Endurance Horse Racing
Friends and visitors to Tamber Bey are always intrigued to hear about our endurance racing adventures. Barry has been involved in endurance racing since 2000 and Jennifer started back in 1989. We regularly compete in 50- and 100-mile races around the western U.S. These races cover remote, often rough terrain that takes considerable skill, equestrian expertise and tactic to traverse successfully. These are timed events with strict veterinary controls along the way to ensure the welfare of our equine partners. Because we regularly hear “So, how are the horses doing?” I thought it would be fun to dedicate a page to our endurance adventures. Here, we will post the results of recent races and other horsin’ around stories. Pictured right is LV Cambridge at the 2005 National Championship near Custer National Park and the Black Hills in Montana, where Barry finished FIRST in his division in this national competition.
Barry and Jennifer Waitte
2012 Tevis Cup - Here We Come!
Lake Tahoe to Auburn, CA
August 4, 2012
The horses are training hard and we are on track to compete in the 2012 Western States 100 Mile Race on Aug. 4. The race, also known at the Tevis Cup, starts in the mountains east of Squaw Valley and finishes in Auburn, Ca. This year, Jennifer will ride her young mare M Dash Czoe. This will be Czoe's first 100 mile race. Czoe has been training well this year and recently won the FEI* 50 mile Yosemite Gold Cup, also taking the best condition award. Finishing second right behind her was her stablemate M Dash Stella, ridden by Jenni Smith. Jenni will again ride BA Bearcat at this year's Tevis. You can get more info and follow the race webcast on race day at www.teviscup.org.
Bear Wins Again!
Just Coe Crazy, Morgan Hill, CA
May 27, 2012
Jenni Smith took BA Bearcat to the Just Coe Crazy ride in Morgan Hill for a little tune-up training and won the 30-mile race handily. Jennifer rode M Dash Czoe in the 50-mile race and was comfortably in 2nd place and headed toward the finish when she missed a critical turn and found herself off course by a few miles. She was able to get back on course but not maintain her placement. She still finished in 5th place.
Yosemite Gold Cup, CA
April 23, 2012
One of our goals for 2013 is to ride in internationally sanctioned FEI 100-mile events. This requires a long qualification process. To qualify, horses must complete in designated events at first the 50, then 75 or 2-day 100, then 100-mile distance. It can take a year or more to get a horse qualified to compete in an FEI 100-mile race. M Dash Stellar and M Dash Czoe completed the first phase of this qualification process by finishing first and second at the FEI* Yosemite Gold Cup in April. Czoe also won the coveted best condition award, her first! Their next FEI event will be Thanksgiving weekend in Monterey. This will be a challenging 2-day 100 mile race in which the horses must complete both days and pass the strict FEI vetting procedure. If they do, then they can step up to the next level.
Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!
Winter Desert Series, Ridgecrest CA
January and February, 2012
Following the 2011 Tevis Cup on Oct. 8, the horses got a long rest as we headed into the busiest time of the year at the winery -- crush. Team Jenn and Jenni finished in the top 20 at Tevis. It wasn't the top 10 finish they hoped for, but it wasn't the Tevis Cup they hoped for either. The race date was postponed until Fall due to the snowpack in the Sierras. Then, a few days before the new race day, it snowed again, making the Sierras impassable. Rather than cancelling the event, the organizers shortened the course and used the latter sections of the Western States Trail. This resulted in a much easier, faster race. Not the gruelling hills and canyons they had trained for. Nicknamed "Tevis Light," the horses nonetheless did very well.
The 2012 season got off to a great start with top 10 finishes by Barry and Jenn at the Fire Mountain 50 in January. In February, Team Tamber Bey finished 5, 6, 7 and 8th in the 20 Mule Team 65. The team rode together all day to win the Team award.
Splish - Splash!
Fireworks 50, Santa Cruz, CA
Tiki is seen here splashing his way through the San Lorenzo river just north of Santa Cruz, California at the beginning of a 50 mile horse race with rider Barry Waitte. This race took Barry and partner Jennifer Nice on Czoe through the Santa Cruz mountains and down to the coast and back, where they finished 6th and 7th. This was a fog filled day where the riders claim they only saw the sun in the last 2 miles, where most of the day was overcast and at times so wet that drips of water could be seen dripping from their helmets. This is one of the favorite races of Barry and Jennifer, not only for the scenery of hills, trees, and a dramatic river crossing, but also for the pre-race BBQ they host at the ride camp the night before. This year's get together also included a reunion of Barry's college roommates - two of which had not seen each other in over 30 years! All in great fun. Congratulations to Tiki and Czoe for a great ride and successful finish.
Rolling Thru (Up & Down) the Hills
Sonoma 50, Lake Sonoma, CA
In the first race of the year where the Tamber Bey team fielded three horses, Tiki, Bear and Stella were put to the test in the hills around Lake Sonoma. What was once a pretty quick ride 'around' the lake, a winter storm made for some course changes this year that sent this ride up and down some pretty steep inclines all day over a 50 mile course that added up to over 10,000 feet of climbing elevation! Kudos go to Bear and Stella, ridden by Jennifer and friend Cris Jones, for completing the race in the top 10! Barry and Tiki had a shorter day as Tiki's right leg came up sore at the 35 mile mark so they called it quits for the day. The weather was beautiful and maintained a sunny but somewhat cool temp all day that the horses were able to stay cool. The Tamber Bey team also benefited from some new crew members and future endurance riders, Victor and Catherine Gallegos who were attentive to all the needs of horses and riders (and gets credit for the picture to the left).
Riding in the Desert
Nevada Derby, Reno, NV
It's been awhile since we've posted anything on our Horsin' Around page, for several reasons. After taking three horses to the Desert Gold 50 in Monterey last Thanksgiving Weekend (and all finishing in the top 10), we decided to take the winter off. With a long, wet winter season ahead of us, it was a good decision, as we wouldn't have gotten much good riding in anyway. We started the horses back up in the spring. In early April, Jennifer took Stella and Czoe to Reno, Nevada for a 25-mile tune-up race and finished first and second. On April 30, she took Stella back to the American River 50 and finished 13th overall on what turned out to be a gruelling course. Stella is Jennifer's mount for Tevis this year, so check back to get updates on how they are doing. We'll do a countdown to Tevis again and keep you posted on their progress.
Makin' A Splash
Fireworks 50, Santa Cruz, CA
August 7, 2010
Barry and I had one of the best rides of the year together at the Fireworks 50 race in Santa Cruz. This is one of Barry's favorites. We took Tiki and Czoe and the plan was to have no plan--just enjoy the day and not worry about riding fast or racing. The ride started at 6 am and we casually made our way up to the starting line about 6:10. That put us just about at the back of the pack. I was a little anxious about riding Czoe because she can be a handful. I just wanted to get through the river crossing without parting company with my horse. Last year, Czoe was quite "explosive" about crossing the river. This year she was quite calm and sensible. The rest of the day was great--beautiful weather and scenery. We passed horses all day long without paying much attention to our overall placing. It wasn't until we left the final vet check with about 7 miles to go that we learned that we were in 4th and 5th place! We kept this placing and finished the day as we had started it. JN
Way to Go, Stella!
2010 Tevis Cup
It was monumentally disappointing for me to not be able to compete in this year's Tevis Cup, especially after Bear and I had had such a fantastic year leading up to it. He had done so well in every one of his Tevis prep races. I was very confident that we would again have a fabulous day and finish well. Unfortunately, it just wasn't in the cards for usthis year, thanks to a "mystery" lameness that appeared a few weeks before Tevis. However, we still had Madeleine and Stella in the game, and they did great! Once again, Stella surpassed our expectations by having a great day and finishing the gruelling course in 29th place. This was not only her first Tevis but also her first 100 mile race. Madeleine gets all the credit for bringing Stella along so well this year. Way to go, girls! . JN
Next stop: tevis!
Mt. Diablo 50, Danville, CA
June 27th, 2010
Following three days of training on the Tevis trail in mid June, Madeleine Kirsch and I rode the gruelling Mt. Diable 50 as our last Tevis prep ride before the big race on July 24th. We were blessed with cooler temperatures than we've had in years past. Bear had a near-perfect day. We started with the front-runners and maintained a steady pace to finish 2nd overall. Our finishing time was an hour ahead of last year's time. Bear also won the AERC Best Condition award and the AHA Best Condition award for the second consecutive year. Crossing the finish line not far behind me was Madeleine and the ever-surprising Stella in 9th place, once again surpassing our expectatios . With this final test behind us our focus is on Tevis. Bear and I will "ride to plan," while Madeleine will guide Stella not only through her first 100 but her first Tevis as well. JN
The Hills are alive!
Cache Creek 50, Williams, CA
may 8th, 2010
Pictured right is Tiki and I finishing the 50 mile endurance ride at Cache Creek in Northern California, finishing 12th place out of over 80 horses. The 'Tiki-monster' (as he has affectionly known) did a great job all day, as we rode from a casual (read late) starting about 70th place to be up towards the front by the end of the day. As you can see Jennifer is waiting at the finish, who while starting the race with me withdrew from the ride about half way through it due to stifness in the hind end by her horse Czoe. This ride is known for it's hills, and as I use a gps along with a website (www.strava.com) to document each ride, it showed that we pulled 7 (seven) catagory climbs (in biking terms) with total elevation for the day approaching 7,000 feet. Put that in the context of we also decented 7,000 feet over a 50 mile course, and now you can appreciate how impressive these horses are in their athleticism. Now incorporate a wet spring and you get fields and hillsides of green and flowers that almost made you sing like in the 'Sound of Music' - but I did not. Tiki continues to develop and impress me with his drive and balace as an endurance horse as he tackled this course in fine form. BW
Fabulous finish for Bear and Stella
American River Classic 75/50, Auburn, CA
April 24th, 2010
After riding all winter in the Mojave Desert, it was great to get back into the mountains closer to home. The American River Classic 75 was the first of three prep rides that Bear and I would do to get ready for Tevis. The 75 mile race started in Folsom on the banks of Folsom Lake. The trail, which was mostly winding single-track, followed the lake east and then up the hill to the Auburn Staging Area, which is the Tevis finish. This was the 30 mile mark. After the vet check, the trail continued east down into the American River canyon, across No Hands Bridge and on to Cool. We rode another 25+ miles before picking up the Tevis Trail again at Poverty Bar and riding back up to the staging area for the finish. Bear and I finished third overall and, aside from getting off course a few times, had a near-perfect ride. Madeleine rode Stella (pictured) on the 50. She did the same course at I did, minus a 25-mile loop around Cool. This was Stella's fifth race at this distance and she really shined. They finished 9th overall and Stella received the second highest vet score at the BC judgeing. Madeleine hopes to ride Stella at Tevis this year, and after her performance at the American River Classic, we are all confident that she can do it!
Special thanks for my dear friend Kristan Flynn for driving all the way from Bodega to crew for us! JN
Muddy ride turns into strong finish
20 Mule team, ridgecrest, CA
february 27th, 2010
The day started with rain, ended with rain, and we had rain throughout most of the day. Other than that, it was a perfect day! Notice the happy expression on my face as I sit on a wet saddle on a wet horse in a wet desert! Conditions aside, Tiki, Bear and Stella were stellar performers in this 65 mile race through the desert foothills of the Majove Desert in Southern California. The surprize of the day was Tiki, running his longest distance to date, who came on strong and got stronger as the day went on, finishing the last eight miles at a blistering pace. Tiki and I finished third, Bear and Jenn were fourth and Madeleine and Stella finished middle of the field, about two hours behind us. Another longtime friend, Jackie Bumgardner, joined the Tamber Bey Team to help us win the overall team award with the fastest combined time of the four riders. Most of the day I tried to keep a good attitude by saying "it could be worse - it could be snowing!", but at the end, I was really pleased with the ride as I eventually dried out. BW
From behind the ears
GET'R DONE 50, iNYOKERN, CA
january 16th, 2010
We are asked at times what it's like to ride in these long distance endurance races. Well, here ya go - take a look at what I saw for mile after mile as Tiki and I rode through the Mojave Desert at the January Get'r'Done 50 mile race. Jenn and Bear were by my side all day and we made good time to finish 8th and 9th on a totally awesome desert winter day. This was a really fun race, as the trail was easy (flat) and the footing for the horses - excellent. It's clear that Bear still had some endurance in him from his summer racing as he really was the stronger horse at the finish. But no complaints on this ride - with the exception of sheep in a field that Tiki wanted no part of, and took me on a unexpected diversion off the trail and into the shrubs to avoid them. We finished at about 2:30p, and as a real show of endurance, Jenn went back out on a 12 mile 'pleasure' ride on her 5 year old mare that we brought along on the trip. I, on the other hand, took a nap. BW
Maiden voyage to A desert ride
Death Valley Encounter, Ridgecrest, CA
December 28th & 29th, 2009
We finished our 2009 racing season with a trip to the Majove Desert to do a couple 50 mile rides west of the town of Ridgecrest. Jenn was the real racer as she did two 50 mile days on two different horses. The first day we both went out with Jenn on Bear and me on Tiki. It was a pretty brisk morning (translated = COLD), but with a few miles under our belt - make that saddle - we all warmed up and had a great ride. For us it was a very casual ride as both Bear and Tiki have been on vacation for a few months so we cruised to a 15th and 16th place finish at about 2:30p. The second day Jenn rode her young mare Stella for 50 miles, finishing her ride at about 3pm. That second day I took my other saddle out, one names TREK that has two wheels, and worked over about 65 miles of road and pavement throughout the desert. let me state here that this desert is NOT flat! At the end the horses looked great, and I needed a nap! This trip also designated our maiden voyage in our new rig and trailer. Ahhhh - all the comforts of home right behind the drivers seat - literally! . BW
GET'R 'DONE 50, iNYOKERN, CA
oCTOBER, 31ST, 2009
After almost a year off, Tiki and I made our return to the race course in the Mojove Desert with this first of the Fall season rides. Both Tiki and I took most of the 2009 year off with unrelated injuries, but where in great form from start to finish in the 'limited distance' 30 mile course placing 3rd. The day started and finished with perfect weather, and Tiki had his best friend Joey at his side all day (ridden by Jennifer). Both horses trotted and cantered through the desert morning as they and their riders watched the sun rise. Tiki was very spirited in the early morning, probably pretty anxious to be around so many other horses at the start, but within a few miles he settled in and really got his stride. As Tiki's co-pilot, I will say it felt great to be 'back in the saddle' on this big boy, and looking forward to our next adventure. BW
Stella and Czoe Graduate!
Camp Far West 50, Roseville, CA
September 5th, 2009
I felt like a proud parent sending her children off to college as Stella and Czoe completed their first 50-mile race. Stella was ridden by Madeleine Kirsch and Czoe was ridden by Pascale Soumoy, both good friends and excellent endurance riders. After raising them from birth, it was incredibly rewarding to see these two talented 5-year-olds (the horses, not the riders!) soar through the course. It was admittedly a relatively short (about 42 miles) and moderate course. I picked it specifically for these reasons, knowing it would be well suited for them. We were blessed with mild temperatures and a small field of competitiors ... about 60 horses in the 50 miler. Czoe showed the natural talent she has exhibited all through her youth. The race was easy for her. It was Stella who was the the true star. She led our little group, exhibited great courage and had excellent recoveries throughout the day. I rode Joey in case the girls needed a chaperone, and, aside from a few tricky water crossings, they were fine on their own. The three of us finished the day in about 20th place! JN
The Tevis cup
Western states 100, Lake Tahoe to auburn, CA
august 1st, 2009
As I rode Bear along the Tevis Trail, a wide spectrum of emotions crossed my mind. For 100 miles, I laughed, smiled, cursed, cringed and almost cried. I repeatedly reminded myself that I had trained for this race for 18 months. However, this reminder was often overshadowed by other, more dominant thoughts, such as “My body aches. It’s blazing hot. I’m tired. I’m thirsty. I’m hungry. I’m angry. This really isn’t much fun. Why am I doing this? Am I crazy?” Then, the second I crossed the finish line, my first thought was, “I can’t wait to do this again next year!” We crossed the finish line at 1:35 a.m. in ninth place. I rode my lap around McCain Stadium on a horse that was a fresh and feisty as he was at the start, which now was a good feeling. My friends and crew members cheered from the sidelines, as they had all day. I was exhausted but it was a great feeling. There are so many things about riding the Tevis—the seeming impossibility of the feat, the spectacular trail, the history, the months and miles of training to prepare for it, the spirit of the camaraderie, the support of good friends and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing the finish line. Even failure is met with determination to try again next year. That’s all part of riding the Tevis. At the end of the long day, I completed the course—and I can’t wait for next year. JN
Birthday win for Bear
Mt. Diablo 50, Walnut Creek, CA
June 27th, 2009
Today was Bear's 14th birthday, and we celebrated it by competing in the Mt. Diablo 50-mile ride. It was also the Arabian Horse Association's Region III Championship. Bear and I were eligible to compete in the AHA event because he is a purebred Arabian and I am a member of AHA. Last year, we used this ride as a prep for Tevis, because of the unforgiving heat and hills. It wound up being a long, hot (105 degrees) day and we finished middle of the pack, with me on Bear, Barry on Reve and our friend Sally on Joey. A few weeks after the Mt. Diablo ride, Tevis was cancelled due to the terrible fires. Not only was that a huge disappointment, but we felt like we suffered through that hot, tough ride for nothing! This year I again used the ride as a chance to get in some tough heat and hill training. Once again, the temperatures soared well above 100 degrees. I rode at a fast pace to beat as much of the heat as possible. The ride started at 5:30 am and I finished 3rd overall at about 12:45 pm. I actually led part of the race, but was passed by two friends leaving the final vet check at 40 miles and decided not to chase them, as neither were entered in the AHA championship. With a 20-minute lead on the next AHA horse, I knew I had the championship and so I just cruised the last 10 miles. Bear also won the AHA best condition award. Our next stop is Tevis on Aug. 1. Stay tuned! JN
Horses that fly in the wind
Git-R-Done 100 Mile, Inyokern, CA
April 11th, 2009
In a day that mother nature challenged riders, crew and spectators with winds gusting up to 35 mph, Jennifer and 'Reve' emerged from the darkness in 1st place in the Git-R-Done 100 mile endurance horse race in the middle of the Majove Desert. Though this race course is primarly flat, the wind in the air and the deep sand on the ground keep the horses at an even pace all day and into the evening. Jenn started at 6am with about 15 other 100 mile competitors and even more 75 mile riders, but clearly took a lead position early on. About half way through the ride Jenn let a lead horse go where there was eventually a 20 minute gap between her and the lead horse at the 75 mile park. Jenn's patience paid off when the lead horse was 'pulled' for a lamness issue at the next vet check and Jenn found herself in 1st place, where at almost 9:30pm in total darkness she came acorss the finish line. For the record, about 50% of the horses at this ride were pulled for one reason or another, and the final horse came in at 5am - 23 hours after they started! Now that's endurance! BW
Fire Mountain 50, RIdgecrest, CA
January 24th, 2009
In one of our best showings at an endurance race, team 'Tamber Bey' finished first, second and third in the Fire Mountain 50 mile desert classic event. Truth be told, all the horses and riders came in together, but they do not allow ties, so we had to chose the placements (the three hoses literally walked across the finish line). The first place horse was Reve (aka; Dreamm On), ridden by our friend Madeleine Kirsch (on the right). This was her first ride on Reve, and she did so well with him that they both were also awarded the 'Best Condition' award at the completion of the ride. Another friend Jenni Smith (on the left) rode the always happy Joey (aka; Jotyr) to a second place finish. Jenni is becoming a regular on Joe, as they seem to have bonded over the past few months and have a great time on the trail. Coming in third was Bear (aka; Bearcat) with our team leader Jennifer in the saddle. As you look at the picture on the left, you see how they rode all day - side by side. The horses really like that. What you also see is that there is no one behind them, because almost from the start they had a 10-15 minute lead, and at the end the next riders came in almost 30 minutes behind them. This was really a great ride as the weather was perfect, the horses did well, and at the end, we drank some great wine! Congratulations to the all the boys (horses) and girls (riders) on a perfect race. BW
Where the hell is Randsburg?
Death Valley Encounter multi-day, Randsburg, CA
December 28-31, 2008
Off and on since the early 1990s, Jenn has been making the annual trek to Death Valley for the Death Valley Encounter. In the old days, the route took riders through the center of the valley, with an overnight stop at Furnace Creek, before heading southwest through the beautiful yet rugged Panamint Mountain Range. The ride no longer goes through the valley, but instead skirts around the foothills near Randsburg, Johannesburg and Ballarat (a place I’m sure you’ve never heard of, much less visited) outside of Death Valley. This year, the weather was beautiful—worth mentioning because it can be awful. We took Tiki and Bear, and had a wonderful time, finishing consistently in the top 5 each day. People often ask us, why on earth we would choose to spend the holiday in the desert when we could be skiing in Aspen (or anywhere else for that matter). Well, we might be crazy, but we have a lot of fun! In any case, we finished in the top 5 both days, a great achievement for Bear and Tiki. We had so much fun - we're coming back next month for more desert riding! BW
Turkeys in Monterey Bay
Desert Gold Multi-Day 50/50, FORT ORD/MONTEREY, CA
nOVEMBER 29-30, 2008
Jenn and I went to Monterey right after Thanksgiving with a trailer full of horses to ride two 50 mile rides in two days. Our horses Tiki, Reve and Joey made the trip, and our friend Pascale met us there for the post-turkey adventure. This ride took us all over the old Fort Ord Army base just north of Monterey. Starting at 6:30a on Saturday for the first day, Jenn on Reve and with me on Tiki, we set out in the back of the pack with a slow start on a foggy morning. The first 10 miles went by uneventful until I was blinded by the sunrise in my eyes, then suddenly blind-sided by a Manzanita Tree in the face that took me completely off Tiki. With no harm, no foul - I jumped back on and Tiki followed Reve most of the rest of the day. The next day was more of the same of beautiful weather, excellent footing, and motivated horses. We did the same start of beginning slow and worked our way up the rankings all day. At the end of both days, we were the model of consistancy with a 9th and 10th finishes both days - with over 90 horses in each race. I was so impressed with Tiki and his 'endurance' of going 100 miles in two days - especially the last 10 miles on the second day where he really kicked in the speed to the finish. Reve was his usual all business self - and cruised both days with Jenn. Pascale and Joey had two great days finishing about an hour behind us both days. We really had a good time - all 100 miles - and at the end celebrated Jenn's birthday on Sunday as well. Happy Birthday Jenn. BW
Tiki comes in first!
De valle Vulture 5o, Livermore, CA
October 19, 2008
Ever go to a party and no one else showed up? This race was a two day 50 miler, and we went to compete for the second day only. In most 'multi-day' races, more than half of the competitors will race both days. However, because the course was so difficult and most of the riders got lost at some point on the first day, no one stayed for the second day! So we started the 'second' race day with about only 11 other horse and riders, Jenn riding Joe, me on Tiki and our friend Kristan on her mare - and finished the 50 mile ride at 4:30p - in FIRST PLACE! Believe me - there was no speed involved here. Under normal circumstances we would have finished mid-pack, but this day all the speedsters went home early and we rode all alone all day. In any case, it was a great ride, and after crossing the finish line almost an hour before anybody else, Jenn and Joe, placing 2nd, also won the overall Best Condition award as well. So Tiki got his first win - and as time goes on no one will remember that no one else showed up! BW
Bear and Jenn Double up with win and best condition
Virginia City 100, Virginia City, Nevada
September 20th, 2008
This race is often cited as being tougher than Tevis (see below). It certainly is rockier! Jennifer won the race in 2000 on the great Al Baraaq, and her goal this year was to take Bear (whom she has nicknamed “Cheshire Bearcat” because of the faces he makes) and Reve, and to do well. Once again, our good friend Kristan Flynn was riding Reve. This would be the last race of the 2008 season for these two horses, as they have each posted excellent finishes and wins during the year. This would be by far the toughest race these two horses have ever done. The race started at 5 am on Main Street in historic Virginia City. From there, the riders faced a long day of grueling hills and unforgiving rocks. Jennifer and Kristan rode smartly and patiently, working their way up through the pack. At the first vet check at 25 miles they were in about 15th place. By the 51 mile vet check they had moved up to 5th and 6th. By the 75 mile vet check, they were 3rd and 4th. They left the final vet check at 93 miles (in the dark), in 2nd and 3rd place and caught the leader shortly after that. They cruised in for the finish line, crossing it in 1st place at 9:58 pm. Jennifer and Kristan wanted to declare a tie, but ride management later said that they don’t recognize ties at this event, so Jennifer and Bear took first, and Kristan and Reve were second. The next day, Bear was awarded the Best Condition Award. BW
Tiki compete's in first 50 miler
Patriot’s 50, Greenville, Ca
September 12, 2008
Tiki is finally running with the big boys! After completing several “adventurous” training 25-mile rides, Tiki, ridden by me, completed his first 50-mile race. Aside from getting dragged around by him at the vet checks, he performed perfectly. Because this was his first 50, we weren’t racing, and so at our medium-casual pace we finished middle of the pack in a respectable time. Joey, ridden by Jennifer, rode with me. It was also a nice training ride for Joey, and it helped Tiki to have him there. Our plan is to continue to pair these two up for 50 mile rides until Tiki has built a solid foundation and is ready to move up in speed and distance sometime next year. BW
Barry 'hangs on' to finish 25 miles
Fireworks 25, Santa Cruz, Ca
August 2, 2008
We brought Tiki to this ride in Santa Cruz ride to start getting him in shape for the longer rides. My intention was to just cruise through the 25 miles and let Tiki have some fun. The weather was perfect, and we were fortunate to have our friends Kevin and Suzie McDonald come the night before the ride for a BBQ and wine. Kevin was so attentive that he also showed up before the race started the next morning with lattes and muffins. Yes - we totally suffer on these rides! I thought this would be a really easy short ride. What I didn't take into account was how upset Tiki was going to be leaving his 'girlfiend' in camp at the beginning of the ride. Jenn brought her mare, Stella, to the ride to teach her trailering, camping and to take on a short ride while Tiki and I were out on the course. When we left camp - Tiki went nuts! For the first eight miles I sincerely was sweating-nervous, especially at mile four we had to cross a river that was about four feet deep. After about an hour Tiki calmed down (as did I), and we cruised the rest of the morning finishing just before noon. Needless to say, after three hours Tiki was very happy to finish the ride because he was back at camp - with Stella! BW
a day in the redwoods with a 'bear'
Redwood 50, Orick, Ca
July 19th, 2008
This ride took place in the deep redwoods north of Eureka, California, almost in Oregon. I rode Reve this ride, and it was about as perfect of a ride that you could have. The beauty of this ride is that we rode all day at the feet of some of the tallest trees in the world. On this day, Jenn rode Bear and our friend Kristan rode Joey. As it has become our signature style, we started the race almost in last place, letting not only the front runners go out in front of us, but most of the main pack of about 50 horses as well. Letting our horses warm up slowly, we got to a steady pace about 10 miles into the ride and never let up, passing most everyone throughout the day. Reve felt real good all day, and our three horses just pushed each other all day. We finished the day in 5th, 6th and 7th place, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon in the redwoods before heading home the next morning. BW
Once in a Life Time
Tevis Cup 100, Tahoe-Auburn, Ca
Though this race took place in 2005, it still to this day resides as one of the most incredible rides I have ever had - so it is worth including it here. The Tevis Cup is the hardest endurance race in the world with 250 horses covering 100 miles and 40,000 feet of elevation change - all in one day! The horse I rode that day was the amazing 'Streak', and he with all the heart and soul gave me the ride of my life. This race in perfect conditions is hard enough, but we had some other challenges come up that both Streak and I had to overcome. In the early morning about 15 miles into the race, Streak suffered a 'puncture wound' in his back leg, but did not show any pain or lameness. This was thoroughly examined by the vets right then, and we were allowed to continue on with caution. At this point we were in 78th place and we still had 85 miles left to go! Later that afternoon Streak tripped completely head-over-heels, tossed me off over the front, and then totally rolled over me. I sincerely thought we were done in more ways that one - but as I examined him (and me), all was okay and off we went. At the 67 mile check point and over 12 hours into the race we had moved up to 25th place. As we left on the last leg for the finish and into the dark night, Streak caught a 'second wind' and it was all I could do to hang on - in the dark with only moon light to see by – passing horses and riders all along the way, and Streak moved us up to finish in 9th place. Streak is an amazing athlete, but it was his ‘heart and soul’ that carried him (and me) for that 18 hour - 100 mile journey. Streak had a very short endurance career because two years later he contracted a fairly rare but not fatal disease that limited his ability to compete. We found a great home for him in northern Oregon and I recently received a note and picture where he looked very happy. Though every horse I have owned is a 'favorite', Streak will always carry a special memory that I reflect on every time I saddle a horse. BW