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Fire Mountain 3 day ride, January 13/15, 2023 - Nick Warhol

Fire Mountain 3 day ride

January 13/15, 2023 by Nick Warhol

The annual Fire Mountain ride in Ridgecrest, Ca, was a different animal this year. For those of you who know (and love) the desert, you know it can be fickle. Sometimes very fickle. Sometimes REALLY fickle! In the summer, it’s pretty straightforward: it’s just hot. The winter, however, can give you any weather there is. It can range from 70 degrees and sunny in the dead of winter, to, well, like it was for part of the ride week.

California has been blessed/suffering with crazy rain this winter, which is a good thing, and really sucks at the same time. we have had about a foot of rain so far at home this year. I got a break in the rain to drive my dirt bike, Sorsha, and Ines’s horse Rayos down to Ridgecrest on Sunday a week before the ride. It was a beautiful, pleasant, calm drive down. Monday morning did not help as the rain started. It was light to mild, and no wind, so Brian and I spent the day in the side by side marking the trail. We got about 35 miles done, which was good, but we were very wet and very cold for a long time. Tuesday hit with a vengeance! Big wind, pouring rain, and a thunder clap that was so close it shook the big metal cover at the arena enough to scare me. This was not weather to go out and mark trail, so we switched to the truck and tried to do water troughs. That mostly worked until we were driving up a wash/road that had water coming down it. This is not safe! We got most of the water troughs out, but the intense rain and wind pretty much killed the day. It was serious rain: flash-flood caliber rain. The weather broke Tuesday night and the rain slowed down, so we got started again on Wednesday. The first thing we noticed was the rain had of course wiped out the chalk arrows on the ground. 35 miles of arrows gone! Great! We had 70 more miles to mark. We got about 60 done, but the sun was setting as we finished in the freezing cold. Lucky for me “Sandwash” Ali Woodward and her husband Dan came with the dirt bikes to help. They spent Thursday riding and re-chalking the 35 miles we had done before the big rain. I went back out on the bike and finished up the remaining 15 miles or so and checked part of the trail we did on Wednesday. I also had to go put up all the road crossing signs as well as some key trail split signs. I was not able to switch to horse rider until Thursday afternoon when Ines and I went for our pre-ride ride on the horses.

On Friday morning, for day one, the desert was our friend. Perfect weather- low in the low 40s, highs in the high 50s. Bright sun, zero breeze, perfect, wet desert. It was just glorious! The riders who got to ride Friday had a real treat. I rode Sorsha along with Ines on the fifty to sixth place. The conditions were stunning! The Tuesday rain floods had wiped the desert clean, and all the slop had soaked in. The roads with the huge bumps and ruts were as flat as a freeway with perfect footing. You can’t buy footing this good. There was so much water out there that we did not really need a single trough. It was a perfect day with one exception- my lower left leg hurt. It’s one of my same old injuries that I just deal with, but this was different. It hurt a lot while riding, and I could barely get off the horse without collapsing to the ground. When this happens, I usually get off and walk it off, which usually helps, but I could not really walk. I could not trot the horse in the vet checks either. At the end of the fifty I could barely walk. Okay, Okay, my body was telling me something. I limped around that evening and knew I was not riding Saturday to the Pinnacles. I opted to sit it out and help with the ride. Which turned out to be a good thing, sort of. Saturday morning was pretty nice. The forecast called for some light rain in the afternoon, but nothing serious like on Tuesday. The ride was special- it was going to the Trona Pinnacles which has never been done in a ride before. The 25 ended right there and the riders were trailed back, while it was the lunch stop for the 55-mile riders. I went out to the away vet check to help out. All the LD and 55’s came through on their way out, in nice weather and all in good spirits. It was a little breezy, and overcast, and a little cold, but not too bad, and certainly good riding weather. I left around 2 pm to get back to camp so I could go out on the trail backwards in the side by side to hang glow bars on the last 13 miles or so of the trail for the 55s. It was on the way back in the car that it started. The wind picked up, the sky got dark, the temperature dropped, and the rain started. Lightly at first, but then it started coming down. The hard stuff, with about 40 degrees and 30 plus MPH of wind. It was MISERABLE in the side by side as I went backwards on the trail. I was soaked, cold, freezing, but kept thinking about those riders out there. Yeah. I came across the leader, Jessica Black, at about 4pm and it was almost dark. She said she was so ready for this to be over. I could not agree more. Lori Olsen came by in second on Fargo- she said it was hell. They were slogging through water in the desert! Rachael Muira came by next and said it was ugly! The next group was Carolyn Hock and her group of three. All were walking through the slop in the howling, 30 MPH wind with the rain coming down sideways, in 40 degrees, with wind chill factor, by the way, is 18 degrees Fahrenheit! I said hi, how are you, etc, etc, and there was silence. Carolyn said, and I quote, “this is endurance!” You got that right, Carolyn. ..

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US Equestrian Announces Team for 2022 FEI Endurance World Championship


by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jan 18, 2023, 3:15 PM EST

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian is pleased to announce the athlete/horse combinations that will represent the United States at the 2022 FEI Endurance World Championship, scheduled to take place February 25, 2023, at Butheeb, United Arab Emirates.

The following combinations will represent the U.S. Endurance Team and are listed in alphabetical order:

Marissa Bartmann (La Plata, N.M.) and RGS Rollo Ze Monarch, a 2010 Arabian gelding owned by Jessica DiCamillo

Karen Binns-DiCamillo (Las Cruces, N.M.) and RGS Ragnar Ze Monarch, her own 2009 Arabian gelding

Jessica DiCamillo (Las Cruces, N.M.) and I Remember September, her own 2009 Half-Arabian gelding

Jeremy Reynolds (Dunnellon, Fla.) and Treasured Moments, a 2010 Arabian mare owned by Jeremy and Heather Reynolds

Cheryl Van Deusen (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) and JG General, her own 2012 Arabian gelding

The following combinations have been named as alternates to the U.S. Team for the 2022 FEI Endurance World Championship and are listed in ranked order:

Karen Binns-DiCamillo and Just Believe, a 2008 Arabian Mare owned by Jessica DiCamillo

Jessica DiCamillo and Just Believe, her own 2008 Arabian mare

Heather Davis (The Plains, Va.) and Shyrocco Rimbaud, her own 2006 Anglo Arabian gelding

Holly Corcoran (Stroudsburg, Pa.) and Lorienn, her own 2012 Arabian mare

Competition Information

The FEI Endurance World Championship will consist of a 160-kilometer ride at the Butheeb International Endurance Village in El Khatim, Abu Dhabi. The ride will start at 5:45 a.m. local time on February 25, 2023. Learn more about the competition here.

First Season Success for NW Junior Lavway and Hackney Pony 'Tol'

by Shelah Wetter
January 18 2023

Aaby Lavway and her Hackney pony Truly A Surprise (AKA Tol) win PNER 'Champion Junior Best Condition Horse' as well as several other awards in their first season in endurance.

Aaby's story starts In my lesson program as a shy, small, blond haired blue eyed little girl. Little did I know what awaited her. She spent several years riding lesson horses. Then she moved on to leasing a couple of big strong and stubborn been there done that geldings who taught her a whole lot about how to handle horses with big personalities and opinions. They happened to be the perfect predecessors for the small but mighty Tol.

Tol is a Hackney pony bred by the same farm as the infamous Flash. Surely they grew up together. Tol came to me a year and a half ago as a very, very green broke 13-year-old who, like Flash, grew up in a huge pasture with minimal handling. I have a long history with the Hackney pony breed and also I have a habit of buying ponies I can't ride... Well, because they are cute and absolutely irresistible. I knew I would have to find Tol a kid at some point, or maybe get him pulling a cart well & sell him, as all of our horses must have a job.

Aaby's parents weren't quite ready to purchase a horse in the fall/winter of 2021 but she very much wanted to be a part of our endurance team... And I happened to have a half wild pony I couldnt ride... So I told her if she could ride him she could come along... And the game was on!

When Aaby and Tol met, he was absolutely terrified of her. She had to start from the beginning with him, as if he'd never been ridden at all. It took many months, but Aaby persisted and at just about 7 months since they started working together, they did their first endurance ride together. Still just a touch wild, I held his halter every time she had to mount or dismount. EDRA 30 mile endurance ride was a success and they earned the coveted award JR Best Condition. At the second ride they did their first 50, Tol didn't look tired at all. And 2 weeks later again they did a 50. Tol finished strong and bright eyed. Not a puff or a sore part on him. They again earned Jr Best Condition.

They have been working hard to be ready for the next ride season, watch out 2023, here they come!!

US Equestrian Congratulates 2022 Endurance Award Winners

©Becky Pearman Photography


by US Equestrian Communications Department | Jan 11, 2023, 1:00 PM EST

Lexington, Ky. – US Equestrian is pleased to announce the top endurance athletes from the 2022 competition season. Cheryl Van Deusen (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) will receive the Maggy Price Endurance Excellence Award as the top U.S senior endurance rider. Avery Betz-Conway (Kingsland, Ga.) will receive the Brunges Junior/Young Rider Trophy as the top U.S. junior or young rider.

Cheryl Van Deusen

Van Deusen has maintained an exceptional level of success in endurance competition for many years, and 2022 was her sixth consecutive year finishing at the top of the U.S. senior rankings.

In the 2022 season, Van Deusen completed numerous CEI3* rides on several different horses, including the Greenway Gallivant with her own 2007 Arabian mare, Nazeefs Flashy Rose, and January’s Ride in the Low Country and Spring Ride in the Low Country in April with Tru Beau Sardi, her 2013 Arabian gelding. She finished in first place with her 2012 Arabian gelding, JG General, in three CEI3* competitions: Ride in the Low Country, Celebration 2022, and Spring Ride in the Low Country.

Avery Betz-Conway

Avery Betz-Conway started the 2022 season off with a completion in the Greenway Gallivant CEIYJ1* riding RR Soldier, Stephen Rojek’s 2012 Arabian gelding. The pair went on to win the Ride in the Low Country CEIYJ2* and complete the Spring Ride in the Low Country CEIYJ2*.

With Djets Mojo, a 2014 Arabian gelding owned by Christina Betz, Betz-Conway won the Ride in the Low Country 80 km ride and won the CEIYJ1* at JD’s Carolina.

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.