Monday, July 15, 2024

The Making of a Tevis Horse: An Exclusive Interview with Layne and Atlas - Full Article

July 11 2024
by Tamara Baysinger

As the clock to Tevis 2024 ticks down, anticipation in the endurance world is ticking up. Around the globe, bucket-listers and veterans alike are caught up in the dream.

Here at Sweaty Equestrian headquarters, my days are abuzz with preparations, from getting chili in the freezer, to sunscreen in my saddlebags, to my nerves under control. Amid the hustle, I set aside time to focus on the epicenter of it all: the horse.

What does it take to get a good prospect to the starting line of the famous (infamous?) Western States 100 Mile Trail Ride?

I sat down with Atlas and his owner, Layne Lewis, to ask...

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Sunday, July 07, 2024

The Pony Express (Re)Rides Again! - Full Article

This annual event follows the famous trail between Missouri and California on the same 10-day schedule as navigated by the original riders.

By: Kim Izzo | June 26, 2024

The Pony Express is entrenched in the lore of the American West, yet it only existed for 18 months between 1860-1861. The horses and riders who travelled the mail route from Missouri to California – some 1,800 miles in ten days or less – remain the stuff of legends. But the Pony Express was cut short by the arrival of the telegram machine which connected the states more efficiently in order to spread news, especially during the Civil War era.

Today, there is a group of passionate horsemen and women, called re-riders, who mount up and reenact the same route through the original eight states...

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Saturday, June 29, 2024

Confessions of a Tevis Volunteer (Or: Why I Keep Coming Back) Blog - Full Story

August 9, 2014
By Elizabeth Speth

The annual Western States Trail Ride, popularly called the Tevis Cup, is a grueling 24-hour horseback ride over 100 miles of exceptionally beautiful and punishing terrain. Sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference, it is a horse-centric event, designed around the safety and well-being of the animal.

It’s an amateur race against the clock, no cash prizes, only a coveted buckle. Started in 1955, it is considered the founding event in endurance racing, and is still known as the most difficult. Over the years, it has evolved into something that requires nearly a thousand people to make sure up to 200 riders and their horses make the journey safely.

The psychology of the riders — why would they do such a thing? — is the subject of another blog. They are a breed apart. The training of their magnificent steeds for such a trial is also another discussion entirely.

All I’m qualified to address is the volunteerism aspect of this. For a large handful of years — I’m fuzzy on the exact number out of sheer fatigue — my husband and I have braved miles of rocky, narrow roads to report for duty in the early afternoon at the rugged Francisco’s outpost, at Mile 86. We remain there until the pre-dawn hours of the morning, sometimes pulling out as the sky begins to lighten. This is where we put the exhausted horses and riders back together, hydrate, refresh and encourage them, and send them on to the last part of their journey. This is where we marvel at the freshness of the front-runners, who breeze in and out and look as though they are in the middle of a leisurely ten-mile trail ride. All of them have come from the high peaks near Lake Tahoe, and will end their journey in Auburn, CA, if they make it that far...

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Thursday, June 27, 2024

Mongolia Trek on Horseback for Charity - Full Article

By Merri Melde - June 19, 2024

Seventeen intrepid riders from five foreign countries gathered in Ulaanbataar for the ultimate horse riding trek: 3,600 kilometers (just over 2,200 miles) across Mongolia in 84 days. The idea, developed by Julie Veloo, combined ultimate adventure with fundraising for the Veloo Foundation, serving underprivileged people in Mongolia. The trek for horse and riders across Mongolia began at the end of April, 2022.

Gobi Gallop

Just 12 years ago, however, Veloo had never been astride a horse. She tried it for the first time at age 50 when she and her husband, Chelvan Veloo, first moved to Mongolia.

“I was already learning the language,” says Julie. “I realized if I was going to understand this culture and history, I was going to have to sit on a horse. I thought, ‘If these kids can do it, how hard can it be?’ Twenty-however-many times of falling off later—it can be hard! But I was determined to ride.”

Her persistence paid off, and by 2013, she and a group of six friends rode 707 kilometers for fun across the Gobi Desert over nine days, in what officially became known as the inaugural Gobi Gallop...

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Sunday, June 02, 2024

Forage-Focused Diets for Sport Horses - Full Article

May 10, 2024
Posted by Madeline Boast, MSc
Regularly monitor your horse’s condition and workload to ensure his energy requirements are being met with a forage-focused diet this show season.

Q. My 7-year-old Thoroughbred has recently started training as an event horse. We’ve found that he does best on a forage-focused diet, but I’m worried that might not be enough as he starts his first year of competition. Should I consider changing his diet? How can I be certain his needs are being met with a forage-focused diet through the competition season?

A. Forage-focused diets are fantastic choices for many horse owners because horses have evolved to consume a fibrous diet. If a forage-focused diet is best for your Thoroughbred, there is no need to change that simply because he will be competing this year. However, there are a few steps you can take to ensure his diet supports his increased nutritional needs. The Base Diet for Horses

Typically, dry hay comprises most of a horse’s diet throughout the year. Unlike forage products such as hay cubes, hay does not come with a nutritional label...

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Thursday, May 02, 2024

Syrian Jazira maintains status as homeland for purebred Arabian horses - Full Article

Deir Ezzor – Obadah al-Sheikh

In northeastern Syria, particularly in Deir Ezzor, breeders of horses are keen to select pure Arabian horse strains, allowing only purebred stallions to mate with purebred mares under “strict” conditions, in a profession they inherited from their ancestors.

Despite the deteriorating economic and living conditions in the area, the interest in horses and their breeds remains a priority and tradition for the people of the region, especially since Syria is considered the traditional homeland for the Arabian horse.

Breeding horses is a historical legacy in the area, and breeders and local entities organize races and festivals to showcase their pure breeds, amid repeated demands for support or securing affordable fodder...

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Wednesday, May 01, 2024

The Power of Simplicity - Full Article

Blakeley Stables
March 1 2024

"Less is more"... that could be applied to a thousand different things. Whether it's salting your potatoes, or training your horse, finding the right amount can be difficult. So where can you find the sweet spot between too much and not enough?

Here are a few scenarios that can be difficult to find the perfect balance: training and conditioning, tack and feeding/nutrition just to name a few. So let's break these down a little.

Tack/ Equipment:

Endurance is a beautiful sport in that you can make it work with any kind of tack. You don't need fancy equipment or expensive gear. Whatever you have in the barn, that works for you and your horse is great! You don't have to go buy the top of the line endurance tack to be sucessful. Most our our tack came from garage sales and pre-loved...

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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Horses Spread Across North America Earlier Than Previously Thought - Full Article

26 April 2024
Patricia Salem

New research suggests a much deeper relationship between Native Americans and equines... Until recently, historians believed that horses in North America spread across the continent starting in the late 17th century, continuing for the next 100 years or so.

Horses Originated in North America

Scientists know that horses came from North America millions of years ago. Equus simplicidens — also known as the Hagerman horse, Hagerman zebra and American zebra — was the earliest Equus genus, found across what is today the United States. Similar to the modern-day horse in appearance, it eventually spread around the world.

Whilst Equus simplicidens evolved further to become the horse breeds we know now, it actually died out in North America. It became extinct along with most of the continent’s large mammals approximately 10,000 years ago, but the cause still remains a mystery...

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Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Expert Horse Tips and Essential Gear for Trail Riding with Jodie Morton of Green, Gold and Blues

Standlee Forage podcast - Listen

New Beyond the Barn Podcast Episode

Episode 78: Expert Horse Tips and Essential Gear for Trail Riding with Jodie Morton of Green, Gold and Blues On this part two episode, co-host Katy Starr continues her conversation with long distance trail rider, Jodie Morton of Green, Gold and Blues about:

• One item that she will never, EVER leave home without for a trail ride
• Her process for planning a safe and successful trail ride on big trails
• A brilliant strategy she uses with her horse Thelma, to make elevation gains the most efficient

Riding horses cross country has taught her she can do things she never thought were possible and just how much goodness exists in the world when you ride in a saddle. Join us for some vital trail riding tips before you hit the trail for your next horseback adventure.


Thursday, March 14, 2024

Long Rider Gillian Larson’s Spirit of Adventure - Full Story

By: Kim Izzo | March 12, 2024

If you’ve ever dismounted after a long day in the saddle and cracked open a cold one, maybe a certain iconic ad campaign came to mind. In the advertising world it’s all about creating a memorable moment to associate with a product and when it comes to beer and horses one brand has turned the combo into event television – Budweiser Clydesdales we’re looking at you.

A bottle and a can of beer.Now there’s a new draft in town: 805 Beer from Firestone Walker Brewing Company. The brand is also seeking must-watch status with its latest campaign released on International Women’s Day featuring a diverse cast of women athletes and creators, which Firestone Walker has dubbed “Authenticos.”

One of the women is American thru-rider Gillian Larson, who became the first solo thru-rider of the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as the youngest and only woman, when she completed it in 2014...

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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Expeditions team retraces steps of Snowshoe Thompson's mail route in 1856 - Full Story

Expeditions team retraces steps of pioneer mailman's route in 1856

Lia Carotta
Mar 09, 2024

The Auburn State Theatre invites the public to come meet the History Expeditions Team – comprised of local endurance athletes – as they share stories and video of their newest adventure and participate in a Q&A at 7 p.m. Friday, March 15, at the Odd Fellows Lodge #7 in Auburn, 1226-1/2 Lincoln Way.
To honor John “Snowshoe” Thompson, pioneering mailman of the Sierra, the History Expeditions Team was scheduled to set out March 6 on a never-before-attempted 100-mile trek across the Sierra Nevada mountains from Placerville to Genoa, Nevada. This route retraces Thompson’s inaugural 1856 mail route, where the legendary mailman weathered huge snowdrifts on massive 25-pound skis, carrying his 100-pound load of mail and ore.

This event is a fundraiser for the History Expedition's publication of TEVIS - The Places We Ride - Celebrating Seven Decades of American Endurance Riding History.

History Expeditions co-founders Bob Crowley and Tim Twietmeyer, veteran ultra-distance trail runners and amateur historians, accompanied by Jennifer Hemmen, a versatile ultra-distance and adventure athlete; Elke Reimer, a veteran ultra-distance runner, backpacker and trail steward; and Hal Hall, an accomplished endurance equestrian rider and historian, will trek and ski the rugged Sierra terrain, following Thompson’s mail route...

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Friday, March 01, 2024

On the Road: Walking Coast to Coast With 3 Mustangs - Full Article

Stan Hough,
Feb 22, 2024

When I caught up with Jake Harvath on a cold February night, he was in Bentonville, Arkansas, having just spent a long day navigating about 20 miles in the saddle on unfamiliar county roads, bike trails, highways and main streets far from his Utah home.

And he had just finished with what is essentially the golden rule for horsemen: Horse care comes first; his needs second. It’s likely that credo will never be more important given Harvath’s present circumstances.

In September, he gathered his small string of three adopted mustangs, filled his pack saddles and set out on a 7,200-mile, 30-state journey that will take him from Utah to New Jersey to California and then back to his home in Heber City, Utah.

He’s named it the “Year of the Mustang” and he has using YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to chronicle the journey, posting updates and videos once a week.

Harvath’s improbable attempt to traverse the country on horseback was designed to raise awareness of the plight of America’s wild horses, mustangs who are struggling to keep their place and relevance in the West, while some 60,000-plus sit in federal holding pens as part of a flaring controversy that has no end in sight...

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Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Forgotten Story Of The Horse That Conquered A 20,000 Mile Trek - Full Article

by Stacey Lorton | Mar 27, 2018

In a story that has been lost to history, a group of horseback riders embarked on a 20,000 mile trip across the United States in 1912, searching for fame and money. A horse named Pinto would turn this “ride of the century” into a reality.

George Beck, a part-time Washington logger, and his three closest companions decided to embark on this huge trek after Beck convinced the others that there was more money to be earned in the saddle than at the jobs they possessed at the time. Taking the group name of Overland Westerners, the foursome began their adventure… but it did not go as planned.

“With five horses and a 60-pound, one-year old Gordon Setter and Newfoundland named Nip, the enthusiastic quartet began their journey on May 1, 1912 from Shelton. Their first stop was Olympia, Washington 18 miles away where Governor Marion E. Hay awaited. For the next three years averaging 22 miles a day, these travelers would stop at each of the 48 state capitals in the United States, rendezvous with the state’s governor or his surrogate, and endure numerous disappointments and hardships including hunger, theft, weather extremes, and rugged trails. Moreover, financial woes came when The Westerner folded before the trip was half completed leaving them bereft of corporate sponsorship.” – Chuck Rand...

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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

How to Overcome Your Fear of Trail Riding Alone: Part 1 - Full Article

January 30, 2024
by Tamara Baysinger

Reader Sara asks: Can you talk more about getting over fear? I want to try endurance riding but I work weekends, so I’d have to do most of my training rides by myself during the week. The problem is that I’m terrified of trail riding alone!

I hear you, Sara. As you know, I had quite a journey through fear myself after a bad wreck. Riding horses is inherently risky, and being alone does make it harder to get out of a sticky situation. Respecting your fear is prudent, but it needn’t be paralyzing.

As I gathered my thoughts about dealing with fear, I found myself putting possible solutions into two buckets: practical strategies and psychological strategies. Step one is to identify which of these should be your focus.

This article will help you step back to better understand your experience of fear. Additional posts in this series cover practical and psychological strategies for overcoming your fear of riding alone. Finally, we’ll consider some safety gear that goes way beyond helmets...

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Monday, January 29, 2024

Horsemanship Around the World: Exploration with the Argentinian Gauchos - Full Story

By Gillian Warner on Jan 26, 2024

As I stood on top of the cliff, overlooking the Gatorade blue water of Lago San Martín, it felt like my horse and I had truly found the end of the world. And it wasn’t far off, with Patagonia edging its way close to that title.

As my horse caught his breath, I took a moment to soak in the postcard beauty of the landscape before turning back to the terrain so intensely unique to the Andes to continue on our exploration.

Pursuing this trip wasn’t for the faint of heart, consisting of 15 hours of flying to get to Buenos Aires, another 3 hours to arrive in El Calafate, and then a 5 hour drive to the beautiful Estancia El Condor, where our ride began. While daunting, I was surrounded by a group of explorers who were well equipped to handle anything that came our way — adventurer extraordinaire Erik Cooper, Argentinian gauchos Andy and Morita, and a diverse group of incredibly capable and skilled horsemen and women from around the world as crazy as I am to pursue something this wild...

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

From 0 to 160km: Training Horses for Endurance - Full Article

24 January 2024
Words by Stacey Stearns

Get your horse ready for long-distance competition...

Picture a ribbon of trail unfolding in front of your horse’s perked ears. You are rhythmically trotting down the trail, around the bend, and then cresting the next hill. This is Endurance riding, an equestrian discipline that covers long distances on trails while emphasizing horse welfare. Horses enjoy the trails and sport as much as the riders.

Endurance athletes have unparalleled bonds with their horses. Countless hours together in training and competition forge strong bonds. Years of work lead to that moment on the trail, and horses’ fitness and nutrition are carefully managed to achieve and maintain peak condition.

FEI offers multiple levels of Endurance competitions with distances ranging from 100km to 160km. A gradual qualification process over many years leads to each successive distance, helping the horse go from zero to 160km...

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Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Hardy Horse: How Horses Handle Winter - Full Article

December 21, 2021
Posted by Heather Smith Thomas

From growing a thick winter coat to producing heat as they digest forage, here’s how horses are inherently designed to cope with cold weather.

How horses are inherently designed to cope with cold weather.

After a ride across the mountain to check my horses on winter pasture, the sun had set and the temperature was dropping toward zero. I didn’t want to leave my mare wet and chilling; she needed her coat dry and fluffy for it to be effective insulation. My fingers were stiff with cold, but I had to rub her sweaty long hair dry with towels and turn her out in her pen before I could go indoors and soak up the welcome heat of a wood stove.

Our horses handle winter much better than we do, and my ranch horses in Idaho have managed nicely outdoors, even at 40 below zero. They have several unique ways to stay comfortable in severe weather and do well if allowed to adapt to colder temperatures gradually.

Winter Hair Coat

As days get shorter and nights become cooler, horses grow a new, longer hair coat. These winter hairs stand up, trapping tiny air pockets between them. The effect is like that of a thick, down-filled comforter, with tremendous insulating quality...

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Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Ride of Passage Podcast

NPR Podcast Ride of Passage - Listen

From Michigan radio, it's a podcast about a true American adventure story about one young man's solo ride across the country on horseback.

Twenty years ago, a young man from Michigan set out to do something no one had done before. Matt Parker rode across the country on a horse. The horse was named Smokey, and the two of them used a system of trails known as the American Discovery Trail. That journey is the subject of the Michigan Radio podcast Ride Of Passage.

Listen to the podcast:

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

The Best Next Step - Full Story

January 2 2024
by Tamara Baysinger

I think I’ve finally figured it out. How to approach 2024, I mean.

My usual proclivity for outcome-based goal-setting just didn’t sit right this New Year.

Get to 12 endurance rides, enter a 100 late in the season, blah blah blah.

Of course, I’d love to do those things…but I’d have loved to do them last year, and the year before that, and all the years going back to 2015, which was the last time it actually happened.

Interestingly, all these years of not getting far in endurance haven’t kept me from going places with the horses. I’ve trained and learned, hacked and explored, and it was pleasant. It was fun. It meant something.

Very slowly, as I learned to look past what should have been and rest in what is, it dawned on me that I enjoy those things, too — in and of themselves, completely disconnected from the endurance trail.

Perhaps I have finally arrived at a place where I can let go of endurance as the primary goal...

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