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Endurance.Net Home 2007 Shining Moon: Thoughs and Musings - Steph Teeter
Thursday afternoon, a steady rain is falling... the Shining Moon 100 Mile Ride is taking shape. I'm in the office - community room - at the venue, at Seiichi and Harumi Hasumi's Arabian Horse Ranch. This afternoon is dedicated to an informal FEI session - talks, slides, presentations from FEI to JEF (Japan Equestrian Federation) presented to interested riders, trainers, and individual's interested in becoming FEI officials. Basically an FEI Endurance primer. Just as the sport of Endurance is growing in Japan, so is the desire to compete on the world - FEI - stage. Which means that Japan needs to start developing a pool of people who can officiate at FEI events. This session is intended to start the process.

Many of the people here for this weekend's ride have been instrumental in developing Endurance in Japan. The first inklings of Japan Endurance began in the mid 1990's, with the enthusiastic support of a few individuals such as Kunjiro Kusuyama and Takehiko Shinjo. They travelled to the United States and to Australia, two countries where the sport is strong and where the classic rides -The Tevis Cup and the Tom Quilty - are both inspirational, and symbolic of the sport of Endurance.

In Australia, Bob Sample, who is here at the invitation of the Hasumi's to participate in Japan's first 100 mile ride, hosted this intrepid group of equestrians in 1996 - they wanted to do the Tom Quilty some day - and so Bob took them riding in the Snowy River country to experience the rigors of the sport. And in the USA, Hal Hall, one of the most accomplished Endurance riders in the USA, and with over 20 Tevis buckles (the first at age 15) hosted the group of pioneers in the USA during the same period . Hal and Ann Hall are also here to ride the Shining Moon 100 Mile Ride.

Bob Sample also came to Japan for the country's first Endurance 50 mile ride on the island of Hokkaido in 1996. It's pretty special to have this group together now in Japan. On Tuesday afternoon the JEF hosted a symposium at Tokyo University Veterinary school - Hall spoke on his history with the sport and the horses he has bred, selected and competed on over the years. Becky Hart spoke on her World Championship experiences - stories of RO Grand Sultan, competition at the World Level - while a video of the 1990 World Endurance Championship in Stockholm played in the background. Mike Tomlinson DVM who has been involved in the highest level of the sport for decades, Bob Sample and his legacy as a horse trainer and Endurance competitor, Connie Creech who's contributions as competitor, ride manager, official have helped shape the sport, and who also competed in the World Endurance championship in Sweden, guiding her horse to a top ten finish and US team medal, and Dinah Rojek with her decades of competition and ride hosting, and breeding and training top Endurance horses ... all this Endurance history and expertise in one room! I was actually quite moved and impressed. How special it is for the Japanese to be introduced to Endurance by these fine individuals, with their combined knowledge, their thousands of miles of experience, their enthusiasm - still - for this sport, and a lifetime of dedication. And they are willing and excited to travel to this small country, to give Japan Endurance the next big push for growth - to share their knowlege.

As I try to write this in the corner of the room - my attention is constantly being pulled over to Mike Tomlinson's presentation - he's giving an amazing summary of the International growth of the sport- the issues, problems, imminent changes at the FEI level ... plus a lot of history - how's and why's - it's pretty interesting. A very concise summary. Becky and Dinah are going to talk next - on the steps to take to become an FEI Judge or Steward.

more later -