Tulip, a 21 year old Morab gelding is the first horse in
American Endurance Ride Conference history
to surpass the 20,000 mile mark.
Tulip, a Morab gelding who will turn 21 on June 21,2009 is endurance riding’s most enduring equine, with 20,805 miles to his credit and he is still going strong.
Tulip‘s name? The rumor, according to Dr. Les Carr, Tulip‘s owner, is that a bed of lovely tulips was nearby during Tulip’s birth.
The 15.2-hand Tulip, registered as a half-Arabian by the Arabian Horse Association, is by the Morgan stallion Calamity’s Pizzaz, whose sire is from the Kingston line. His dam, Belif, is a granddaughter of Bu-Zahar, a son of Ferzon-Hall of Fame sire of National Champions.
Carr, of Somerset, Calif., has amassed 46,460 miles of his own during his 24 years of AERC competitions. Both Carr and Tulip exemplify AERC’s commitment to valuing equine longevity.
Although he has completed four 100-mile rides, Tulip’s specialty is the 50-mile endurance ride, especially when combined into AERC Pioneer Rides, which include at least three consecutive days of 50- to 55-mile rides. And the grey gelding’s not burning up the trail; he and Carr tend to finish towards the back of the pack in most competitions.
“The AERC motto is ‘to finish is to win’,” noted Carr. “However, winning can be accomplished in different ways. One way to win is for the rider to make the decision to ride the same horse over a long period of time and place at the middle or tail end of the ride. This approach has been my choice.”
Most years, Carr and Tulip would complete around 1,000 miles of competition a year. Their highest mileage year was 2006, when the completed 1,970 miles. Along the way, the pair have picked up numerous awards from AERC, including regional mileage championships and Pioneer Awards.
At age 74, Carr keeps himself in shape with bodybuilding and weightlifting when he’s not riding. At 5’8″, he keeps his weight at a trim 148 pounds. A practicing clinical psychologist, Carr considers riding “a mystical and spiritual experience.”
Carr has no plans to retire Tulip. The pair have already completed 670 miles in the current ride season. But Carr said that he and Tulip will no longer be doing as many five-day Pioneer Rides (250 miles over five days), instead focusing on one-day 50s and the three-day, 155-mile Pioneer Rides.
“Life along the endurance trail is unpredictable, in line with our universe that is inherently chaotic and unpredictable,” said Carr.
But the septuagenarian, who rides along with his wife Jill and her trustworthy mule, Walker, at his side, Carr hopes to ride Tulip as long as possible along the endurance trails.
Photo: Lynne Glazer