This learning event is sponsored by ARIZONA ENDURANCE RIDERS CLUB (AZERC).
Effee Conner, an experienced endurance rider, ride manager, and farrier assistant, will be presenting. She will cover the different types of hoof protection, why hoof protection is important, and the pros and cons or reasons for each type, as well as answer questions.
The first hour of the event will be dedicated to hoof protection, and it will be followed by networking time among the event participants. There will be experienced endurance riders as well as people new to the sport.
When: February 15, 2020 10:00AM – Noon (NOTE THIS IS A RE-SCHEDULED DATE!) Where: MJ Fridley’s Home, Rockin’ Horse Ranch, 5550 E Highland Rd, Cave Creek, AZ What to Bring/Wear: This event will primarily be outdoors, weather permitting, so dress accordingly. Bring a chair. If it’s raining or very cold, we will be inside.
Please RSVP, and text, call, or email for more information:
MJ Fridley 480-239-6708, firstname.lastname@example.org
Come Learn and Network with Other Endurance Riders!
On Saturday December 14, 2019, the 2020 AERC ride season opened in Arizona with the second annual Dashing Through the Trails endurance ride held at Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Goodyear. Once again the ride was managed by Effee Conner, and assisted by her daughter Brittany Cartrette. The entire extended Conner family pitched in to make this ride possible – marking trail, manning water stops, making sandwiches at the vet check, trotting horses, and everything else that goes into putting on an endurance ride.
There were some changes to the trail this year, based on rider feedback from the inaugural race in 2018. The distances were shorted (55 to a 50, and 35 to a 25 for the LD), and the LD route included longer sections with great footing and less technical areas. The 50-mile riders still had all of the technical sections from last year, though the layout of the trail was updated to include more trottable sections. Assistant RM Brittany Cartrette said the “feedback was positive, and the trail was challenging which made it fun”.
Another change for this year was the inclusion of a Ride with GPS option for riders who wanted to take advantage of turn-by-turn voice navigation to keep them on course. Although the trails were easy to follow with conventional maps, ribbons, and pie plates – one of the benefits of riding in the Regional Park system is that all turns were at permanently marked trail sign junctions – having a little extra confidence while on trail is what Ride with GPS provides. Local rider Andrea Maitland volunteered to create all the tracks by pre-riding, adding voice cues, and then re-riding all of the routes to make sure they were accurate. 50-mile rider Leona Beveridge, a self-described non-tech savvy person, stated that Ride with GPS was “spot on and easy to use. I had absolutely NO issues with the directions. I enjoyed the comments like “horse eating bench” and “mini Cougar rock ahead”. Thank you so much for all you do to help keep us riders safe on the trail with the awesome RWGPS tracks.”
The trail itself was a mixture of technical rocky terrain, some elevation gain (about 3500 feet total for the 50, and 2000′ for the LD) and stretches of good footing that mostly consisted of varying depths of desert sand. Hoof protection was a necessity due to the abrasive nature of the trail.
The changes to the LD this year made it a faster course, with all but one rider finishing in under 5 hours of ride time. 24 out of 26 completed. First place and BC went to Corina Voll riding Igor do Lucero (Nashville), with a ride time of 3:26. The turtle went to Bruce Weary riding his new mustang Buckles. It was Buckles’ first LD and they enjoyed nearly every minute of the allotted time, finishing with a ride time of 5:14.
The 50, affectionately dubbed the ‘Arizona Virginia City’ due to all of the rocks, was much more technical, and as a result the ride times were slower. About a third of the field finished well after dark, with the turtle team of Stephanie Duross, riding Hadji Halef Omar (Hadji) and Barb Clausen, riding Ashquars Dream (Ash) coming in with one minute to spare with a ride time of 11:59. This was an especially significant ride for Stephanie and Hadji, as they completed their DOUBLE Decade Team with this completion. Twenty years of riding 50-mile rides together – what an accomplishment! First place and BC in the 50 went to Susie Kramer riding A Ali Aseel (Steel), with a ride time of 6:24. The trail took its toll on a few horses, with 20 completing out of 28 starters.
There was also a Fun Ride in addition to the LD and 50. 8 riders took to the trails for the Fun Ride, and navigated the Competitive Track loop. This is a tough and challenging 10 miles, with lots of climbing and technical sections. 13-year-old Junior Marshall Brown completed his first ride on the trusty mule Queen Z (Zelda), owned by Courtney Colvin. Marshall was also sponsored by Courtney and co-sponsored by Catherine Gottschalk. Marshall had an awesome first ride and enjoyed every minute of it.
“Catherine suggested I might like endurance. She was right! It is a fun way to get in all the minutes and miles I want. It was a new experience to participate in the vet checks before and after the ride, as well as see the organization of the event. This was my first time riding a mule, too. It took me a minute to get used to the way she moved. I had to be on my toes to keep her from straightening out the curves. My favorite part of the trail was not hearing or seeing the sights and sounds of modern life, like cars, houses or construction. This made it easy to pretend I was riding in a posse from an old western movie. The several steep descents and technical twists added to the black and white scenes playing in my head.” When asked if anything interesting happened, he said, “As we rode out and spotted the first signage of the trail, a pony in our group decided she wasn’t interested in going any further. We tried various approaches of urging her along; pushing her with a horse, dismounting and shooing her and pulling her from the ground and saddle. It was slow going. At the top of a hill, she balked again. We were almost out of ideas. I decided it was my turn to have a go. I jumped down and went running after her, flailing my arms, stomping and hollering like a crazy person with a taste for lazy ponies. She finally moved on. I didn’t want to stop the momentum, so I mounted Zelda at a walk. The tenacity of the rider kept the pony going to the end…or at least until she realized the trail turned back toward the trailers!” Would he do another endurance ride in the future? “Absolutely! I’m looking forward to it!”
Not all rides go according to plan, as 50-mile rider Rebecca Roush found out when she became separated from her horse Tequila early in the ride and spent several hours apart before being reunited. The reason for the wayward horse and rider team? Not choosing the right time or place to pee! Rebecca said she “got off my horse in a little wash so as to not be seen peeing. My horse was very excited to catch the LD riders she saw ahead. I had a hold of her the whole time until I didn’t. I was one handed pulling up my chonies when she decided to hop straight up the side of the switchback much to my chagrin. My choice was to be pulled along with her while falling and possibly being dragged as she was now at least 2 feet above me or to let go. I chose to let go.” Tequila took of after the horses in front of her, but ended up deeper into the desert and not on any of the ride routes. Fortunately for Tequila, Rebecca had a GPS SPOT device on her, which allowed Rebecca to track her horse’s location remotely. Both horse and rider were safe and uninjured throughout the ordeal. The moral of the story? Choose your potty break spots wisely!
Overall this was a fantastic ride weekend and a well-run event. The Conners put their hearts and souls into the ride, and their dedication showed throughout the weekend. If you are looking for a technically challenging course that will test you and your horse (possibly in the dark!), then come out next year to Dashing Through the Trails!
Our next Arizona ride is the Tonto Twist 50 on January 18th, out in Apache Junction and managed by Lancette Koerner. It is Arizona’s only stand-alone 50 (no LD option), and is a great ride to test yourself by moving up in distance. Vet checks are all in-camp, the trail is challenging yet fun, and lots of volunteers to help you succeed. And bonus for this year, the $115 ride entry fee will be covered for ALL riders attempting their first 50! See you at the Twist!
Thank you to Andrea Maitland for compiling this write-up.
At the November clinic, we discussed offering the opportunity for members to purchase club t-shirts. The shirts will be a great way to promote the club and the sport of endurance, as well as making it easy for ride attendees to identify volunteers and other club members.
Shirt prices will range from $24 down to $16, depending on how many orders we receive — the more people who order, the lower the price will be.
If you would like to order a club shirt, please complete the attached AZERC Shirt Order Form and submit it to Lancette by December 20th. You may print and mail, scan and email, or take a photo and email or text the form, whatever works best for you. The contact email is on the order form; please contact us if you need a mailing address or phone number for alternate order submission.
Once we have the exact number of shirts to be ordered, we will calculate the price and send a request for payment. Our club is completely free to join, so we do not have
funds available to purchase shirts without your payment in advance. All payments will need to be received by December 31, 2019.
If you miss out on this batch of orders, we will place additional orders in the future (we need a minimum of 12 shirts ordered to submit an order).
The shirts are “Sportek Challenger Colorblock Tees.” The body of the shirt is heather grey, with red side color blocks. The AZERC club logo will be printed on the left chest. The women’s cut is contoured cut and v-neck; men’s is crew neck and not contoured. Ellen is pictured above in the women’s cut, size small. Please see the order form for additional information on the shirt specifics.
Thank you to all of the attendees of the clinic this past Sunday, covering the topics of the AERC vet card, vetting parameters, and vetting procedures, and an intro to volunteering at rides.
We had 28 people attend, and it was great to see a mix of both long-time Arizona endurance riders, as well as new riders, and a number of folks interested in the volunteering portion of the clinic and how to get involved in volunteering at rides.
Thank you to Dr Debra Freiberg for presenting on the topic of vetting. She gave a step-by-step walk-through of the AERC vet card, what the vets are checking for at each point, the basic parameters of what those points should be, and a demonstration of vetting procedures. It was a valuable talk for both new and experienced riders to attend, and a subject that there’s always something to be learned!
A couple of key points from Dr Deb:
Knowing your horse’s “normal.” What is their resting pulse? Get to know their gut sounds. Put your hands on their muscles and feel what kind of muscle tone they have.
Practice vetting at home! Some horses object to having their mouth handled…get them used to this ahead of time. The stethoscope can feel weird to them initially. They should be able to have their tail and hind end safely handled. Teach them to trot-out and practice it frequently…a horse that trots out smartly with you at their shoulder presents the nicest, easiest-to-see picture for the vets.
The segment wrapped up with a chance for folks to take the pulse on either of the two demo horses, a good chance to practice for anyone who might have some interest in volunteering as a pulse-taker at a ride, and the perfect segue into the second segment, volunteering at rides, presented by Lancette Koerner.
Having volunteers at a ride is an absolutely critical part of making rides happen. However, ride managers often hear, “I would like to volunteer, but I don’t know what I’m doing.” To that end, one of the goals of AzERC is to provide volunteer training, both in giving a more in-depth explanation of what kinds of volunteer positions are often needed at a ride, and in some cases, such as pulse-taking, offering hands-on, ahead-of-time training and practice days.
If you’re interested in participating in any upcoming volunteer training sessions, or being involved in volunteering at rides, contact us to be put in touch with our Volunteer Committee Chair.
The 2019 AERC ride season wraps up on Nov 30, and Dec 1 is the start of the 2020 season. Arizona has a ride already on the calendar every month between December and April; check out our Upcoming Events page for more information if you’re interested in riding, volunteering at, or attending any of these rides.
Join AZERC in conjunction with the Wild Rose Horse Obstacle Contests in welcoming honorary “Zonie” Bob Long, the winner of the 2019 Mongol Derby — the world’s longest horse race. Have a chance to hear his story and get your questions about the Mongol Derby answered.
The next AZERC clinic/educational event is on the books: Join us for a two-part clinic on Sunday, November 24, from 1:00pm-3:30pm.
Part One of the clinic, with Dr Debra Freiberg, will go through the AERC vet card, the parameters that the veterinarians are examining on the horses, and a hands-on demonstration of an AERC vet check.
Part Two of the clinic, with Lancette Koerner, will provide an in-depth look at volunteering at endurance rides — what the typical volunteer positions are, detailed explanations of them and what is entailed, and then more hands-on demonstrations such as how to take the horse’s pulse.
If you’re interested in joining us for this no-cost clinic, please EMAIL Lancette at email@example.com with your RSVP.
The clinic segment will run until 3:30, and we will have refreshments provided afterwards for anyone who would like to stick around and socialize.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEARNING ABOUT ENDURANCE RIDING AND WANT TO MEET OTHERS NEW TO THE SPORT OR NETWORK WITH EXPERIENCED ENDURANCE RIDERS, COME JOIN US AT THE ENDURANCE 101 CLINIC!
Endurance 101 is a comprehensive presentation developed by AERC to be used by local endurance clubs for the purpose of educating members and attracting new riders to the sport of endurance riding. This clinic is sponsored by ARIZONA ENDURANCE RIDERS CLUB (AZERC).
When: September 28, 2019 9:00AM – Noon
Where: MJ Fridley’s Home, Rockin’ Horse Ranch, 5550 E Highland Rd, Cave Creek
What to Bring/Wear: This event will primarily be indoors although we will go outside briefly. We will NOT be riding.
Please RSVP to, and text or call for more information: