Thursday, August 30, 2012

J O I S E de vivre

Thursday August 30 2012

He defines the exultation of spirit and the enjoyment of life.

♥ Jose!

[slide show here]

Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012 World Endurance Championship

Saturday August 25 2012

It was epic. Not just the race, but the weather, the horses, seeing dear friends from around the world that I haven't seen for a while.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

Before the start: USA's Valerie Kanavy (previous 2-time World Endurance Champion) and Reach for the Gold. They finished 20th.

Watch out for photojournalist extraordinaire, and crazy driver, Brazilian Cidinha.

Spain's Nobby getting doused at one of the vet checks.

Water crossing on trail.

A friend Miguel from Argentina. He rode a beautiful horse! But he didn't finish.

Maria Alvarez dousing Nobby while cantering through a crew point. Riders don't slow down a bit, they grab water bottles from their crews, pour it on their horses and toss the water bottles down, never missing a hoofbeat. Nobby and Maria are the previous double World and European Endurance Champions. No matter what team you supported, you probably also rooted for Maria and Nobby. They finished 4th this ride, but I am quite sure they got the biggest cheers of everybody, all day.

I believe these are Omani riders. Oman got the team bronze medal.

Mine and the Raven's friend, Alexandra Toft. Somewhere I have a picture of the two of them when we had breakfast Friday morning. Alexandra finished 51st - she was caught out in the big storm that stopped the ride.

Another friend Yvonne Ekelund from Sweden. She finished 44th.

Three of the three Portuguese riders finished. This is 14-year-old (yes! 14!!) Joao Maria Moura. He finished 47th. 

I don't know where these 2 gentlemen are from, but they seemed to be having fun every time I saw them during the day!

One of those quick British heavy rain storms that dump for 2 minutes and move on.

Steph's friend, the King of Malaysia. He finished 38th - his first World Endurance Championship completion!

Valerie Kanavy and a Malaysian rider going out on the 5th loop.

This is Japan's Kyoko Fukumori - that's her up top also. This gal had the biggest smile on her face all day! Her horse looked great all day but was pulled at vet gate 4, at the re-check. She STILL had the biggest smile on her face. She was so happy just to be there participating.

USA's John Crandell and Heraldic. It was a big surprise and blow when he was eliminated at the 5th vet gate.

USA's Riverwatch, being trotted out by Heather Reynolds' sister. Heather and Riverwatch finished 36th.

This is the storm that ended the ride about 6 PM. Huge deluge, big wind, and wicked lightning. Riders got whatever placing they were in at the time - those unfortunate enough to be caught out on course had to carefully make their way back; those fortunate enough to be in a vet gate when it hit did not go out again. As long as the horses passed their last vet check, it was a finish for them. Luckily nobody got hurt in the storm! 

Tragic news not regarding the weather: on the first loop, Netherlands' Donna Oudshoorn's Karrihm fell and broke a shoulder and had to be put down. That's Donna and Karrimh on the left before the start. RIP, Karrimh.

Waaaaay many more photos are at

There will be more to come, stories and videos! Now we're on our way home!

Friday, August 24, 2012

World Endurance Championship Vet In

Friday August 24 2012

A few photos from vet in day at the World Endurance Championship at Euston Park in Great Britain.

A future Uruguayan endurance rider!

Trotting out for the vets.

A friend Miguel, riding for Argentina

The incomparable Nobby! of Spain. That's Jaume with him, Maria Alvarez' husband. Jaume will be riding also (on another horse). That's Nobby up top, too, trotting out for the Spanish coach and vet.

USA's Heather Reynolds (right) and her sister. Heather will be riding Riverwatch.

Sad news for the US team: early on Friday, it was decided that Becky Hart and No Repeat would not participate, and instead, alternate Meg Sleeper and Syrocco Reveille would in her place. At the afternoon vet in, Nicki Meuten's Not Tonight did not pass the vet check because of lameness. Due to FEI rules, it was too late for Becky and Pete to try and vet in. So the US goes with 5 riders instead of six.

It looks to rain at times tomorrow and rain hard... should make the course tough. Will be an interesting ride, with over 150 horses starting, to say the least!

Lots more pictures, and you can follow the race more or less live by tweets here:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday at the WEC

Thursday August 23 2012

We're on the grounds of the World Endurance Championship in England: Euston Park, near Newmarket, homeland of English Thoroughbred racing. The USA Team is staying on the grounds of Shadwell stud owned by Shaikh Hamdan. Spectacular place. The team looks happy and relaxed and the horses look great!

Tonight was the Opening Ceremonies - dancers, fire, fireworks, and dancing horses! The best part about this whole thing is reuniting with friends from around the world that I've gotten to spend time with over the years and whom I love dearly.

Here are a few shots from the day. Vetting in is tomorrow, and the race is Saturday so… more to come!

Up top is USA's Becky Hart and No Repeat.

This is USA's John Crandell's Heraldic.

The horses and riders will pass by this castle/abbey on two of the loops.

The Opening Ceremonies!

Monday, August 20, 2012


Monday August 20 2012

Tomorrow we are off to England for the World Endurance Championship (you'll be able to follow tweets, live updates, photos and stories at the link at the bottom if you are so inclined, and Steph made a cool video of a preview of the course!)

It should be a fascinating race, with returning double World and European champions Maria Alvarez and Nobby of Spain returning, and facing 153 other riders from 38 countries (at last check), including the Prime Minister of the UAE Shaikh Mohammed and his 3 sons (who seem to win every ride they enter, unless a horse is pulled at a vet gate), and Steph's friend, the King of Malaysia. (Actually, he's back to being a Sultan now, but he is Steph's friend : ).

The USA is excited about their chances, with an astonishing cumulative endurance record, including Valerie Kanavy (World Endurance Champion in 1994 and 1998), Becky Hart (World Endurance Champion 1988, 1990, 1992), plus 8 Tevis Cup wins among Becky, Jeremy and Heather Reynolds, and John Crandell and his amazing Heraldic.

We get back from England next week at midnight drive straight to Arizona meet John climb on our horses for the 5-day Grand Canyon ride then I head to Durango to shoot possibly the most beautiful endurance ride in the world the inaugural Purgatory 60 then come back here and help Steph get ready for the 5-day Canyonlands ride which is 2 weeks later then I can breathe. (Or… perhaps we'll just collapse after England?)

This evening, before we leave, a few words come to mind:
last minute packing
Everything but the kitchen sink
what have I forgotten

Good thing The Raven is around to supervise everything! is the link to the ride, which is on Saturday, August 25, England time.

(and - top picture is only a fraction of the packed gear…)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Krusty and Sarah: Sarah's Story

Saturday August 18 2012

[*Editor's note: I gave Sarah an assignment to write about her Owyhee adventures for a story on my blog. Here it is!]

OK this is how it started out.

Last year my aunt Connie got me a riding lesson for my birthday. It was great. So I went to watch one of the lessons. I liked it, and Jill [Jill Hallin] started to teach me how to ride. I came to Idaho to ride with Connie after my 5th lesson.

Jill and Charlie her horse have taught me a lot about riding. I've even done some shows. I've gotten 3 6ths, 2 5ths. 1 4th, and even a blue ribbon. 

I came to Idaho again this year. I was a little more confident about riding. But I still was a little bit of a passenger. Krusty might not know I was there, but I gave lots of treats anyways. I also learned to drink water while I'm riding.

We practiced getting used to each other, walking and trotting. It is beautiful in the Owyhees. After we rode I helped hose off Krusty.

The second day me and Krusty were ready for the Rim Trail. It is 8 miles. I started to get a little more confident. I trotted a lot and cantered a bit, well, I thought I trotted a lot. The view was great. 
I could see Harts Creek, the Wedding Cake, and the Crocodile Back. And I could almost see the One Tree Hill. After the ride I hosed off Krusty and fed him.

The next day I slept in and didn't ride. It's hot to ride in the middle of the day.

The next day though we went to the Badlands. Finn my aunt Connie's horse was getting used to me and Krusty riding with him. [*Editor's note: Sarah says "Finn is bossy."] Badlands was 10 miles and I had my first gallop up a long road. I almost passed Finn and Connie got worried we would run home so she got in front of us to slow us down. Connie gave me a rule No Passing so I had to learn to slow Krusty down and not get so close.

Back at the barn I'm learning how to get the boots off but couldn't get them all cause Krusty wouldn't pick up some of his feet. They're really big and hard to hold. He has the biggest feet of them all.

The next day I was ready for the Hart Creek loop. I had confidence and had all my trust in Krusty. I was getting to be a rider. Hart Creek was 14 miles. The Hart Creek loop has steep in the canyon. There's this place called One Tree Hill, now it's called Sarah's Hill. It's very narrow and steep. I rode Krusty to a small pioneer village, he sure posed for the camera. There was a lot of old tools. And the creek was dry. Krusty worked so that we go the whole way. We stopped near home to let Jovy dog out. He's way too excited. He followed us back to the barn.

Again every ride I help with the equipment and hose them off. [*Editor's note: See, I even let her get Jose ready for saddling!] Give them some oats and put Krusty in the paddock.

Merri has been playing UNO at night with us. On the last day she rode Jose. She puts Hearts on him in videos. I think she loves him a lot.

We took the long Rim trail. I loved it. We were on a rocky ridge and I got off to pee, then Finn peed, Krusty and I peed at the same time. I was still holding him and then Jose peed. Then there was a lot more up and downs. I did some long trot gallops and I got to be in a video. I am getting good at slowing down from a gallop and not getting too close to other horses.

Back at the barn we take care of the horses and give them a bath.

I cried when I let Krusty go in the paddock for the last time. I almost can't breathe.

I have been doing different things all week. I taught Krusty to gallop on command. I learned to get Krusty ready and put him away. I have been riding the Owyhees hot and full of wildlife. Krusty is a gentle giant.

So a bit about Krusty, is he is loving and sweet and a giant. More, OK he is the best horse the smartest horse he is a champ. He gets along with everyone dogs, horses, or cats. He is very gentle and is a great horse for anyone to ride. Krusty has taught me so much this last week. I started out as a passenger now I'm a rider but I still have a long way to go.

Trusty Krusty thank you!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Big Bit Little Bit

Thursday August 16 2012

Connie brought her 9-year-old niece out to Owyhee to hang out and ride for a week. When Sarah came out with her mom last year, she'd been on a horse only 5 times. She's been taking riding lessons in Washington for only 1 year. 

But this is where you really learn to RIDE.

21-year-old Trusty Krusty, who's been around the world as an endurance horse (including the Tevis trail, France, and the UAE), is the steed of choice for the Beginner, the Low-on-confidence, the Fearful, the Fun-seeker… well, just about everybody. He's mellow and steady, a good teacher… but he's got a little competitive spirit left in him too, if you let him go, like when his former FEI rider gets on his back for a fun LD. :  )

Krusty's big - about 16.2 hands, and he towers over Sarah, who needs a mounting block to get on him. Her heels barely reach his mid-ribs. But this gentle giant isn't intimidating in the least, and Sarah loves him, and she's handling him like a pro. She's even galloped on him. *I* haven't ever galloped on Krusty!

You know what's happening: Connie's creating another little monster endurance rider! 

Just wait till next spring…

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Wednesday August 15 2012

Look at that face - she looks so innocent, doesn't she?

Owyhee Super Luna at 3 1/2 months of age is sweet… most all of the time. She's very friendly, and love, LOVES to be scratched, all over. She was a bit head shy at first, but the ecstasy of being scratched got her over that. 

Really, the only time she is a punk is when you stop scratching her and start to walk away. She'll pin her ears and charge you. You have to keep glancing over your shoulders at her, and if she does charge, that's when you have to turn quick and holler and look big and more scary to her than she looks galloping at you. Gives me the goose bumps every time… sure, she's only a couple hundred pounds, but you want to nip that behavior in the bud, because pretty soon she won't be just a couple hundred pounds.

Uncle Rushcreek Mac takes no guff off her. A purposeful nip on the little punk sends her running back to mama, in a swirl of dust.