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Endurance.Net Home 2019 AERC National Championships

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2013 AERCNC - City of Rocks AERCNC
Images by Merri Melde
Schedule of Events || Entries as of 10/17 || Video Clips from the weekend


2019 AERC National Championships

50 Mile Championship - Oct 31

100 Mile Championship - Nov 2

Also 25/35/50/65/100 Mile Open Division rides

Start of the NC 50 miler

Photo Galleries

ASuddenGift MHF Overcomes the Odds to Win Best Condition at the 2019 50-Mile AERC National Championship

Story and photos by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
January 10 2020

This gelding’s mysterious, undiagnosable, painful back condition almost ended his endurance career

Any time you’re around Heather Reynolds when she’s riding ASuddenGift MHF, you’re likely to hear a version of this: “He is my favorite horse! I love this horse!”

Heather first laid eye on “Sudden” at a racetrack in California as she was shopping for potential Arabian endurance horses. “I never got his name, and I never saw him outside of the stall, but I really liked the look of him.” But he was too short; the Reynolds prefer horses 15.2 or taller to buy and re-train and re-sell, as that’s what a majority of endurance riders prefer.

Fast forward six months, and Heather saw a 15.2-hand gray horse for sale on Facebook that she really liked the looks of. She bought him sight unseen. “He arrives,” Heather said, “and he comes off the trailer and I thought, oh my gosh, he’s so little. He was lucky if he made 14.3 hands. And then I took a closer look, and I thought, this is the same horse!”

ASuddenGift MHF is by Sudden Mischief, a stallion that stood at Michelle and Dr. Mickey Morgan’s Mandolynn Hill Farm in Texas. The dam, AER Wiqueen, by Wiking, was owned by Longin Blachut, and he’s the breeder of ASuddenGift MHF.

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Never Quit: Ciera Schwartz Rides Blue Hearrt to 2019 AERC Junior Championship

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
January 2 2020

14-year-old Ciera Schwartz's journey from zero endurance miles to 2019 Junior AERC National Champion in one season (in less than 6 months!) is nothing short of extraordinary.

"She had to go from zero! Think about that. From zero to 505 miles. Really think about it. It's amazing - amazing what that young girl pulled off!" says Robert Weldin, Ciera's sponsor and mentor during the 2019 AERC season in the quest for the Championship.

Along the way it's taken a village of enthusiastic, selfless supporters who helped her get there...

It was Marilyn Scholl who first introduced Ciera to endurance riding in 2016, near her home in Winters, California. "When I met her, she asked me if I could ride with her," Ciera says. "I was like, yea, I don't know what you're talking about though." Ciera started riding at age five in an all-around discipline barn. "I decided to do Western Pleasure in general." But thanks to Marilyn, it was endurance that became her métier and passion.

Read the rest here:

Jeanette Mero’s Ozark Kaolena SWA Wins Best Condition at AERC National Championship 100

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
November 19 2019

Receiving the Best Condition award for the 2019 AERC National Championship 100-miler in Ridgecrest, California, was a perfect ending to an outstanding endurance season for Dr. Jeanette Mero’s mare Ozark Kaolena SWA. In the November 1st ride, Jay and Lena finished fourth in a ride time of 12:10, and next morning the mare was judged to be the best of the seven Top Ten horses showing for the BC award.

Most remarkable, this was Lena’s first season of endurance. The 7-year-old mare, by Kaolino X FMR Ozark Eklipse, by Cassels Roszlem, has achieved a record of 20 finishes in 21 rides, four of them wins, and two Best Conditions. Earlier this season they had easily satisfied the entry requirements for the National Championship, of 500 lifetime miles each (Lena now has 1110 miles; Jay has 5760), including completion of either a Pioneer ride together (they did several) or a 100-mile ride together. That was fulfilled with a 17th place finish in the Tevis Cup...

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Legendary Endurance Stallion Sierra Fadwah+/ Scores Big in AERC National Championship 100

His descendants finish first and third in the 100 mile Championship

by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
November 15 2019

The legend that is endurance stallion Sierra Fadwah+/ carried on at the 2019 AERC 100-mile National Championship in Ridgecrest, California, on November 2.

Winner of the 100 miler in a ride time of 10:51 was 12-year-old RTR Rimfires Etta, a granddaughter of Sierra Fadwah; and third place, by 14 minutes, was 11-year-old RTR Thunders Nusabre, a grandson of Sierra Fadwah and half brother to Etta.

Sierra Fadwah+/ was bred by Bob and Lorry Wagner of Sierra Dawn Arabians in 1973, and purchased by Jim and Jackie Bumgardner of Ridgecrest as a 7-year-old in 1980. By Fadjur out of Judhi - a full sister to another endurance legend and sire Bezatal - the Bumgardners started Fadwah in endurance, where he proved to be exceptional...

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My 2019 AERC National Championship 100 - Caroline De Bourbon

by Caroline De Bourbon

RTR Thunders Nusabre led us to a 3rd place victory at the 2019 AERC 100 Mile National Championships. Could not have asked for a better weekend with this amazing horse.

At 6:15am on Saturday, Sabre and I headed to the starting line, ready to take on the trails ahead. We headed out in the controlled start and before we knew it the trail was open! I found myself in about 20th place and quickly realized that if I wanted to place high then I would need to be competitive. Sabre picked up a lovely canter and squeezed us into the top 10 riders. We stayed with them heading into the first vet check at 17 miles.

Even though we came into VC 1 with many riders, we were able to leave 2nd due to Sabre's amazing ability to pulse down fast. We left VC 1 feeling great. Soon, Jeremy Reynolds and his horse Etta (Sabre's sister) caught us. I guess Sabre enjoyed seeing his big sis again so we continued on with Jeremy. I had ridden this part of the trail earlier in the year at the Laurel Mt duck ride so I knew where we were going. We came into Vet Check 2 (33 miles). Once again, Sabre pulsed down quickly and we were out of there in no time.

We continued up Rattlesnake Wash and down power line road into the 395 vet check (55 miles). We were held there for 30 minutes then we were back out on the trail in 3rd place. By this time I was riding with Jeremy and Alisija Zabavska. The horses flew into the hour hold at camp (65 miles).

My crew and I cooled Sabre down and immediately took him over to vet. He looked awesome on his trot out, gut sounds and everything else. However, the vet was a little concerned about his CRI. Sabre had been getting amazing CRIs all day so this through us all off a bit. The vet said that I should come back in 30 minutes to recheck him. We did another CRI a half an hour later and this time it was much better and back to normal. However, the vet said that It might be wise to see how he was feeling and if I needed to slow it down, slow it down. And I defiantly agreed.

We took off from camp following Jeremy and Alisija. Sabre felt like he had done 20 miles not 65. The hour rest definitely helped him. We began to climb up the mountain side with the sun beating down on us so Alisija I decided to take it a bit slower. We made it to the top and headed down the other side and caught up with Jeremy and all rode into the 395 south crossing. Etta seemed to be juiced so they pulled away. However, Sabre caught his second wind now that the sun had set so we cantered most of the way into the last vet check at 395 (90 miles) for a 20 minute hold.

As we were waiting to leave to head back to camp, the out timers told me that Sabre had a lot more gas in him and that he was ready to go. That boosted my confidence for the 10 mile ride home. Alisija left 1 minute after us and caught us soon after. We rode the rest of the way home together. We raced across the finish line and she beat us by a close few seconds. It didn't really matter to me as I was THRILLED by Sabre's performance on his 3rd ever 100! We walked in the last stretch with a huge smile on my face and a pep in Saber's step. I held my breath when we vetted through, crossing my fingers that we would get our completion. And yes, we did! A 3rd place completion! I was beyond amazed by this horse.

I spent most of the night getting up and walking Sabre around the fair grounds in preparation for the Best Condition showing in the morning. He seemed a little stiff the morning of but we decided to show anyway. Regardless if we got BC or not, I was extremely proud of this horse. A huge thank you to the Ribely's for putting on a wonderful National Championships and all the volunteers and ride staff for helping out. A huge congratulations to all the riders as well as Jeremy Reynolds and Alisija Zabavska for getting 1st and 2nd! It was a honor to ride with both of them for most of the day. Thanks to Bill Whitlock for letting me ride your amazing new horse and trusting me with him. Thanks to my mom and Bill for crewing for me and brining me anything and everything I needed. Last but not least, the biggest thank you goes out to my amazing steed, Sabre. None of this would be possible without him. He gave me a wonderful Tevis this year and now an outstanding 100 mile National Championship. This was my first 100 by myself and he made it super easy. Love him with all my heart!

Thank you to everyone who made this happen and I can't wait to see what next season will bring!

Rough and Ready woman, 65, earns endurance riding championship

Jeremy Reynolds and RTR Rimfires Etta Win AERC National Championship 100

November 4 2019
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Jeremy Reynolds, from Dunnellon, Florida, riding RTR Rimfires Etta, won the 100 mile AERC National Championship near Ridgecrest, California, on Saturday. The winning time for the desert ride was 10:51.

RTR Rimfires Etta is a 12-year-old Arabian mare by RTR Rimfire X PS Sierra Sage, by Kezoram. She is owned by Dublin "Tinker" Hart, of Wellington, Nevada, and her mom Kay Matthews. Tinker bred, raised, and trained the mare. Jeremy started campaigning her in late 2018; the pair finished second in this year's Tevis Cup by a whisker. Jeremy was First Middleweight in the Championship 100.

Best Condition went to fourth place Jeanette Mero and Ozark Kaolena SWA. First Heavyweight went to seventh place Bryce Hackley aboard Sericko. First Lightweight went to his mom, eighth place Peg Murphy-Hackley aboard HE Khem Chee. First Featherweight went to second place Alisija Zabavska-Rogers riding MSA Silver Gazal. First Junior was Ciera Schwartz, who finished in 28th place aboard Blue Hearrt, riding with her sponsor Robert Weldin.

67 started the Championship 100-mile ride with 36 finishing.

More stories and photos to come at: http://www.endurance.net/international/USA/2019AERCNC/

Susannah Jones and Diablo Maj Win AERC National Championship 50

November 1 2019
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Susannah Jones, from Rough & Ready, California, and her gelding Diablo Maj smoked the 50 mile AERC National Championship course in the Mojave desert near Ridgecrest on Thursday. The winning time was 3:57. Diablo Maj is a 17-year-old Arabian by Rushan AHSB X Paradisa, by El Paso. Susannah was First Featherweight.

Best Condition, sixth place, and First Lightweight went to Heather Reynolds of Dunnellon, Florida, aboard A Sudden Gift MHF. First Middleweight and second place went to Mark Montgomery aboard MM Gus, and first Heavyweight was 8th place Allan Horn aboard Shez Mostly Zipped.

80 started the Championship 50-mile ride with 61 completing.

Festivities continue at the Ridgecrest Fairgrounds, basecamp for the rides, with seminars on Friday, and the Championship 100-mile ride, and a 35-miler, 50-miler, and 65-miler on Saturday.

Florida rider wins endurance race

News-Ridgecrest.com - Full Story

Hundreds on horseback vie in local endurance championships

Florida rider wins endurance raceBy KELLY COSNER, News Review Correspondent

This year’s American Endurance Ride Championship at 20 Mule Team, known as the destination ride for our country’s most dedicated riders, was host to hundreds of competitive riders and their mounts from all over the United States and Canada.

The championship started with a 50-mile course on Oct. 31, with a 100-mile race on Nov. 2.

Riders departed from the start line at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds livestock entry gate and headed south for the foothills where they traversed dusty roads, rocky passes and moderate elevation changes.

In addition to the usual roster, this ride also had a Junior Division where riders age 16 and younger were accompanied by adult riders...

Read more here:

2019 AERC National championship 100 at 20 mule team - Nick Warhol

Nov 2, 2019
by Nick Warhol

Or, a long, busy, and very rewarding week in the desert!

A year and a half ago Robert Ribley mentioned they wanted to have the 2019 national championship ride at the 20 mule team ride, and was I interested in doing the trail? “I’m in!” I told him. I have been riding the ride since 1993, and coming down and working on the trail since the year 2000. I take that trail very personally. I love the desert and riding both my dirt bike and horses in it, so how could it be any better? Ride managers Robert and Melissa Ribley, along with 20 Mule team ride manager Brian Reeves, put a LOT of work into this event. The goal was to make it a real championship caliber event, and we did not disappoint. Everything I heard about the ride was really positive in every aspect.

I packed my truck and trailer to the gills, loaded up my big, brown, girly horse Sorsha and headed down to Ridgecrest on Sunday in a wind storm. Lucky me- the wind blowing down highway 5 was about 40 MPH, but it was a direct tail wind giving me incredible gas mileage all the way down. The wind was a little dicey when I hit the desert and headed east, but I made it to Ridgecrest without the camper being blown off the truck! I dropped Sorsha off at Gretchen Montgomery’s place (a mile and a half from the fairgrounds) where she basically boarded my horse for a week. Thanks G and Mike! On Monday morning I met Brian at the fairgrounds and helped him unload. Cripes- I thought I had a lot of stuff! He had three trailers packed full of gear. We spent half a day unpacking and getting base camp set up.

On Monday afternoon Gretchen and I loaded up the horses and went out to the new location for Vet 1 on the 100. We needed new, bigger locations for both vet 1 and vet 2 due to the size of the ride. The new check required a new mile of trail across the desert to get to the new location, so we took the ponies out for a mission and spot marked a new route from the trail to the new vet check. I liked it! You can never have enough cross country desert trails. We had a nice ride and the horses both felt fresh and ready to go. I would finish the new trail on the bike later on. Brian and I had dinner at the infamous Casa Corona and very large drinks!

On Tuesday morning I went out early in 38 degrees on the quad to start marking the trail through town. It was not as cold as being on the bike! Signs, ribbons, and lots of chalk on the ground. When it warmed up a bit I headed out on the dirt bike to mark the 35 mile orange loop. It’s the night loop for the 100, so it needs a lot more big chalk arrows on the ground. There would not be much moon on Saturday night, so it’s critical to have lots of big arrows out there. I got done in good time by the early afternoon, so I headed back out to start on the pink loop in the hard to get to areas, and I’m really glad I did since there was still so much to do. We have 50 additional miles of new trail at the ride this time for the championship 50 that had not been used before, making our total trail mileage to mark 165 miles. I rode the bike back and forth a few times on the new trail to wear it in a little...

Read more here:

Ride Schedule Available for AERC National Championships

A full schedule of events is planned for the weekend extravaganza at the National Championship Ride. 

Wednesday October 30
• Ridecamp at the Fairgrounds in Ridgecrest, California, opens at 8 AM
• Vetting in from 3-5 PM for Thursday rides
• 5-7 PM Welcome reception

Thursday October 31
• 50 mile Championship, 25 mile ride
• 7 PM Awards for 25 and 50 mile rides

Friday November 1
• 9 AM-Noon Live demonstrations and clinics
• Vetting in from 3-6 PM for Saturday rides

Saturday November 2
• 100 mile Championship, 35, 50, and 65 mile rides
• 7 PM Awards for 35 and 50 mile rides

Sunday November 3
• 8 AM Best Condition judging
• 9 AM Awards for 65 and 100 mile rides

...and much more!

View the complete ride schedule by clicking here.


Greetings everyone! It is with great pleasure that we extend a warm welcome to the endurance riders and horses who will be joining us as part of this exciting event.

The AERC National Championship Ride is your ride – it is put on for and by AERC members. It is an opportunity for AERC riders all over the country to compete in a head to head competition to determine our National Champions. The 2019 AERC National Championship Ride will be a weekend extravaganza where vendors and sponsors will come and showcase their products.

We have a variety of trails for you to ride, great vendors full of endurance “necessities”, and a talented chef onsite to provide you with meals. You will find that our base camp has plenty of camping space, electricity, running water, real flush toilets and showers, but most importantly a staff, both hired and volunteers, all working together, committed to making the AERC National Championship Ride an exciting and successful experience for all.

Good trails, good food, and good friends – we will have it all! So come and join us for a weekend of fun.

Robert and Melissa