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2017 Top O' The World

2017 Top O The World Trails
Images by Jessica Cobley

2018 Top O The World Pioneer

A Slideshow of the 2017 ride!

2017: Tip of my hat to Top Of The World - Steph Teeter

The logistics of getting all of the 'Creek People' to a multiday ride can be challenging, but we managed to get it done, and it was a splendid ride! This is a new 3-day ride in a spectacular part of Idaho. Jessica (determined and inspired) and Mike (reluctant but willing) Cobbley did an amazing job of finding the most beautiful basecamp, and some very fine trails in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. We had views of the Grand Tetons to the East, and numerous lesser mountain ranges to the north, south and west. It's high country, basecamp was at 6500 feet, and the stands of pine and fir intermingle with aspen groves, sagebrush hills and mountain meadows to create a very beautiful mosaic of greens. Absolutely gorgeous country.

We had a 7 hour drive from Owyhee, east and north, and passed through dramatic showers and storms as we neared our destination. As we turned off the highway and drove ten miles down a dirt road the storms blew away and a double rainbow escorted us to camp. A good omen! Half of the Creek (Connie and Sarah Holloway and I) arrived a day early as we wanted to settle in and let the horses rest, hoping to ride all 3 days. We had a welcome chilly night (a break from the desert heat), a misty meadow morning from the previous rains, and a short ride to stretch the horses' legs. A lovely peaceful day.

The rest of the Creek (Carol, Merri, Regina) arrived that evening in Regina's trailer and we sorted out horses and pens and stuff. I will admit that I got cranky trying to keep up with sorting out feed, blankets, tack, pens, buddies, riding plans, and my increasingly agitated mare. The sight and sound of feed and buckets drives her crazy, this mare thinks food is the most important part of life, and she was getting hysterical with the other horses coming and going in different directions. I finally got my senses together and we had a 'session' - I'm the boss, remember? It always amazes me how well it works to assert myself, and after that she was fine. And I was better too after a little whining session.

The first day's ride dawned misty and cool and beautiful. I set out with Connie and Sarah, glad to have company on this new 'wilderness' trail, one never knows how it is going to be out there! Our first 25 mile loop was a bit daunting, spectacular views, but the rocky trail was slow and we were a little cranky by the time we got back to camp. (They're not going to use this particular trail next year). Second 25 mile loop was along forest single track trails, and some aspen groves, and a fun technical trail along a creek and meadow. Big beautiful views and looming thunderstorm clouds solicited an afternoon of oohs and aahs.

My mare Smokey, and Connie and Sarah's horses DWA Saruq, and 'Desi', finished the first day in great shape so we were on for day 2. Beautiful trail!! The most scenic trail I've ridden in a long time, great footing, spectacular views, forest and meadow... glorious. We rode for several miles along the continental divide between Idaho and Montana - and even did a little loop into the neighboring state. It was a very enjoyable morning, we still rode slowly but this time it was because we couldn't quit gawking and taking photos. The second loop was the same 'easy' loop that we did on day 1, still pleasant, still scenic, still fascinating watching the storm clouds build up.

So far, so good, so we set off again on Day 3. I rode with Carol and her horse August all day, it was fun, like old times. (we have ridden many thousands of miles together over the last 25+ years). Another beautiful trail, most forest roads and single track, pleasant and not too demanding. Second loop was the same as previous days, but it didn't feel tedious. The horses knew the trail, we knew the trail, and we just zoomed along. Smokey felt awesome, strong and forward and happy, and she actually won the 'Get-Away Horse' award - the veterinarian's choice of the 3-day horse in best form to make a fast escape if needed! Another wonderful day riding. Great weekend - cool mountain nights, yummy dinners from Spencer's smoker. Good friends, awesome ride!

Steph (and Smokey!)

2017 Top O' the World - Sarah Holloway

August 1 2017
by Junior Sarah Holloway

I had no idea what to expect when I was first driving seven hours up to the brand new endurance ride On Top of the World located in the backcountry just above Spencer, ID. In reality it blew my expectations away and I'm so thankful that I had the opportunity to go.  Stephanie Teeter myself and my aunt Connie up to the ride on Wednesday planning on all of us riding the pioneer. As we were just coming in Steph pulled over so we could get some pictures of the view up in the high country with a double rainbow. We had an advantage coming in an extra day early so it was easy for us to just pull right in to a ride camp which at the time only had 8 or so trailers. Ridecamp was in a meadow with water troughs lining the road and an additional couple lines many yards back. We settled in and went to the bonfire to talk to the ride manager Jessica Cobbley and her husband Mike. We planned that the next morning we would follow some ribbons up for a little pre ride.  We slept in a bit on Thursday and headed out for a ride. My horse Desi was leading and he was quite spooky because we were in a completely new environment. Home is in the hot desert, but up in the high country the temperature only got up to eighty and we were surrounded by trees. Coming back from the pre ride I knew that I would have a fresh horse in the days to come. That afternoon the rest of our Oreana neighborhood pulled in Regina, Merri, and Carol. At ride meeting that evening there were many friendly faces and a couple new ones most that were from Montana. The ride was dual sanctioned with the Mountain Region Organization so some people showed up seeking points for their organization. David Honan was the official ride photographer and having purchased many pictures from him in the past I was excited for the shots to come. Jessica made the ride we were to do the next day very clear and handed out simple maps.

When I woke up to get ready on day one the hills were coated with a mist and the sun was still just barely shining through. We started out on the flat with easy going trail and we really moved out for the first six or so miles. Then we started out on a gradual climb that would eventually take us up to the ridge we would ride. After a few more easy miles up we came around a corner of the two track to find a couple water troughs at a viewpoint. They had set out a cooler filled with gatorades and cold waters which made not only the horses, but the riders leaving replenished. From there we rode the ridge which had manu jawdropping views and the best wildflowers of the weekend. As we came on a steep downhill from the ridge there was easily accessible natural water for us to lead our horses to. For about the next four miles we rode through an open meadow and came around the corner to ride camp. We gave our horses a drink and some bites of the mash provided at the troughs before vetting our horses through. The pulsers, timers, and vets took care of us swiftly before we headed back to the trailer for our basic hold routine. Our second loop was simple and easy where we rode through aspen up along the river. This would be the the second  loop for the fifties all three days because it is flat and easy miles. We ran into to David Honan on this loop and took our photos for the third time this day; he effectively gets many completely different  shots throughout the ride. We came back into camp with three strong horses who were all ready to go another day. The Spencer Grill catered for the ride and successfully fed our group good food every night. Awards were given out and since we had top tenned we recieved a top ten cup and completion t-shirt. Some new people showed up for day two and we were filled in on the next ride at the ride meeting.

Day two would be the fifty five, but the trails were easier than day one and the finish times ended up faster. We started out the morning of day two on a two track that would a few miles up lead us to a fenceline where we entered Montana. We rode along the Continental Divide for a few miles up on a fairly even ridge. The views were some of the best I've ever seen and there was even a lookout point where you could see the tiny specks of ride camp. We met up with our friend Shyla up on the ridge and rode the rest of the ride with her. Dead trees on this loop gave completely different surroundings than we had the other days. The trail then took us down on a long gradual down through meadows, through the trees, along the creeks, and down the draw. At vetcheck we came in for our hour hold and left refreshed. It was fun riding the day priors trail over again because now we knew it. We were surprised to find the water trough that Shyla had requested at Porcupine Pass had been put in with a cooler of drinks too. Along with the other days there was a volunteer waiting at the open gate so we could easily come through. Steph, Connie, Shyla,  and I had a four way tie for tenth that afternoon. That night at awards the completion award was an On Top of the World water bottle and the maps were once again clearly explained at ride meeting.

On day three we routinely woke up at 5:40 for the 7 o'clock start time. By day three everything was in order and everything flowed smoothly.  Steph rode with our neighbor Carol, so Connie and I rode with our close friend Anne who had ridden the day before. Connie and Anne were both on DWA horses who knew eachother well. The morning began on an old winding logging trail with excellent footing which we trotted the whole way. After we were on the logging rode for several miles we got on common trail from the day before which had a gradual slope back to ridecamp. Instead of going straight home as we had on day two we had to turn off for an additional five or so mile loops back around to camp. For the third time we headed out on our easy second loop and it almost felt like I was doing a favorite training ride at home; it never got old. Completion of day three was a big success as it was our second pioneer completion of the season. My horse Desi and I reached our thousand miles as a team in the past two years. Also we placed eighth that day which made it our third top ten completion of the weekend. After the awards we sat around the fire for a couple hours and had our last night out in the backcountry. We trailered out the next morning feeling satisfied with the completions of the weekend and sad to be leaving such an amazing place. I can't wait to see this ride grow in the coming years and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to attend this season!

2017 Top O' the World: A New Mountain Ride - by Merri Melde

August 1 2017

With a new endurance horse, you don't yet know what you don't know until you find out. We didn't know how tough Willie's feet were until we found out that they really aren't.

After a fabulous first 50-mile ride at City of Rocks, I worked hard on getting Hillbillie Willie, Steph's new Standardbred, ready for his next 50-mile (or 2) mountain ride at the brand new 3-day Top O' the World Pioneer ride in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest above Spencer, Idaho. It would be Willie's second ride, and first camping out experience (City of Rocks doesn't count, since he had a huge pen with his whole herd).

New Ride Manager Jessica Cobbley named it Top O' the World, because you are more or less on top of the USA: riding near and on the Continental Divide between (on the large scale) eastern and western United States, and (smaller scale) between Idaho and Montana. Ridecamp was at 6500 feet, and some of the trails/climbs took you to over 8000 feet.

The Caribou-Targhee National Forest is over 3 million acres and stretches across southeastern Idaho, from the Montana, Utah, and Wyoming borders. To the east the forest borders Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest. Most of the forest is a part of the 20 million acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. So… think moose (I found moose poop), think grizzly bears (thankfully no sightings our smellings), think wolves (didn't hear any).

Caribou and Targhee National Forests were combined from original forest lands created in 1891. While western sections of the forest have a mixture of sagebrush and grasses, the higher elevations in the east support lodgepole pine, and numerous species of spruce and fir.

Ridecamp was in a lovely grassy meadow with a superb view of the forest and hills - possibly the prettiest ridecamp I've camped in. Cows lolled in the far meadows, with the bulls bellerin' and hollerin' every night and early morning. Every afternoon (entertainment for us in ridecamp), a cowboy would ride out and drive the cows up and over the hills… and by late evening, some more would trickle in. We figured he got paid by the hour, not the job. And every evening and morning, you could hear sandhill cranes honking around the meadow. The set-up in Ridecamp was perfect, with plenty of room for rigs, plenty of water troughs set out, and off a main dirt road so we never had other traffic coming through. There was plenty of ATV/motorcycle traffic on the roads on the weekend, but all were polite and careful whenever any of them encountered any horses...

Read more here:

Equine Endurance Ride in Spencer, ID - July 28-30

Targhee National Forest outside Spencer, ID

Join us for a brand new Pioneer ride on the Continental Divide between Montana and Idaho.This ride is AERC sanctioned. Head vet Robert Washington, DVM. Ride Manager Jessica Cobbley.

Ride Camp: Take I-15 to the Stoddard Creek Area exit (184). Go north off the exit, follow the gravel road up Porcupine Pass. Ride camp is about 10 miles in. The road will be marked.

NOTE: This is a mountain ride. Footing is good, but there ARE rocks. Hoof protection IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Elevation at ride camp is approximately 6500’.

Horse water/porta-potties provided.

​ Trails will be two-track and single track. There may be some roads, but they should be minimal.

Be prepared for ALL weather.

Head Vet: Dr. Robert Washington
Entry: $100 all distances
Juniors 1/2 price, AERC non-members add $15 Day Rider Fee

WEED FREE HAY IS REQUIRED. There will be some available for purchase at ride camp. Please contact the ride manager if you need hay. There are few/no services available in Spencer– please plan accordingly. The nearest farm stores are probably Idaho Falls, if you are coming from the south, and Dillon if you are coming from Montana.​ ​

Dinner is included in ride fee. Spencer Grill will be catering. Menu TBD. ​


​ Please pre-enter with at least the entry form to make logistics easier on our end. Please indicate on your entry form if you are interested in/willing to volunteer, and which days.

Pre-pay or pay at the ride.