy. 16.3, 1180# who can trot casually at 12 mph.

Math test: At what speed will Chris be dumped at when Indy and killer armadillo cross paths and what are the odds that she’ll either land in one of the muddy areas or sand?

I drank LOTS of wine that night.

Vet ins, ride dinner and meeting all went well. First loop was 20 miles with a 10 mile trot by followed by 2 15 mile loops. I would be riding with friends Tom, Deb and Allison. They block Indy so we don’t do 50 miles in 2 hours. Indy has this hold on, I got this done attitude. My morning photos show 3 happy horse/rider teams ahead of Indy who they are blocking with me restraining him from busting through.

Fun times.

Trails were typical of Florida with a mix of deep sand, water and single tract through pretty palmetto stands and oaks. The trail was marked well except during the night, evening creatures managed to take down a few ribbons. We didn’t go far before realizing we missed the turn.

Management had the issue corrected ASAP.

Our first 20 miles went well with all 4 horses passing the vet check with flying colors. The 50 minute hold went quickly and off we went for the next 15 miles. We managed to scare up a small herd of deer and almost ran over an armadillo (it looked like a rock to me).

Back into camp for our last hold and I have to bring Indy back for a re-check. SAY WHAT?? The vet thought she saw “something” in his trot but that she thought he’d be fine to go out. I worry through the hold, trot him for others and deem that whatever she saw must be gone or very slight.

Back to the vet and with her blessings, out we go. YAY!!

It was a lovely loop with lots of laughing, cantering and an occasional kamikaze armadillo wrestling in the woods. When the horses realized we were on the “go back trail” there was no stopping them! Indy took a corner like a barrel horse and Regal decided he was cantering to lead us in. All 4 horses were strong as we trotted over the finish line tying for 6th place.

I love riding with this merry group. The chatter, wise cracks and laughing is non-stop.

All 4 horses passed the vet check and I decided to stand for Best Condition. Sure, were 90 minutes behind the 1st rider in but it’s another vet exam and I like to know how Indy is recovering by that point.

We have 1 hour before we go back to present. Indy is coated in dirt. CAKED in MUD. While he stood and ate and drank and ate, I curried, I scrubbed, I wiped the sweat off my brow. I did not make a dent.

Edie was sequestered into trotting Indy out for me for the judge. She did a great job but he stumbled here and there, likely due to being a wee bit tired. Other than that, I thought he looked good.

When the awards were given for Top 10 and BC, we came in 2nd for BC. Job well done Indy!

Now to relax and drink the wine and gossip around the campfire. Everyone seemed to have a great ride with their own armadillo encounter stories.

By morning, Indy was rearing to go again.


Indy: Hold on Mom I got this!

Me:   Where are you going?

Indy: FAST!

Me:   What about the killer armadillos?

Indy: WHAT????? I’ll go faster!

Me:   NO!

Indy: Trust me, faster is better. Hold on!

Me:    NO! We’ll get back in plenty of time and you’ll leave your buddies Wes, Emma & Regal behind.

Indy: I hate those guys.

Me:   See we are back at camp and we are in the Top 10 without going 20 MPH.

Indy: Next time Mom I want to go faster.

Me:    I need a beer.

Indy: Me too.


 With many of our rides utilizing state and national parks and forests, I encourage our members to try and participate in clean up days whenever they are offered and when they can. On my local trails, we have the same core group of 4-5 people that attend. Sometimes more but not by many. Wouldn’t it be great if we could triple those numbers proving to forestry that we want to participate in improving the trails we use. How can SEDRA members standout?


 I have SEDRA t-shirts that I am bringing to rides that I attend. There are multiple sizes and colors in both long and short sleeves. At $8-$10 they are bargain priced. The long sleeve was perfect for the cooler mornings we had this past weekend. Wearing a SEDRA t-shirt at a forest work day gets the word out that we care and we want to make a difference! Wearing our t-shirt at other events brings attention to our sport and club. Spread the love!  See me at any ride I am at to hand pick your tee.


 This year’s banquet will be at Black Prong on Saturday June 30th. We’ll be changing it up this year. We will be hosting seminars and a lunch and learn, followed by the meeting and awards. The line up and times are being worked out but please make sure to SAVE THE DATE! If you have a friend or 2 that have shown an interest in distance riding, this might be a great opportunty for them to learn and participate with others.


Don’t forget the deadline for recognizing a peer or yourself for that matter, is March 31.

A Friendly Reminder Regarding the SEDRA Awards Criteria:  In June of 2015, at the annual SEDRA meeting and awards banquet, the SEDRA membership requested that an ad hoc committee, chaired by the SEDRA Vice President, be established to develop standardized criteria for the annual SEDRA awards. The intent was to eliminate bias, actual or perceived, and to improve the award decision process.

The committee was duly formed and over the next several months the criteria were developed. There were several drafts produced for each award section. These sections are the “General Criteria for SEDRA Special and Hall of Fame Awards” which include the basic requirements for all the awards and which should be read FIRST when writing up a horse and/or rider for an award or awards; the “Criteria for SEDRA Special Awards” which include the Cathy Booth Memorial Horsemanship Award, Mickey Blanford Excellence in Competition Award and the King’s OCS Lad Memorial Trail Horse Award; the “Criteria for SEDRA Hall of Fame Awards” to include the Hall of Fame Horse, the Hall of Fame Rider,  the Hall of Fame Horse and Rider Team, and the Exemplary Person; and the “CVR Rhubal Kahli Rookie Horse and Rider Team Award”.

To SEDRA members these are very important, meaningful awards. As such they deserve careful thought on the part of the person or persons nominating horses and people for awards, on the part of the BOD which decides the Hall of Fame and Rookie Horse and Rider Team Awards based upon the documentation as outlined in the Criteria, and on the part of the general membership which votes on the three Special Awards (Cathy Booth, Mickey Blanford, and King’s OCS Lad) also based upon the Criteria. Accurate, fair, and thoughtful decisions cannot be made based on poor or non-existent documentation nor can they be made with nominations from the floor. Such decisions at best are careless and quick and at worst are based only on “popularity” which the SEDRA membership has indicated over and over again it does not want.

Of note, there have a few been a few questions concerning the dates mentioned in the “General Criteria” and in the Rookie Horse and Rider Team Award”. For the BOD to have the time to devote to a meaningful review and discussion of the nominees for Hall of Fame and for the Rookie Horse and Rider Team Awards a deadline of March 31 (postmarked no later than this date) in the current SEDRA year is required. Any write up postmarked after MARCH 31 will NOT be accepted. This is clearly stated in the “ General Criteria” .

Also, any person nominating or being nominated MUST be a SEDRA member by no later than September 1 in the SEDRA year in which the nomination is to be considered. The ad hoc committee wanted to give everyone a chance to have time to get their membership fees in and to get horses registered with SEDRA. It was felt 2 full months after the June meeting to do this was more than ample time. As for the Rookie Horse and Rider Team Award, no horse and rider team can have completed any CTR, LD, or END ride prior to June 1 of the current SEDRA year. If the team is not a member until September 1, any rides completed between June 1 and September 1 WILL be counted as long as the horse and person is a member by September 1.

Also, to be considered for the Rookie Award the team MUST have completed at least THREE (3) SEDRA sanctioned rides during the year.

The BOD would like to reiterate that these are important awards. They mean a lot to the people who receive them. Therefore, the BOD will continue to support and expect good documentation and, as stated clearly in the “General Criteria”, will reserve the right not to award any award or awards in any year it believes the criteria for receiving the award or awards have not been met by any of the nominees.  – Lindsay Campbell, SEDRA Vice President

Please go to www.distanceriding.org to find all the forms you’ll need to nominate your horse and your peers.

MEMBERSHIP DUES:  If you haven’t already renewed your 2017-2018 dues, now is the time!  And, don’t forget your horse/pony/mule partner lifetime distance nomination AS WELL as our other horse/rider recognition programs.

RIDES – Our ride calendar continues to add new rides. Make sure to check it often so you don’t miss any of the action!

Do you have a great ride story to share or photo? Pass it along to SEDRAprez@gmail.com and I’ll include in the newsletter.


Happy Trails!

Chris Littlefield,  SEDRA President

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