Home Current News News Archive Shop/Advertise Ridecamp Classified Events Learn/AERC
Endurance.Net Home Featured Stories


brought to you by

Meet My Endurance Horse: Kayheart

January 25 2022
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Kayheart, aka “Katie”
22-year-old Arabian mare
by Kasiaa X Zypher Winds, by Harbit
owned by Robin Schadt

2375 Endurance miles
525 LD miles

Robin Schadt started riding at age 44. She tried Competitive trail in 2008 aboard a tall, muscled Palomino Quarter horse mare who couldn’t handle the central Illinois heat and humidity in a 25-mile competition, so she decided to try Arabians.

She bought three, (“of which I knew nothing about! I trained Standardbreds for racing”) with the thought being to try the three and keep the two that she thought would be best.

“Ha!” Robin says. “Katie drew the short straw and I couldn't ride her. Her trot is big and I had zero riding skills. I had no idea how to post.”

Katie sat in the ‘back 40’ until 2011. “I learned to ride a little better - I was always falling off, zero balance and my Arabs were agile. Fortunately I only suffered bruises here and there.” Robin began riding Katie in LD's with a plan to sell her because she was ‘uncomfortable’. There were no takers, so Robin kept riding her.

January 2013 Robin was riding her gelding Maruf at an Endurance ride in the Goethe forest in Florida. “One of the pigs or something equally scary spooked my guy Maruf. Not sure what got him. It wasn't like him to run off (he was awesome).

“I came off, cracked helmet, concussion for sure. Never did find Maruf.

“Katie gave me my confidence back after losing Maruf. Katie carried me to her first 100 and my first 100 completion. We completed our 4th 100 (at the age of 21) last October at White River in Michigan.”

Last season Robin and Katie achieved Decade Team status, a wondrous accomplishment for a later-in-life-starting rider and a mare that once upon a time she couldn’t get rid of.

“Katie's second dam is by Khemosabi. She’s a kind, easy going mare. She's lifted me up through some tough personal times.

“Katie is very dear to me.”

Meet My Endurance Horse: Gryphon

January 17 2022

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

22-year-old gelding
Half Arabian, part Caspian (probably)
owned by Mary Howell

3685 Endurance miles
60 LD miles

This 14.2-hand chestnut gelding came into Mary Howell’s life as a nameless, scared, starved gelding from a Pennsylvania rescue in 2012. She gave him the prophetic name Gryphon, after the mythological cross between an eagle and a lion.

It was a long trial rehabbing her new horse. As she wrote in her blog, Mary’s Endurance Adventures, “He became quite a challenge to work with as he gained weight and strength. He clearly had been abused and was very nervous and mistrustful in certain situations, but my experience working with different horses - plus ability to stay on board no matter what - paid off.”

They completed two Endurance rides at the end of the 2012 season, and they finished 11 of their 12 starts in 2013. “As a strong bond of friendship grew between us, I recognized a puppy-dog personality lay beneath the "gangsta" behavior. Adding magnesium pellets to his diet as a calming agent helped too! By June 2013, after eight 50 mile rides in nine months, I could finally post to Facebook that my scary, defiant little rescue horse had morphed into a confident, happy endurance horse.”

They completed Gryphon’s first 100-mile ride, JD’s Carolina, in November of 2013, and they traveled across the country from Virginia to California in August of 2014 to complete the Tevis Cup together.

In the years and miles since, Gryphon has overcome numerous health setbacks, including major surgery for a pedunculated polyp (“the recovery of which deterred him from eating for almost 2 weeks”), a large chest sarcoid, and seedy toe. He’s prone to colic, even when there haven’t been any weird weather changes, and he gets an herbal treatment for equine metabolic syndrome.

Last season, Mary and Gryphon earned their Decade Team award, given to a horse and rider team who have completed at least one 50-mile ride in each of ten years.

“He has so much heart and truly makes you feel like you’re flying despite his tiny size,” Mary says. “I think being part Caspian gives him the X-factor since he’s so unlike my purebred Arabians in temperament. I joke that there is a tiny nuclear reactor inside him since he needs to get about three times as much feed as my other horses and drinks so much on trail.

“Of all my horses, Gryphon truly captured my heart. No one else rides him but me; our relationship has been like a married couple over the years. He first scared and then frustrated me as well as amazed me. There’s no denying his courage and spunk.

“He’s 22 now and whatever he experienced in the first 10 years of his life seems to be taking a toll, so I hope we get a few more years of AERC rides together before a well earned retirement.”

US Equestrian Announces Endurance Award Winners for 2021

©Becky Pearman Photography


by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jan 11, 2022, 10:00 AM EST

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian congratulates the top endurance athletes from the 2021 competition season. Cheryl Van Deusen (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) will receive the Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award, which is presented annually to the top U.S. senior endurance rider. Charly Dugan (Muncy, Pa.) will receive the Brunjes Junior/Young Rider Trophy as the top U.S. junior or young rider in the sport.

During the 2021 season, Van Deusen rode Nazeefs Flashy Rose, her own 2007 Arabian mare, to third-place finishes at Greenway Gallivant CEI2* 120 in December 2020 and Broxton Bridge CEI2* in January. With her 2012 Arabian gelding, JG General, she won the CEI1* 100 at Horseshoe Bend Boogie in October and was Reserve Champion at the 2021 USEF Endurance National Championship CEI2* 120 in November.

Van Deusen and her 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games partner, Hoover the Mover, placed second at the Greenway Galivant CEI3* 160 in December 2020 and won the CEI3* 140 at Broxton Bridge in January and Celebration 2021 in February. In May, she traveled to Italy with the 2004 Arabian gelding where they completed the test event for the 2022 Longines FEI Endurance World Championships in Verona.

This marks Van Deusen’s fifth consecutive season at the top of the U.S. senior endurance rankings.

Charly Dugan had a busy and successful 2021 season with multiple horses on the road to becoming the top youth endurance rider in the country. With Sally Jellison’s 2014 Half-Arabian mare, Gold N Charm, she won the CEIYJ1* 100 at Celebration 2021 in February. She rode Melody Blittersdorf’s 2010 Arabian gelding, Perseveranze, to a second-place finish at Fun in the Sun CEIYJ2* 120 in March and a win at the Broxton Bridge CEIYJ2* 120 in April.

Dugan had an exceptional year with her own Southern Justice, a 2012 Arabian gelding. Together, the pair finished second in the CEIYJ2* 120 at Broxton Bridge rides in January and April and went on to win the USEF CEIYJ2* National Championship in November. In September, the pair traveled to Ermelo, the Netherlands, where they competed as part of the U.S. Endurance Team that finished in fifth place at the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders & Juniors.

The Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award is generously sponsored by Gold Medal Farm and Larry and Valerie Kanavy in memory of Maggy Price. Price was the 1992 FEI Endurance World Championship silver medalist and was instrumental in developing international endurance in the U.S. The Brunjes Junior/Young Rider Trophy is awarded in memory of Kathy Brunjes, a successful endurance athlete and active supporter of the junior/young rider program.

More at:

Meet My Endurance Horse: HB Aur Squirt

January 8 2022
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

HB Aur Squirt, aka “Squirt”
18-year-old Arabian gelding
Gulastras Splash X HB Samerica by Aur Samari
owned by Darcy Bean

1565 Endurance miles
215 LD miles
2021 Decade Team

“Squirt is a challenge to ride endurance,” Darcy says. “He is 18 years old and shows no sign of ever slowing down.

“He loves to go fast but then he won’t take care of himself; he has very little self-preservation. So consequently, he can be difficult to manage and prone to ulcers. But he’s never colicked and he has never been lame.

“He was born at our place in Alfalfa, Oregon, by the famous endurance stallion, Gulastras Splash and a lovely CMK filly, who is closely related to BRR Aurber Lights, the Tevis first place winner in 1999 ridden by Rebecca Fiedler.

“I’ve had to pull Squirt more than a few times when he has trashed me from holding him back, but if the ride is going well, he is a dream to ride! He is an excellent trail horse, loves doing obstacles and very fun to take horse camping.

“Squirt has just 1500 miles; I’ve never ridden him very many miles in a year. Mostly just 50’s that are close by, as he stresses out when he is in the trailer more than a few hours.

“He has given me the best and worst rides of my life and I am the only one who has ever ridden him endurance as I worry too much about him. I am happy we made it to Decade Team and hope for many more years of riding him!”