Saturday, October 3, 2020

Meet My Endurance Horse: Mershann

by Merri

15-year-old Arabian gelding
by Merlann X Mah Roshan, by Ibn Raffinee
owned by Nina Bomar

3595 Endurance miles

It was not love at first sight when Nina first laid eyes on 4-year-old "Cheeky."

"My longtime farrier had told me about him," Nina says. "He had a client who needed to downsize and she had bred/raised him and wanted to be sure he went to a good home. My farrier told me to go get him.

"I drove out with my trailer, and when I got there, I wasn’t impressed. He was scrawny, skinny, and pretty lifeless. I felt sorry for him. He had never been in a trailer, and I figured if I couldn’t get him in, that would be my excuse for not taking him. I opened the trailer door and he practically ran me down to get inside. I truly believe that he chose me!"

After Nina got him home, her friend came by to see the 'new horse.' It was not love at first sight for her, either. "I remember her saying... why did you take him, he’s not a very good looking horse? She kept repeating herself almost as if she was in shock that I took him."

But the gelding just got more beautiful as the days, weeks, and months went by. He loved the trails and Nina ponied him everywhere in the hills above Malibu, California.

"He turned out to be a very smart and loyal companion... strong too! We finished the Virginia City 100 and the Tevis 100, though unfortunately we were pulled for thumps at the Tevis during the finish vetting, which was pretty devastating considering he got all A’s on his vet card. It was a great disappointment but he has redeemed himself many times over since.

"He’s a great multi-day horse, having completed many XP Rides. This year we were set to get our decade team award! Not sure that will happen with the lack of SoCal rides.

"He’s a joy to be around. He’s quiet and a thinker and he likes to do things right. He’s a great traveler and super independent. I love him with all my heart."

Friday, August 28, 2020

Meet My Endurance Horse: Frosty Oak Mackenzie

by Merri

Frosty Oak Mackenzie
16-year-old Cleveland Bay/Thoroughbred mare
owned by Jessica Isbrecht

125 LD Miles
50 Endurance miles

Mackenzie led a pretty sheltered life in New Jersey until two years ago when Jessica and her partner Byron took up their Digital Nomadic travels across the United States. “She's seen so many things traveling around the country since then,” Jessica said.

Jessica has brought the mare along slowly and carefully, and the pair started competing in endurance together in 2018; they’ve completed Limited Distance rides in Maine, California, Idaho, and, most recently, Mackenzie’s first 50 in Oregon.  

Mackenzie was injured as a weanling and spent six months on stall rest, and Jessica thinks this may have impaired her social development. “She has never quite known how to act around other horses. In 2018 she was beat up by a group of mares she was boarded with. She was kicked in the stifle, among other places. It was a long recovery. Since then she's been very defensive of her space around unfamiliar horses. She is a master of the ‘mare glare’ and is beginning to get a reputation at endurance rides! 

“Her public persona aside, she's a very sweet and intelligent mare. She's a real people-lover, always curious to meet you and show off her smile trick. She loves food so I've incorporated positive reinforcement or clicker training into our riding. She seems to enjoy puzzling out obstacles but will paw or hold her front leg up to express frustration if I've confused her. 

“One of her favorite things seems to be following along at liberty on the trail when I ride River, her companion. Sometimes she lags behind to grab a snack, then canters to catch up, occasionally throwing in some joyful bucks. She's very competitive and loves racing with River too. 

“Just recently, she was following loosely on a trail in Montana when we had to navigate a particularly tricky fallen tree. After inspecting it for a minute, she decided she didn't like the look of it, turned and walked 50 feet downhill and followed a stream bed until it was clear enough to come back uphill to rejoin us on the trail. I'm always impressed when she demonstrates problem solving skills like this. 

“She's a very special horse, not only because of her unusual breeding but because of the bond we share.

“She means the world to me not just because of her winning personality  but because I inherited her from my mother in 2013 after she was taken by cancer. Mom loved her so much! I feel like a piece of my mom's spirit lives on in Mackenzie.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Meet My Endurance Horse: Fire Mt Malabar

by Merri

Fire Mt Malabar
21-year-old Arabian gelding
owned by Lee Pearce
ridden by Lee Pearce and Naomi Preston
bred by Sue Robinson

8210 AERC Miles
48 Best Condition awards
2019 AERC Hall of Fame Equine

Knucklehead. Nutcase. Idiot. Wacko. Those were a few of the choice descriptions used for this gelding early in his endurance career. Watching him steadily trot down the endurance trail now with focus and poise, it’s hard to believe he’s the same horse.

In his early 50-mile endurance rides, Malabar tried to run off the first 25 miles. He’d occasionally throw in a spook, and he just was so powerful and fast, and on a 16-hand horse for an as-yet-to-be-experienced heavyweight rider, that can be a bit intimidating. “He was so hot, and he scared the hell out of me,” Lee says.

But over the years, and over the thousands of miles, they became a super team. After 2 seasons of conservative riding, the next year they picked up speed… and started picking up Best Condition awards. In 2011, they won AERC’s National Best Condition award. In 2016, Lee and Malabar passed 5000 miles together. By the end of 2016, they had 43 BC awards together.

Naomi started riding Malabar in 2017 at age 18. That year, Malabar compled over 900 miles, including back-to-back Pioneer 5-day rides at the Grand Canyon and Outlaw and the Virgin. Over the next two 900+ mile seasons, they added another 5 Best Condition awards.

You might say Malabar got a ‘second wind’ in his career with a lightweight rider, but you can’t ignore his genetics that most obviously have contributed to a super endurance horse. Out of the mare Malabar Dawn, he’s by the legendary endurance stallion Sierra Fadwah, whose get have well over 120,000 endurance miles.

And Malabar isn’t done yet!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Meet My Endurance Horse: ALA August Haziz

by Merri

ALA August Haziz
19-year-old half Arabian gelding
owned by Carol Brand

Sire: Black Pure Egyptian Arabian
Dam: Sweet pinto mare, part Welch part Thoroughbred, 1/4 Arabian
Bred by: Amy Heward
Foaled: August 16, 2000 (of course in August!)
Color: Black Tobiano Pinto

AERC Miles: 2566
LD Miles: 295

"We purchased August in Jan. 2007 as an unbroken 7-year-old for an endurance prospect for resale," Carol says. "We had him started under saddle and I began riding him on LDs that spring. I really liked him and he was doing well. I was thinking I had found my next horse and took him off the sales list.

"The following summer we had a client come to look at endurance prospects. I did not show her August....but she spotted him in the herd and started asking about him. Long story short...she bought him for the price of a year's worth of hay for the whole ranch...and I had to let him go. I cried...and then I cried off and on for the next two years.

"Then I called..
August was not the horse for her and she was willing to sell him back!
We traded two other horses for him and I got him back!!

"Over the years, August has become my one and only mount. We have now retired from buying, selling and raising endurance horses and he's my only horse.

"August is the kindest horse I have ever known. I believe he really likes me and looks out for me. He has been a wonderful endurance horse. We have done 100s and we have done LDs. Now we love trail riding and exploring the Owyhees.

"Now as he is about to turn 20 in August, and I will turn 71 in August, he is my perfect "little old lady horse".

August is always dressed in his formal evening attire. He is the personification of Mr. Carson, the butler on Downton Abby.

"I have never seen him roll in the mud. He is somehow always clean and dignified. He is the leader of his small herd, keeping everyone in line in his kind but forceful way.

"He's my horse, and I love him...and he loves me too!"

Monday, June 29, 2020

Meet My Endurance Horse: DWA Saruq

by Merri

DWA Saruq
17-year-old Arabian gelding
owned by Connie Holloway

This horse is a character. On the trail he can be lazy, or he can be a rocket on the verge of running off. He can be very aloof, or he can come up to you expecting attention and a treat. He can be Mr. Cranky Pants if you wake him up from a nap to go for a ride (one should really try to avoid that!). He can swing his head around like a club; I heard he broke a previous riders nose. He’ll snarl at other horses on the trail if they try to pass him - we think that’s a stink eye tactic he used on the race track.

If DWA Saruq were a human, he’d be George Thorogood, with a cigar hanging out of his sneering mouth, singing “Bad to the Bone.“ He’s a fun ride.

Bred by DWA Arabians, he’s by DWA Ziffalat out of the Sabson mare DWA Ebony Star. He’s got 2755 endurance miles, most of those with Connie aboard, including the Big Horn 100. He made the cover of Endurance News in 2018.