President/Treasurer: Lancette Koerner
Vice President/Secretary: Mary Jane Fridley
Webmaster/Marketing: Ashley Wingert
Mentorship: Andrea Maitland
I was 5 years old when I rode a horse for the first time. From that moment on, I was horse crazy. As a third grader, I would save my lunch money so I could rent a horse for $1.25 an hour at Mr Benson’s stable. The days I showed up without money, good ole Mr Benson would let me pick up “Road apples” in exchange for riding. As a child I never had any type of riding lessons, I was simply filled with passion and love for horses. Now, I am a perpetual student always seeking knowledge to become the partner my horses deserve.
In 1988, at 26 years old, my childhood dream of owning a horse came true thanks to my husband, Steve. While working at China Lake Naval Weapons Center in Ridgecrest, California he heard the BLM was selling wild mustangs for $125.00. He thought this would be a great project for our young family. He had no idea he was opening Pandora’s box. The 9 month old colt I picked out was a beautiful blood bay with a big attitide. We called him Nimbus. I raised and trained him with the help of many folks along the way. It was my good fortune to meet local endurance rider and trainer Callie Thornburgh-Brown, she told me of her experience riding Tevis as a young girl. I had never heard of Tevis or Endurance before but I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do. And so my Endurance journey began. I read every book about endurance I could get my hands on. In the book Go the Distance author Nancy Loving DVM, recommended doing LSD (Long Slow Distance) so that is where I started. However, I now realize my understanding of Long Slow Distance was not slow at all.
We moved to Mesa, Arizona in 1994 and I continued training for the seemingly elusive Endurance ride. Finally, in 1996, I rode the 25 at Man Against Horse. I had the time of my life. I admired the 50 mile riders at Man Against Horse and I desperatley wanted one of those long sleeve “No Wimp ” T-shirts that were awarded to 50 mile riders only. However, I could not imagine actually riding 50 miles. Twenty-five miles on horseback is a long way and anything more seemed ridiculous. I rode the 25 again in 1997. Bruce Weary congratulated me for a nice finish and suggested I ride the 50 next time. I thought about it and realized 25 miles did not seem as far as it did a year ago. I loved being out all day with my horse enjoying the beauty of the land with like-minded people so I decided to give it a try. In 1998 Nimbus and I finished our first 50, Cinder Lakes, and what a ride it was. Each time I look at the handmade mug I received I am right back at that day, covered in cinder dust grinning from ear to ear.
I prefer 50’s and multi-day rides, but I appreciate every distance and have ridden them all, Intro, Limited Distance, a 65, 75 and a couple 100’s. I have completed the Big Horn 100 and finished 57 miles of Tevis before being pulled for overtime. I intend to get back to Tevis in 2022. The Endurance achievement I am most proud of is completing 5 days of 50 miles a day at Bryce Canyon and Mt Carmel. I have been a member of AERC since 1996 and I am now 30 miles away from receiving my 5000 Endurance mile patch. With a busy career in accounting and raising a family it has taken me a long time to reach this goal. Ten years ago Steve, at 60 years young, decided to join me in Endurance riding and now our granddaughter Hailey is also riding Endurance. This is a whole new wonderful adventure I am enjoying in my retirement.
Over the years, many endurance rides in our area disappeared. Traveling 7 hours or more to participate in an Endurance ride was common. I had a strong desire to help bring back some of the lost rides to our area so in 2010 I was part of the management team of the AHAA Halloween ride at McDowell Mountain Park. In 2011 we changed the name to Lead Follow or Get Out of My Way at McDowell and in 2013 we added a second ride at Bumble Bee Ranch. It was a wonderful experience. I had a long time dream of hosting a ride in the Bulldog Canyon area where I did most of my conditioning. Finally a new portion of the Maricopa trail that linked the canyon to Usery Park made a ride possible. In 2018 with the help of Ellen Hickey, Wendy Letteer and many wonderful volunteers the Tonto Twist 50 was born. I hope to continue managing this ride for years to come.
I love every aspect of Endurance whether I am managing, riding, crewing or volunteering. With the formation of The Arizona Endurance Riders Club, Inc. it is my desire to help others get started and continue in the amazing sport of endurance. To bring riders and volunteers together to teach, support and inspire each other.
Mary Jane Fridley
Cave Creek, AZ
I was born with a love for horses and started riding lessons when I was eight or nine years old. Through most of my youth, I showed, trained, and took care of horses at a nearby stable. I bought my first “very-own” horse after I was out of college. I had grown up riding “big horses” suitable for jumping and dressage, but once I rode an Arab, there was no other breed for me.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, I was living in Alberta and fell in love with cross country trail-riding. I had my first introduction to Endurance in 1990, however, a busy career and raising a family did not leave time to pursue the sport until twenty-plus years later. In 2012, I purchased a seven year-old green-broke Arab with the intention of training and conditioning him for Endurance and realized that dream in 2014. Since then, I have accumulated almost 3,000 endurance miles, including two Tevis buckles.
I have been retired since 2019. Prior to that, I spent 29 years in Supply Chain and Manufacturing management, followed by a thirteen year career in residential real estate. The skills I honed in my career were strategic planning and goal setting, and developing and mentoring others. I plan to put these skills to use in helping form and develop a premier endurance club in Arizona.
I started riding lessons when I was 7 years old, and got my first pony when I was 11. She and I grew up together, showing in a range of disciplines within the Pony of the Americas Club breed shows for a number of years before discovering the world of competitive trail riding, and from there, endurance riding.
I’ve been involved with endurance since 2004, and much of my endurance career has been spent “catch riding” other rider’s spare horses, which has given me a wide range of different experiences within the sport, and an appreciation for the supportive nature of the endurance community.
For the past nine years in my “day job,” I have been involved in the communications, customer service, social media management, and marketing for a small, privately-owned, high-tech horse product manufacturing company. This job has me working directly within the endurance community, in addition to a larger equine market, and I plan to apply the same social media management and marketing skills used in my job to helping promote and build the AZERC, and to serve as the club webmaster.
Like many others, I had the ‘horse crazy’ gene and grew up riding school horses and have owned my own for almost 20 years. I dabbled in dressage and hunter/jumper, but never found ‘my tribe’ until I rode in my first endurance ride in 2014 – and I was hooked! I currently have 3 endurance mustangs, two of which have completed 100-mile rides and an up-and-coming youngster who is currently doing 50s. I love to share this sport with others, and my string of ‘stangs has taken 25 different riders to completions, including 10 first time riders, 7 first time 50-mile riders, and 3 Juniors.
I currently work in the financial sector as a senior program manager, and previous jobs have included call center management, zookeeper, and veterinary technician. I am an avid herpetoculturist and have a large collection of pythons that I maintain and breed. I am thrilled to be part of the Arizona Endurance Riders Club as the Director of Mentorship.