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


brought to you by

Custom saddles for you and your equine and all your riding needs

Australia's Toft Endurance Dynasty

FEI.org - Full Story

22 May 2023
Words by Stacey Stearns
Image of Penny and Peter with Bremervale Justice by Gilly Wheeler

A closer look at Penny, Peter and Alexandra Toft...

Legends aren’t born, they’re made, and Penny Toft of Australia is an Endurance legend.

Most riders dream of competing at the highest levels of the sport. The best consistently compete at the highest levels. For Penny, her husband Peter, and their daughter Alexandra, representing their country in international Endurance competitions is a way of life.

All three members of the Toft family have represented Australia at the highest level of the FEI World Equestrian Games and FEI Endurance World Championships, and their Toft Endurance continues to breed, train, and compete Endurance horses at the highest levels...

Read more here:

Endurance Canada presents the 2022 Hall of Fame Inductee Earle Baxter

The Hall of Fame Award is to be presented to a member of the Canadian endurance community in recognition of their long-term commitment and long-term active involvement, as well as their outstanding contributions and participation in the sport of endurance riding in Canada.

May 12 2023
Written by Kat Irvine

Earle Baxter of Ontario, now aged 82, started endurance riding in 1979. Since then, the list of rides he has ridden, and the awards he’s won, nationally and internationally, could fill a book. He has influenced and befriended elite riders, judges, veterinarians and those who are just starting out and need a little help. His horses have jaw-dropping accomplishments and awards most riders can’t even imagine. Among them, in 2007 " CH Catch Me If You Can” and Earle were awarded with American Endurance Riding Conference “Perfect Ten Equines”, the only Canadian horse to be recognized for this award where they must have completed 10 years, 10,000 miles (16,000km),10 first places, and 10 Best Conditions.

January 26, 2019, at the age of 19, I AM Amazing,(Champ) reached his 4200 km lifetime achievement with (AERC)American Endurance Riding Conference.

“We love Earle’s kind and trusting horses”, was an accolade given by those who have aquired them, a tribute to his training and insight of the horse as an individual.

In 1986 he was instrumental in supporting early FEI in Canada by trucking four horses to the first North American Endurance Championship in California. Earle's background as a self-employed long-haul trucker, and a horseman, had everything going forward making decisive, efficient decisions all the way. Attentive to junior riders, one year he trucked a promising young rider (later to become a Medical Doctor) to a FEI ride on the west coast of USA. Earle mentored several Young Riders, many of whom are in the sport today.

Earle went on to be a member on the FEI Canadian team at the first World Equestrian Championships in 1990 Stockholm, Sweden, where he was the first Canadian to finish the 160-km Endurance Championship. Earle went on to be team leader for five more Championship competitions in North America and overseas.

While he was leading teams to medals, and winning individual awards for himself and his horses, he was accumulating mileage in the Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association, (OCTRA) as well as being integral in its growth by participating on the Board. He was gathering honors such as Best Conditioned and Heavyweight Championships in Canada and U.S. At the same time he was burning up the track in both competitive trail, and ride and tie events.

When he competes, he has a time goal, whether he is riding a young horse at a relatively slow speed, or a top-level horse at a championship pace. One of the secrets to his success is his ability to pace his horse according to trail conditions. He respects the trail as his main opponent.

He takes a set time at water stops and doesn’t move on until his horse’s heart rate has dropped to 64 beats per minute. When he comes into the vet check he dismounts and walks in. It’s no surprise to the crew team and vets that the horse’s pulse reaches parameters within 1-2 minutes.

In Ontario, in1991, he proposed the following motion regarding mandatory rest after treatment “That any horse that requires intensive therapy for Exhausted Horse Syndrome following a competition will be barred from competing for a minimum of 90 days after therapy is discontinued.” The motion was passed. This was well before the FEI implemented mandatory rest periods after competition and any treatment received as a result of competition.

Earle is a marathoner. Always advancing forward, riding every step of the trail regardless of distance or terrain.

A summary of his riding record documented over 40 years of competitions speaks for itself. It involves a total of more than 900 rides, and over 50 of them 160km long.

In Canada he has completed distances of 22,559km/14,041mi with Ontario Competitive Ride Association (OCTRA) and that includes competitive trail ride miles, but not all of them. OCTRA only counts one out-of-province ride during a year. AERC record doesn’t count endurance miles from non-AERC sanctioned rides such as OCTRA, nor from international rides, so it would be difficult to compile a complete record. We are not sure that Earle even knows his total mileage!

In April 2022, things took an unfortunate turn for Earle. During his normal daily chores, he sustained a back injury from which the doctors said he’d never walk.

With all the “move forward” attitude that make Earle who he is, guess what? He is now getting around with the use of a cane, but will likely retire from competition. This past winter he was mentoring a young man on his horses, what an honour.

He is an outstanding inspiration, combining science and spirit, education and sixth sense. He has been described as considerate, resourceful, determined, capable, helpful, competitive, efficient, and always moving forward. Earle’s education, determination, and horsemanship skills are a combination that has proven Earle a champion in Canada, United States, and overseas. It’s why he is called “Boss”.


Richard Dawson 1930-1923


With great sadness we announce the death of Dick Dawson, husband, father, horseman, musician, piano technician, music teacher, Alfa Romeo nut and all around fantastic person.

Think of music events throughout the Owens Valley area and Dick was there, either organizing events, tuning pianos, or fundraising. Think horse endurance riding, and Dick is sure to come to mind. Think Deep Springs College music? Yep, Dick Dawson.

How many of you were taught piano by him? Or had your piano tuned by him?

Yes, he will be missed on so many levels. A life celebration to be scheduled.

Published by Legacy Remembers from Apr. 20 to Apr. 25, 2023.

Chey’s Cocamoe Joe and Dave Rabe: A Perfect Ten

by Nina Bomar
April 6 2023

They did it… let’s all raise our glasses in celebration of our beautiful friend and hugely accomplished endurance rider Dave Rabe along with his handsome horse Cocamoe Joe. They never give up, which is why they have achieved the honorable perfect! We all know that it’s a challenge to get through one endurance ride but how about riding the same horse for 10+ years of 50 miles or more, competing at a high level that would include at least 10 wins and earning the most coveted 10 Best Condition Awards.

They achieved this long term goal on their own turf, while at the Nevada Derby Ride this past weekend… Dave had sent me a text saying “Cocamoe Joe and I finished at about 4:30PM.” He proudly stated, “Cocamoe did awesome and me… not so well. I’ve been sicker than a dog all week, my chest and my cough… it all felt horrible”. It was no surprise that he still went and pushed through the pain and the weakness, so that they could achieve their long term goal!

Dave was coughing horribly a few weeks back, while at the Cuyama @Laurel Mountain Ride and I suggested that he see a doctor. When I inquired about that, he did share… “I finally got some antibiotics from the VA and I tried them for five days and I never got any better, so I came out to the ride a day early and stayed in my trailer all day”.

Dave has a whole herd of amazing friends who genuinely love him and take very good care of him. He once told me that on occasion his dearest friend Tami Rougeau will buy him a new helmet, because surely she wants to insure his safety. He noted that at this ride “Tami was here and she and another nurse made me go to the Urgent Care”. They arranged for another gal to drive him down and see a doctor. Dave said… “I found out that I was on the wrong antibiotics, so they put me on some different ones and I am on Prednisone, which is a steroid pill”.

None of this stopped him from riding a tough 50 miles so he and Cocamoe could get’er done… Dave then explained, “I woke up on the following morning “ride day” feeling a little better so I rode. He then admitted, “It wasn’t a great day. I was dragging all day, but I made it and Cocamoe was really a good boy. I rode by myself almost the whole way, up until the end and Jim Brown rode in with me to the finish”.

Dave was understandably pretty tired but his champion friend was there for him and his horse. With a heartfelt gratitude he said, “Tami put my boots on my horse and saddled him up so I could ride and when I finished, she came and unsaddled him, took his boots off and wrapped his legs, while I rested”. It was obvious he felt incredibly thankful for her support and then he said… “I’m just ready to go home now, but I stayed at the ride again last night as I was completely beat after finishing the ride”.

The good news is that Dave says, “I’m finally starting to feel a little better and my shortness of breath has improved, but my terrible cough is still here.” Even through his weakness though, he still has a great sense of humor. When he asked me about my ride, I told him we’d finished 11th and he replied , “Well if you finished 11th, I beat you. I finished 9th, but we only had 22 riders on the 50.“ I sent him the pic of the Mojave Green we encountered and surprisingly he said… “I have never seen a live Mojave snake before, just our desert rattlesnakes. He looks pretty tame!”

Like always, I suggested that Dave get some rest now and let his lungs and body heal. He assured me, “I’m just taking it easy today. I’m on my last pill, so I’m going to call the VA and make an appointment and see if they will re-x-ray my chest and find out if I’ve gotten any better or what the deal is”. Then when I checked in on him throughout the day, I didn’t get a reply… hmmm? By sundown I got this message… “I’ve been outside working on my septic system. It’s all full of shit and not working. I haven’t gotten too far yet, but I smell like shit.”

All in all, Dave shared this… “It actually felt really good to get this completion. I didn’t know if I was going to make it physically, but I did have one beer, and then I was done for the day. I felt thankful that Tami who took care of my horse and it really helped me. I was very confident that Cocamoe could do it, but not so much for me. I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick on a ride… actually never! I’ve been hung over quite a few times, but not like this”.

Dave being the strong man whom he is, he didn’t let his illness take away the joy… “I thought about everything, all the years, the wins and my horse’s Best Condition awards. I know Cocamoe Joe has all the talent to do all that but equally important was to always stay focused on keeping him sound. That’s always been important to me in order to get him through the miles. I thought that would be the hardest thing, but he came through amazingly.”

If you’ve ever wondered what the ingredients are to a super horse like Cocamoe… Dave says…”he has super recoveries. He can check in at a ride at 28 bpm and sometimes during a ride, he’s down to 32 bpm. He’s got awesome recoveries. He also has a great extended trot, if I let him use it, but sometimes he uses it on his own. He also has a great walk and if I would like him to, he could canter all day. He loves the canter but I don’t let him that often. He is a very straightforward horse and he just loves to go and go and go…”

I had asked Dave if he ever received the Perfect 10 Award prior to this recent achievement with Cocamoe Joe…? After all, with nearly 78,000 AERC endurance miles, 66 milers and winning almost as many Best Condition awards, he replied, “Cocamoe is my first horse for a first perfect 10. He is the 10th horse to ever achieve this feat”. He then sent me a list of the previous perfect 10 recipients.

AERC Perfect Ten Equines

Created in 1997 and sponsored by Joe Long, past president, former Southeast Region director, and member of the Hall of Fame. Must have completed 10 years, 10,000 miles, 10 first place finishes and 10 best conditions.

2016 LV Integrity+/ (Ritz)
Joyce Sousa

2015 GF Brazil's Envy
Ann Kratochvil

2011 MRR Pyro
Karen Fredrickson

2010 Robin Hood
Philip Ottinger, DD

2007 CH Catch Me If You Can
Earle Baxter

2004 Pandora's Pixy
Randy Coleman

2004 Sha-win
Roberta Harms

1997 Kahlil Khai
Joe & Robbie Long

1997 R.O. Grand Sultan+//
Becky G Hart

Dave did note… “White Cloud had 11,900 miles, but we only had a couple of wins and maybe one BC, mainly because I never raced him”.

It’s hard for Dave to sum up 10 years, 10 wins, 10 Best Conditions and 10,000 miles, but he does hold some very dear and momentous memories.

For example he explains, “When we are riding with other horses, Cocamoe can lose his mind, even after all these years and miles”. Dave then adds, “If we are by ourselves, Cocamoe Joe is very conservative and a joy to ride”.

Dave recalled how one year, not too far back, while at the at the Shamrock ride in Wyoming, Cocamoe won the ride and got Best Condition with a perfect score of 800 points. He was awesome on that ride and the veterinarians took great notice and interest. In order to get a perfect score, Dave said you have to have all tens on the vet scores and be the heaviest rider with the fastest time. Understandably, it was very memorable and a nod to just how magnificent of a horse Cocamoe is!

Another favorite memory Dave offered was at the Tevis when Charlie Gauchi from Australia came over and rode him. Dave said, “I told Charlie how I would ride him and he did as I told him and Cocamoe came through the ride, while also looking really good”.

Dave then continued, “That is how I got Cocamoe from Charlie. At the time, his only requests was that he wanted to come back one day and do the Tevis on him. Dave recounted “When Charlie had Cocamoe on the XP Ride and they were going to ride cross country in Nebraska, but Cocamoe stepped on a plastic water bottle and the noise from the bottle spooked him and then he took off bucking. Charlie finally came off and landed on his rib cage and broke three or four of his ribs. I was actually behind Charlie that day, so I saw it all. That is the reason I have Cocamoe, because at the end of the ride, Charlie sold all of his horses. Nobody would buy Cocamoe Joe because everyone was afraid of him and I didn’t want to see anyone get hurt. Charlie offered him to me and I took him home”.

Interestingly, Dave shared a little side note… “There was a girl in Virginia City at the end of the XP Ride and on the last day she tried to offer $3000 to Charlie for Cocamoe. Since Charlie would be returning to Australia and it was too expensive to bring all the horses back. That’s why he sold them. Only Charlie stuck to his word and said “no I already gave him away”. Dave continued, “that’s how I got him and I’m always very grateful to Charlie for giving me Cocamoe”.

At this past Nevada Derby Ride, Dave said along with earning the perfect 10, they gave him a lot of nice awards… “I got a nice halter for Top Ten, a beautiful set of reins, a beer mug, a bucket and lots of hugs!” He then said… “I didn’t want to hug because I didn’t want to get anybody else sick”.