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Tuesday, 13 July 2010

NAYRER 2010 - some young riders profile!

While I was at Biltmore, I took advantage of the presence of some of the young riders going to participate to the North American Young Riders Endurance Ride to "interview" them so people can have an idea of who the next generation is!

I personally think US endurance needs more "young blood", it's nice to see endurance getting its own Youth Championship, It looks like there will be a lot more riders this year.
Thanks to Internet I also managed to get some info on more riders, I'm sure there will be plenty missing and please pardon me for this.

Sarah Jack - 17 - New Hampshire

Sarah has an eventing background, her grand mother (Jane Graffam) introduced her to long distance riding.

Sarah did her 1st CTR at the age of 10 and her 1st LD at the age of 12.
Since then she has completed over 1000 miles.

Her favorite ride is Western Maine.
She will be riding Shyrocco Troilus owned by Meg Sleeper.
Sarah and Troy took 2nd place (ride time 5:04) at the Biltmore CEI*.

Steven Hay - 19 - Pennsylvania

Steven was participating in 4H shows before he got into long distance riding mentored by his neighbor Jane Villistrigo, he started to ride endurance 8 years ago, he has accumulated more than 1500 miles, has completed 100s.

His favorite ride is Biltmore, A couple of years ago, he and his horse enjoyed the trails and terrain and had a great time.

Steven will be riding Khalil Asam owned by Nathalie Muzzio. They placed 8th (ride time 5:36) at the Biltmore CEI*.

Olivia Matthaei - 18 - Namibia

Olivia was a dressage and jumper rider before she tried endurance.

Her 1st ride happened unexpectedly, she was sometimes helping crewing for her uncle and one day her cousin got sick and she got thrown on the horse and had to ride, since then she never looked back. She has completed over 600 miles.

She has participated into the African Endurance Championships in Namibia in 2009, this was her favorite ride, the terrain was very technical but they got to ride along the coast and over the biggest dunes in Namibia.

She will be riding DJB Boomer owned by Darolyn Butler at the NAYRER.
Olivia is selected to represent Namibia at the WEG.

Anna Wucker - 19 - Namibia

Anna was a dressage rider until a friend of hers who was riding/training endurance horses for different owners got Anna to help and ride in endurance.
She was 9 when she completed her first ride, she has now over 2500 miles, has been Namibian Champion in 2007, selected as the Namibian team captain for the African championships of 2009.
Anna will be riding DJB Tessarah owned by Darolyn Butler at theNAYRER.
They completed the Biltmore CEI*** at Biltmore in 17th place with a ride time of 16:44.

Anna is selected to represent Namibia at the WEG.

Josie Mc Ghee - 20 - Georgia

Her mum (Angie Mc Ghee) put Josie on a horse as soon as she came back from the hospital, she was just a couple of days old.

She started riding really young (i'm sure most of you have seen her very famous videos).

She did her first 50 when she was 10 since she has completed more than 2400 miles.
Her favorite ride is Million Pines for the atmosphere, fun and hospitality.

Josie will be riding Reminisonce+/ owned by Lynn Kennely.

Kyle Gibbon - 20 - Vermont

Kyle started riding ponies around the fields bareback, later moved on to "formal" trail riding. He took some english lessons, he showed in English pleasure/equitation and Hunter/Jumpers.

He did his 1st CTR at 14 on his paint Kolby, he also competed him in endurance before getting his arabian mare which he completed his 1st 100 with in 2007.

Kyle has more than 3200 endurance miles, has completed 15 100.

Kyle will be riding Salt owned by Steven Rojeck.

Kirsten Kimbler - 21 - South Dakota

Kirsten started taking lessons at an arabian show barn, then started showing arabians.
She got into endurance when her dad saw an article about Tevis, he had always dreamt about riding.

They started to compete in endurance rides, since then Kirsten has completed 2290 miles. Her favorite ride was in Canada, it was a great family experience, they managed to go through some difficulties on trails and turn the situation into a funny story to remember.

Kirsten will be riding Cody Canuck that she owns. There will be 3 other riders from Kirsten's familly riding the NAYRER.

Lindsay Bean - 20 - Maine

Lindsay received the best gift a little girl can dream of when she was 4: a pony!

She rode him until she was old enough to handle the farm Belgians.

She started to ride endurance with Tom Hutchison and Kathy Brunges in 2006, she has now almost 1000 miles.

Her favorite ride is Pine Tree.

She will be riding Tektonic owned by Kathy Brunjes at NAYRER.

I could not get in touch with every rider, but I know there are some more: Jennifer Stevens, Jessica D'camillo, France Chase Dunn and some Canadians including Lee Hutton.

I can't wait to hear stories and see pictures from these young talented riders!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

More Biltmore...

On Friday morning, the already very packed camp was still having trailers coming in, a lot of people to finally get to meet in person (vs facebook).
I'm trying to keep twist barefoot and booted for conditioning/racing so I had planed to meet with jeremy Reynolds (representing easycare) so he could put glue ons on Twist but the ground/grass was still dewy at 8:30, so we waited until 10, in the mean time we went to get the registration papers. After Jeremy glued the boots on Twist it was almost time for The FEI horses to be vetted in , so I went to take some pictures.

I would like to give particular attention to a couple of young riders who were trying to qualify for the youth championships hapenning in July. I managed to get some information on some of them and will report soon.
I'm very pleased to see for the 2nd year the youth championship being a real endurance event, challenging all the young riders, i'm calling myself a baby endurance rider, as i do not have a lot of experience and I admire young persons like Kyle Gibbon, Josie McGhee, Steven Hay that are barely half my age but they all have so much more experience, they are very inspiring to me and I hope to a lot of people and to a lot of juniors.

I do think north america is lacking young riders and junior riders, they are the future of our sport.

Back to Biltmore:

So time to go get vetted, jen and I go together since twist and snicks are SO attached to eachother. I'm happy to get vetted by Art King, I met Art at my 1st ride in 2006 and see him to most of the rides I go to.

Many horses to get vetted but it's well organized and there was no line. Both horses vetted in at 36 and all As :-)

Time to go ride a little bit, Jen wanted to have a solo ride on snickers, so I tacked up Twist and off we went, I wanted to go for a 1 hour easy ride, but when i decided to go back, the trails got a little trickier and I end up doing almost 10 miles in over and hour and a half, a little longer than I wanted but Twist was great, I hosed her off quickly, walked her and put her back in her pen, it was almost time to go to the ride meeting, so I showered and ahead towards the tent.

The ride meeting was a little confusing, going back and forth between 50, 75 and the 100, but all in all, it was quite easy, I marked the order of my loops with their distance on my forearm so i would remember during the ride.

The diner was really good, with some yummy black currant cobbler with REAL whip cream!

Everyone went to bed early, I walked the horses one last time and called it a night too.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


We arrived at biltmore Thursday around 11am (we would be Jen, her husband John, their son CJ, Pam a friend coming to crew).

Let me describe what would be my day before arriving at Biltmore, starting Wednesday morning:

7:30AM - Brooklyn: waking up, check up one last time if I packed everything I need for Biltmore
9:30AM - Soho - NYC : work in a retouching studio ("photoshoping" some models and products)
7:00PM - Penn Station - NYC : hoping on the train to get to Hamilton (1+ hour train)
8:20PM - Hamilton NJ : car drive to get to the barn (thanks Shana) 45 min
9:05PM - Stockton NJ : arrived to the barn, Jen and I usaully get everything ready the previous weekend of a ride.
10:00PM - Stockton NJ : leaving for a long trip to Biltmore, I don't drive (I need to get a US license, procrastinating, me???), so Jen and John are the driving gurus, thanks guys!

11:00AM - BILTMORE! Yeah!

Talk about a long day, but it is always worth it, because I always get to ride nice trails with good friends and horses.

So, as you can read, we had a 13 hours drive and did it at night and we all loved it.

There were already a lot of people when we arrived. We got told to park in the 2nd field, we were the 1st in there!
The weather was beautiful and we got set up in no time.

Twist (my new mare) and snickers (jen's horse) are easy campers. So once they were all set, we were able to go say hi to old friends and make new ones.

Jen and I went for a short ride and enjoyed the little bit of trails we did. Nice soft footing on single tracks in the forest, a lot of sneaky roots to watch out for though!

Once the horses were fed and tucked in their pen, we went to town to have diner, we were all so tired we stopped at the 1st place serving food, a TGI's Friday (I know all the way to North Carolina and we picked a chain place), it did the trick, a little food, a little beer and a huge dessert, we then went to get gas and had a good laugh being brain washed because we were all so exhausted.

So back to camp and to bed, a good night of rest to be ready for Friday.

To quote Amigo, we all had a ACN.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Last day in Malaysia...

I woke up around 7AM, packed some and went down with Sarah for a cup of tea, we then both hit the gym (I had tried to run outside and managed to run only 1.5 miles, so I decided to give a shot at the treadmill, thinking the AC might help).
The gym was a spacious room with a couple of machines and an ocean view (nice!), but as I started running I quickly felt, the air management (to quote Sarah) was pretty poor and I soon started to sweat like crazy. I did run/walk 3 miles, I was drenched, went back to my room, took a shower and went to take my breakfast.

Downstair we met with a couple of people, Hamdan, Nafisa (young lady who took tons of pictures at the ride and nicely agreed to send them to me so I could post them on, so at least you could see some pictures of the ride). The manager of The Terrengganu Royal Endurance Stables (TRES), told me he had talked to his boss (His Majesty) and that His Majesty had agreed for me to visit the stables situated in KL (Kuala Lumpur), I was super happy with this news.
So the plan was to drop Sarah to the airport, go buy a camera (I lost mine and there was no way I was going to TRES stables without a camera), to visit the stables and then to the airport for my departure.

After saying goodbye to everyone in the lobby, off we went into the car direction KL airport, then to a huge mall (I mean HUGE) with Carrefour (a french equivalency of Target and 7 eleven, yes, you read that right, 7 eleven stores!!! Funny mix of Asian, American and French capitalism.

We had lunch and then drove to the stables. I want to make a special report on the stables as there is so much to talk about. I posted pictures already and will write about the TRES stables and training program, luckily I will be able to do so tomorrow evening as i'm off to a ride this weekend.

I hope you all enjoyed riding my posts and I apologize for my typos! The good news are it seems like I am invited to come next year to the MGIER and even maybe next November for another ride :-))

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

MGIER 2010 Awards ceremony

I woke up still a little groggy but I'm lucky compare to the event and FEI crew members and some riders. The last horse came in around 8AM (and passed the vet final check).I hitch a ride with Sarah (FEI president ground jury) who had slept a mere hour and a half and Brian Sheahan (FEI Head vet) who had not slept one bit (that when you like sunglasses).Brian got some sleep during the half hour drive while sarah and I were discussing the results of the rides (the good condition of the leading horses, reasons for pulls: principally lameness and very tired horses).

We arrived to the stadium Hang Jebat where the ceremony was taking place. Beautiful tables were set with floral arrangements in the center, local Melaka fruit drinks on the tables (very refreshing). Everyone was coming in slowly as most of us had just a couple of hours of sleep (or none). I used the down time to go to the stables, lots of horses had already left, Shaklan was gone, I did not get the time to properly scratch his neck to say bye. I sure hope to see him again, he's a beautiful sensitive horse.  There was an orchestra playing both traditional music and american pop tunes. The room filled up and soon a escort of beautiful young Malaysians in traditional costume escorted his Excellency The Governor of Melaka to his table. The Batiks they were all wearing were so colorful and gorgeous, a very pleasant sight to the eyes, it is said clothes are very important to Malaysians and it's true.  Each team has their own shirts, they all look like there are representing a country at a mondial event!

Food quickly started to be served by a multitude of waiters and waitresses, as everything I have been stating here, it was delicious.  I was seating with Sarah and Brian, the person in charge of the minister of health and another person in charge of the minister of the environment.  We chatted about our visit tour in Melaka and they told us about theit time in either Australia or Europe.

Next table was The chilean Ambassador, his wife and Raimundo (a Chilean young man established in Kuala Lumpur for a year or so), he is very active in endurance in Chile and rides for the RTES (Royal Terengganu Endurance Stables), he finished 5th behind  KDYMM Tengku Muhammad Ismail (His Majesty's son) who is 12 years old and was doing his first 80K.

When lunch was finished, the awards ceremony started, all prizes were given by His Excellency himself.
The names are not easy to remember but I posted an article from local news that covered part of the results.  I know 6 horses out of 12 finished the CEI** (75 miles), I'm not sure about the CEI* (50 miles) and 43 out of 66 finished in the 40K (25 miles).  The best condition went to the winner in the CEI** and I'm not sure about the CEI*. Sarah and I discussed earlier the way the horses looked at their trotting for BC and it was not great but far from being bad, to quote her it was very satisfactory.  

2 beautiful framed photographs of pure arabians were given to His Excellency for his support to the sport of Endurance.   His Excellency made sure to check everyone's hands that was accessible before he left.

I said "au revoir" to a bunch of riders and grooms and off we went back to the hotel, we all catch up on some sleep.   Sarah and I enjoyed a swim in the late afternoon and a well deserved beer before dinner.

I met the manager to the Terrengganu Royal Endurance Stables (TRES) and asked him if I could go and visit the stables they have in Kuala Lumpur, my flight was at 11:45PM, so I have a whole day, I could spend it along the pool at the hotel but I would rather go see more horses, his reply was he will ask his boss (The King) and will let me know. I did not see him at diner and I truly was not very hopeful.

After dinner, I went to my room to start packing and went to bed.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Melaka - some results - April 11, 2010 MELAKA Terengganu Riders Dominate 80km MGIER By: Ramjit

MELAKA, April 11 (Bernama) -- Terengganu dominated the 80km race at the Melaka Grand Invitational Endurance Ride (MGIER) 2010 which came to a close Sunday by taking the top four positions.

Riding "Kerbalanen Amor", Shahruddin Abdullah emerged as the winner by clocking 4 hours 46 minutes 11 seconds followed by Abdul Rahman Mohamad, who mounted "Jq Tuan Junior", a distant second in 5:55:47.

Muhammad Alif Sabidi, who mounted "Jq Tuan Junior" came a close third by a mere one second behind Abdul Rahman.

The trio were from the State of Terengganu Endurance Team (STET).

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin's son, Tengku Muhammad Ismail, who represented the Royal Terengganu Endurance Stable (RTES) finished fourth.

Only 10 of 44 riders completed the race which started at the Hang Jebat Stadium and passed through rubber and oil palm plantations and nearby villages.

In the 120km race, TMKN Endurance Team's Mohd Azizie Ismail, who mounted "Texas", rode into victory in 7:34:01 with STET's Wan Mohd Kamaluddin Wan Yusuff, who was on "M Malon" horseback, in the second spot with 8:39:12.

Astriding ""Ropadi Baltazar", Muhammad Zaini Saad of RTES came in third in 8:56:34.

Only six of 12 riders made it to the finishing line.

TMKN Endurance Team was adjudged the winner of the 120km team race by clocking 17:19:33 while SET took the 80km team title with a combined time of 16:37:46.

Yang Dipertua Negeri of Melaka Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam gave away the prizes.

Melaka - ride day! What an epic day!

What a day filled with mixed emotions!  After another delicious breakfast, we went on a tourist tour of Melaka (or Malacca), it's a splendid city with influences from Portuguese, Dutch, British "invaders" through out the past centuries. There are also a lot of Chinese and Indian living here.

The architecture is very interesting as Asian, Portuguese and Dutch managed to leave a strong heritage. It's a very colorful city, with many little houses along the Malacca river, parts of it being mangroves, we saw a type of crocodile while on the cruise tour, right in the middle of the city.

Our guide was very pleasant and knowledgeable, he explained us there is a huge cultural festival taking place in Melaka, and you could see musical groups performing in the streets.
It was a very odd feeling to be a tourist knowing in a couple of hours, I'll be riding a horse in the Malaysian palm tree fields!
We went back to the hotel for lunch, I tried to rest for an hour before getting ready, i hadn't slept well the night before and was in need of sleep, but of course, I had too much on my mind and did not get to get any, well at least I laid down for a while and then it was time to get to the stables.

There was a LOT going on at the stadium (where "ridecamp" is established), horses being walk, ridden, washed, a lot of security since The governor of Melaka was attending the race start!

I was getting my helmet ready with a headlamp when I left my camera on a trailer for a second, I realized and came back but it was already gone! I felt very frustrated and angry at myself for such a stupid thing I did, here I was watching everything around and not able to take pictures, so my apologies for this as I'm not sure I'll be able to provide you with any pictures of the ride, I'm trying to get the pictures of one of the photographers there and credit him.

I watched the start of the CEI** 120KM (75 miles), these horses were fit! They were eager to go but very respectful of their riders. I missed the CEI* 80KM (50 miles) start as I was getting my horse ready for the 40KM (25 mils), the start time were 30 minutes apart.

There were 12 riders in the 120KM, 54 in the 80KM and 66 in the 40KM, 132 horses total, biggest turn out for the MGIER.

Shaklan was a little bit nervous, I let him grazed before getting tack up, he seemed to relax a little but as soon as I got on, the "I need to go NOW" behavior started, I was thinking of what Dawn Engle had suggested me for my own little nervous mare: think quiet, easy ride, but when you enter this big stadium on a horse joining a group of 65 other horses, quiet is quickly replaced by a Oh My God, I'm on a horse in Malaysia about to go on trail for an endurance ride!!!! Craziness!
That got quickly interrupted by a FEI steward telling me I had to change my shoes (I had not enough heal for open stirups, safety, safety!) if I wanted to be able to start in the ride!
So now I am off my horse, running around for caged stirups, nobody had a spare pair or they were not understanding me (between my frenchglish and the grooms not speaking fluent english, it was probably pretty comical to watch), so I quickly changed strategy and asked for shoes, I had several people (women and men!) offering me their!

But all way too big for me (i'm a size 6), so I started scouting around and found a group of young Malaysian girls in riding clothes (they were crewing), I asked one of them and she was exactly my size! And had a spare pair (probably for their rider to use as I got my shoes back all wet and dirty, more than fair to me though, and it's not like the ones I used were sparkling clean after I used them).
So here I was on the horse, the last one to leave the stadium, but the stirups/shoes hunting got me and Shaklan distracted from the start buzz, so that was finally quite a good thing, but I would not advised it to anyone.
So I was riding Shaklan who realized quickly what we were doing, he was not happy with me trying to hold him off at a certain speed, it was HOT and HUMID! I kept an eye on my HRM and each time the horse was above 170/180, I can see some of you jumping in front of their computer, but a fit horse will walk at 100, 110 here cause of the humidity, so it was reasonable to keep him under 180 and walk until he was back down to 110 or so. My plan was also to walk all the uphills, as it was not a flat track and to trot on the side of the roads at a around a 7MPH trot, about 25% was on tar roads, and the dirt roads were actually very concussive, this was not an easy ride! I stopped at all the water stops and poured water on Shaklan. He was doing great! Not drinking enough to my state though!

Riding in the palm tree fields was absolutely magical, tropical birds singing along the way, people and kids waving hello as we were passing by, it was all too unreal!

We finish the 1st 20KM in a little less than 2 hours and 10 minutes, Shaklan pulsed down in 8 minutes at 52, pulse parameters were 56 in the 40KM with 2 presentations only and the horses needed to be in pulse criteria in under 20 minutes. We got cleared to go on the 2nd loop, yeah!

Shaklan ate well, I kept pouring water on him and checked him before we left, he was 46, everything looked good. We went off but I quickly felt nauseous, the heat was taking its toll on me and I sadly realized I would not make it through, so I decided to withdraw and walk back toward the stadium with a car escorting me and Shaklan to make sure i was OK!

Shaklan pulsed down right away, passed his vet check looking brilliant and I had so much sadness in me, but oh well, it happens, just I wish it did not happen right there.

I felt better as there was a nice breeze in the stadium. I got to watch horses going through the vet inspections, there were quite a lot of pulls for lameness and tired horses, but some of them were still looking full of GO!

I helped a couple of riders to cool down their horses and I was back on my game, feeling happy to help and still realizing how amazing it was for me to be doing what I love in Malaysia!
After a while things started to be quiet as the riders were more spread, I had a snack of Malaysian noodles, very yummy and I was falling asleep on a chair, a British lady (Joannie?) living in Kuala Lumpur told me one of her friend was going back to the hotel if I needed a ride, it was around 2:30AM, so I gladly took the offer. We unfortunately got lost and it took us about an hour to get back to the hotel.
I took a shower, set up my alarm clock and crashed!