It’s a new year! New goals have been set by many of us and by mid-February, most are altered to fit reality.

As endurance competitors, I think most of us set similar goals such as: reevaluating our fitness plan, competing in longer distances successfully, possibly starting a new horse and becoming a better horse person for the sake of our mounts.

It may take multiple attempts but remember, with each attempt made, your odds of success will improve.

The AERC new year began December 01. Our SEDRA calendar is 6 months into our competition year with a June 1 start date. We welcome new and returning members all year long. If you ride with someone who is not a member, encourage them in becoming a member by sharing the benefits of a SEDRA membership with them.

Lindsay Campbell has updated our special award forms. Is there that one person, one horse or horse and rider team that you can’t help but notice when competing? They go the extra mile to help another competitor, their horse is well trained and always behaved at a ride. The rider is fun, nice and a joy to have around? Always helpful? Recognize them with your gratitude by nominating them for one of our special awards. You’ll find the criteria for each special award and nominating form under the Awards/Achievements tab/Special Awards.

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 DistanceRiding.org to find all the forms you’ll need to nominate your horse and your peers.

Ride Mentors

We have a new Junior ride mentor! Kim Williams granddaughter, Aubrey, is our new Junior mentor. If you have a young rider that has questions or wants to know more about the sport, please send them Aubrey’s way. Aubrey herself has been blessed to learn from one of the best with Kim. You’ll find her information and our other mentors on our website under the About Us tab/Mentors.

Onto recognizing some of our members…

Lifetime SEDRA member Helen Koehler was recognized by the Florida Division of Forestry at her 20th anniversary ride, The Goethe “Outdoor Freedom” Endurance ride. For 20 years Helen has successfully managed the Goethe Endurance rides, always giving back the proceeds to the Goethe forest. With this ride as her last, she was recognized for all she has done with a plaque, speeches full of gratitude from state forestry representatives and Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam.

In 2010 Helen was also recognized with the State Trail Worker Award. The State Trail Worker Award recognizes an individual that has demonstrated outstanding contributions and provided consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance. It is intended to recognize the commitment and efforts of a private or public-sector individual working for enhanced trail recreation in their local area/state. Job well done Helen!  Thank you!

This years Goethe “Outdoor Freedom” Endurance ride also paid tribute to our wounded veterans. Outdoor Freedom is an endeavor of the Florida Forest Service that provides recreational opportunities to wounded veterans. Participants must be Florida residents who are honorably discharged military veterans with either a service-connected disability rating of 30% or greater from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs or be a Purple Heart recipient. Hamburgers and the  fixings were served though the day raising money for the veterans. A special thank you to Shelley and Adrian Scott-Jones for their generous contribution of $500 to get the pot started. Adrian and Shelley also worked tirelessly preparing the grounds for all the rigs to have enough parking, volunteering throughout the ride and then back after the ride for cleanup duty. Volunteers are ALWAYS welcomed and appreciated at EVERY ride!

Speaking of volunteering…

Vickie Griffis has shared the following on why she enjoys volunteering:

WHY VOLUNTEER?

Recently, when I mentioned to a friend that I would be volunteering at an endurance ride, I was asked, “Why?”  My short answer was, “it’s fun”, but I found myself further pondering the question. After all, it can be work–long hours on your feet, not the best weather conditions, porta-potties. Why, indeed…

I have volunteered now at quite a few rides across the span of about three years. Purely by coincidence, I   have almost always ended up scribing for the veterinarians. So, my first “why” answer would be–because I learn something each and every time. I find that if I simply make it known that I would love to learn all I can about caring for the horses in this demanding sport, the vets are more than willing to share. I often simply   say, “think out loud please” and the knowledge flows, you need only listen. After watching hundreds of horses during the trot-outs, I find that I can now identify the more subtle aspects of lameness, beyond the obvious head nod, just to name one item of many. I believe that the things I have learned from the veterinarians have made me better able to care for my own equine partner. And it didn’t cost a dime.

Why do people participate in this sport at all? One of the many reasons, I believe, is for the friendships and camaraderie that grow as you continue to attend rides. Like many people, I am not the best at remembering names, so it was a struggle at first to remember the names that went with the many faces (I am more likely to remember your horse, sorry.) But, by checking people in at the registration table over and over, and then completing their ride cards at the vet check ins, I have gotten to know some terrific people. The group dinners, riders’ meetings, and later gatherings have become one of the most enjoyable parts of the experience. As a volunteer, even if you are not riding at all, you can still enjoy the social elements and build relationships.

Then there was this CTR vs Endurance thing. As a newbie, the rules can be yet another stress factor added to the already unfamiliar aspects of camping out with your horse, worry over what you may have forgotten to bring along, will you get lost on the trails, will your horse behave amid the general commotion, will you be physically able to complete the ride, will your horse, the list goes on. I found that by scribing for the two different types of rides, I have become much more familiar with the differences and more comfortable with the more detailed aspects of CTR–one less thing to worry about, more energy to direct toward what really matters, my horse.

I might also mention that volunteers are usually treated like royalty. There is no question at all as to the need for and the appreciate of the volunteers. Putting on a successful ride truly takes a village. (And you get a free dinner and, often, a t-shirt.)

If you are just starting out in this sport, there is no better way to learn the ins and outs than by volunteering at a ride or two, or two dozen. The need will always be there. If, like myself, you are recovering from health issues that keep you from competing, the volunteering keeps you “in the loop” and, I find, keeps you motivated. I leave each ride newly inspired by the terrific horse and rider partnerships that I have observed and newly committed to growing a wonderful relationship with my own horse as we pursue this exciting sport.

So, lots of good reasons “why”. I for one will keep right on volunteering on a regular basis. I hope you will join me. – Vickie Griffis

Lindsay Campbell shares with us her adventures in Idaho at the PFHA National Championships:

The journey began in February 2016 when a veterinarian at a ride in Florida approached me to ask if I thought PFHA (Paso Fino Horse Association) might be interested in holding its own 50 mile endurance ride in conjunction with the AHA (Arabian Horse Association) Distance National Championships to be held in the fall of 2017 “somewhere out West”.

 The Appaloosa Horse Club was planning to participate with AHA for the first time in the fall of 2016 (they did and it went well for all parties). I said I would bring this up at the next PFHA Recreational Rider Committee meeting. I received approval from the committee and then from the PFHA Board and Executive Director and we were on the way.

Twenty months and lots of planning later I boarded a flight to Denver at the Jacksonville International Airport. I like  direct flights and this was a good one. We left at 1:15 PM EDT and arrived in Denver at 3:15 PM MDT. Sunny weather the whole way and I enjoyed some great views as we traveled from the 90 degree weather with 90% humidity in the South to the 50 degree 20% humidity of the Intermountain West.

After collecting my luggage (no small feat since I had to pack an extra suitcase in which to fit all my WARM riding gear) I made it to the blustery pick up area for a ride to the hotel a few miles away in Aurora. The munchkin who picked me up spoke once the whole trip: “Yes, you have green suitcases.” Right ho, good observation, I am impressed.

Got to the hotel. They were still laying new carpet outside my room and apologized profusely. “It will be a couple of hours before you can get into your room.” I got on the phone to my AHA contact and she said “If they don’t get you set up and treat you right you let me know; we give them a lot of business.” As soon as I hung up I was handed a $50, yes, $50, voucher for the hotel dining room. Sweet, as our SEDRA president would say. After a wonderful dinner, including wine and a dessert (had just enough money in the voucher to give the waitress a $7 tip; I could get used to this) I was escorted to my room. After learning that the friend I was hitching a ride with to ride camp wanted to leave at 5 AM the next day I jumped in the shower and went to bed.

I was up at 4 AM and downstairs at 5 AM. My body was still on EDT so this was not bad since it thought it was 6 AM and 7AM. Stopped at the desk and was told “You don’t owe anything.” Yes!

We stopped for coffee and breakfast near the Wyoming border and then we boogied, stopping only to fuel and to eat lunch. Saw some awesome mountains and endless plains. I had driven the route once before, in 1996, but it was still splendid. Especially around Ogden, UT. I LOVE the Wasatch Mountains!

We arrived at Steph Teeter’s place around 7 PM. Let me tell you, I have ridden in and been in some desolate territory having lived in Nevada for three years, but this place was in the back of beyond, tucked up in the Owyhee Canyon Lands on the Columbia Plateau in SW Idaho. There was no cell service. They had Wi Fi so we could text and access the Internet (if we were in or just a few feet from the house), but no talking unless we used the landline at the house. One week of blessed silence from home LOL! Since there was no cell service, Steph utilized a local, very experienced ham radio club as ride communicators. They were very efficient and organized, spaced out on the trail at strategic points. I was duly impressed.

The Teeters were kind enough to put me up for the night since my friend was not arriving from Washington State until the following day. Had a great dinner and breakfast then spent the day helping the AHA personnel set up for the ride. I need to get a half Arabian/half Paso; AHA has some awesome awards! I also took a brief hike out back of ride camp, trying to acclimate to the terrain again. Steph, at one point during the day, asked me if I had ever ridden in similar terrain. When I said yes, she said “You will do fine then.” Oh, boy…. Did I mention it’s been 17 years?

My friend and her two horses arrived around 3PM and I dragged my “green suitcases” across the gravely ground to her campsite. After getting set up (to include whacking down the numerous tumbleweeds from around the truck and trailer; awful prickly things) we saddled the horses. Then I went to put on my very old Ariat All Terrains. What?! The dang soles are coming off at the toes! What the heck? These are the ONLY riding shoes I have with me! Well, it IS dry, no humidity. Guess the glue just gave up the ghost. Great timing. Chris had some silver duct tape and I used about half a roll to tape the soles to the uppers around the toe boxes. Thank goodness for caged stirrups so my pathetic shoes weren’t visible in the photographs of the ride. E-gads, these tacky SE riders…..

After admonishment from Chris, my horse’s owner, to beware “he stumbles a lot” we climbed into our respective saddles and off we went. I did not have my own saddle so told Chris to use the one Magico was used to. It seemed comfortable enough after we got the stirrups adjusted. Took about an hour ride, to include one fairly steep descent out behind camp “To get you used to riding in this stuff again”. So, ok, that wasn’t bad and Magico managed to stay on his feet. We did have a very stern talk that coming off was not an option for me and that he was going to have to pay attention and pick up his feet. I guess it worked, since other than a couple of trips over the course of the ride, he never had a real issue. The saddle was a different story. More on that later.

Friday, after I completed my duties as out timer for the 30 mile ride, we three Paso folks (Paul Latiolais and “Frank” had arrived from Oregon soon after Chris the previous day) saddled up and took our horses on a ride, heading in the opposite direction from the one Chris and I took Thursday. The rest of the day I spent helping vet horses for that day’s rides and horses doing the rides on Saturday.

At the ride meeting Friday night Steph said “Tomorrow’s ride is a championship for four breeds (Arabian, half-Arabian, Appaloosa, Paso Fino); it is not going to be easy. The fastest, less difficult loop will be the first 25 mile loop, so take care of your horses and don’t over ride or you will be in trouble on the next loop.  The second 25 mile loop, after a one hour hold, will have some significant climbs and also some sand.” Sand, check, significant climbs, not so much. And only two loops with one hold? Hmmm….

After a good night’s rest we started the 55 mile ride at 6:30 AM on Saturday. It was cool, in the high thirties, clear and dry. The full moon and Santa Rosa Mountains were to our backs as we rode across flat (mostly) mesa land toward the rising sun. It was a spectacular morning. The first loop passed by at a 7-8 MPH pace. We got to see a life flight helicopter taking off with a poor rider who came off her horse early on and had to go to a hospital in Boise. She was ok with some cracked ribs I believe. And Magico, that bad boy, PEED on some hay at a water stop (his clueless rider, me, didn’t realize what he was doing until too late) and earned a nasty look and comment from a top NW Region rider who shall remain nameless.

Surprisingly, the 25 mile without a break loop was pretty easy and the hour hold gave us, horses and humans, plenty of time to relax and recharge. The second loop started out much the same as the first with one climb out of camp then back on trails like the ones we rode earlier. Then we headed SW away from camp and entered some wash land. Most of the washes we traveled across, up and down, rather than following them. The one we did follow had a lot of sand.

Although some riders complained, it was NOTHING like the sand here in Florida and our horses, even though not used to it, did fine. After the sand wash we followed a gravel road a while then turned off and headed into the hills. Climbed and climbed a grade that appeared easy until we turned and looked over our shoulders at the road we had just been on far below. And then we looked ahead again and saw, silhouetted against the sky, high on the crest of a hill, an Arabian horse and rider who had passed us in the sand wash. Well, that looks challenging…

We climbed on until we came to another hill with a dirt road going straight up. It was a nice wide road and no drop offs. We could feel the horses working, but it wasn’t bad. Nor was the descent on the other side. More flat terrain and then we arrived at the base of the hill where we’d seen the Arabian rider earlier. The wind was really picking up. Ok, now, I do not like the look of this. In Nevada they have switchbacks. This climb was, like the previous, straight up. It had big gravely rocks. It was a steeper incline. The road was narrower. Even worse were the nasty drop offs on both sides. Once committed there would be no turning back. Taking a deep breath Chris cued her mare forward. Magico, her half-  brother, and I followed. Up, up , up we went, winds of at least 30 MPH trying to blow us off to the right and that waiting drop off. I managed to look out to see the view twice and so wanted to get a photo but no way under those conditions. Mostly I just glued my eyes to the mare’s butt and tried not to interfere with Magico’s task. About halfway up the mare stopped. “I don’t think she can make it”. Oh, no, she WILL make it. She has no choice. NO CHOICE. Magico was nudging the mare, let’s go, and finally I told Chris, “Move it!” She did and we made it successfully to the top. Mercifully we had climbed onto another mesa and there was no descent at that point. After congratulating each on our survival we continued onward.

By this time the girth on my saddle needed tightening. Chris had to get off briefly so she kindly did that chore before getting back on her horse. Unfortunately, about a mile or so down the road, the saddle started listing to the left. No matter what I did (couldn’t get the girth any tighter) it listed. Plus, it had fenders. I dislike fenders. A lot. The seat was bigger than I am used to, more cushioning, too. Why all this didn’t bother me the first 50 miles I don’t know, but it sure did the last 5 miles.

We arrived back at camp in a total ride time of 9 hours. Middle of the pack. I was very glad to get out of the saddle. Took Magico 20 minutes to pulse, probably due to discomfort brought on by my discomfort those last 5 miles. But we got it done, all 3 of us (Paul completed a little over an hour after Chris and I). 100% for the Paso Finos! Chris and her mare got the Championship and Best Condition. And she also took home Magico’s Reserve bust and ribbon since she owns him. It was just great for me to know that those two are the awesome offspring of my stallion, Marco.

One thing which surprised me a lot regarding pulls: All but one was for metabolics, not lameness! I would have thought it would have been the reverse. Apparently, several riders did not listen to Steph and over rode the first loop. Amazing to me, on such a cool, dry day, for this to happen.

I really enjoyed this adventure and hope to travel out west again soon to do a few more rides. And to attend the next AHA/ApHC/PFHA Distance National Championships in Henryville, IN in October 2018.

A WARM WELCOME to the following new members:

Maria Morales, Maria Phillips, Lela Nielson and Patricia Stockett

Informative articles, the SEDRA rule book and ride calendar and much more are ALL available on our website

Our Facebook page offers a chat group and sales page as well as the main page where administration posts interesting articles and upcoming sanctioned rides.

Please keep in mind that our Facebook page is open to opinions, suggestions, questions, ideas, trail workdays and training events.

Positive feedback is always welcomed, negativity closely monitored.

Have an article or great ride story you want to share?  Please send to SEDRAPrez@gmail.com and I will be happy to include in the newsletter.

Happy Trails! 

Chris Littlefield, SEDRA President

 

SEDRA Mission Statement”…To educate, promote and encourage participation in equestrian competitive distance events throughout the southeastern United States…”

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