It Is Time To Say … Enough!


Proud filly, Eight Belles, is euthanized
after break down at Kentucky Derby.


She ran with the heart of a locomotive, on champagne-glass ankles for the pleasure of the crowd, the sheiks, oilmen, entrepreneurs, old money from the thousand-acre farms, the handicappers, men in bad sport coats with crumpled sheets full of betting hieroglyphics, the julep-swillers and the ladies in hats the size of boats, and the rest of the people who make up thoroughbred racing.     Washington Post


Why do we keep giving thoroughbred horse racing a pass? Is it the tradition? 

This isn’t about one death. This is about the nature of a sport that routinely grinds up young horses.

Why do we refuse to put the brutal game of racing in the realm of mistreatment of animals?

Eight Belles was another victim of a brutal sport that is carried, literally, on the backs of horses. Horsemen like to talk about their thoroughbreds and how they were born to run and live to run. The reality is that they are made to run, forced to run for profits they never see.

And who knows how many horses die anonymous deaths?

Eight Belles, we’ll write, was merely the casualty of a brutal game.
New York Times


“Trainer Larry Jones said, ‘She went out in a blaze of glory,’ as he tried to hold back tears from his reddening eyes.

She did not go out in a “blaze of glory.” She went out in hideous pain, unable to understand why her legs gave out when all she was doing was running like hell. She went out in the back of a truck. 
At Large


For beautiful, Eight Belles,
her life had just begun.


It is time to say enough.



Ponies Thunder Through Farm Show Carriage Races


Dana Bright (left) and Ann Gardner ride in the
Pennsylvania carriage racing competition.  


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
January, 2008

Like a modern-day Ben Hur, Miranda Cadwell drew herself erect in her chariot-like carriage and urged her ponies to speed around obstacles.

Rambo and Toby, a pair of Welsh ponies, raced around the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex Large Arena this past January.

They sped around eight barrels, being careful not to knock off the rubber ducks on top, and around eight raised wooden structures at the other end of the arena, leaving the ducks standing.

Then they galloped down the home stretch into first place and into the hearts of 6,000 wildly cheering fans at this unique equestrian event at the 92nd Pennsylvania State Farm Show.

“This was great,” said Cadwell of Southern Pines, N.C. “It’s a real adrenaline rush.”

The Farm Show offers the nation’s only indoor Arena Carriage Racing, said Paul Martin, event organizer and announcer. He said that its usually done outside.


These Dutch Gelderlanders, “Mickie and Janet”, driven by Ronda Palmer and navigated by Roy Munt, placed second in the Pair Horses division. The husband and wife pair has been involved in numerous competitions all over the world. 

Drivers sit in the front and control the reins to guide the horses. Navigators ride the back, throwing their weight from side to side to counterbalance the turns.

Bruce Rappoport, another event organizer, said carriage racing involves one or two horses or ponies racing against the clock.


Sarah Schmitt and Glenn Haskell achieved the second best time to win the Reserve Grand Championship.

Participants in steel marathon carriages use special harnesses to guide the horses through the tight turns needed to navigate the obstacles and hazards in the fastest time.

Seven teams participated in the two day event.


Driver Dana Bright and navigator Melinda Russell
blur through the starting line.

“We love this,” said Dana Bright of Felton, nodding at her navigator, Ann Gardner and her Welsh ponies.

People laughed when they saw Ben and Jerry, a pair of bright pink stuffed toy pigs, on the back of their carriage. People howled when Jerry tumbled off during the race.

The crowd clearly loved Miranda Cadwell and her younger sister, Keady.

Miranda Cadwell last summer became the world leader in the sport, earning the gold medal at the World Pony Driving Championship in Denmark.

On Tuesday, she drove her team as if her life depended on it, leaving rushing air and flying dirt in their wake.

When the race ended, Miranda Cadwell won first place in the pair of ponies division, Keady Cadwell won first place in pair of horses.

“We push each other to do better,” Keady Cadwell said.

A must-see is the video listed below.


Race Video:  
Carriage Races, Pennsylvania Farm Show


News Link:   Pennsylvania State Agriculture Site

News Link:   The Patriot News


Super Pony With The Heart Of A Winner


 “Teddy” and Karen O’Connor win the Gold
at 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil


Good things are said to come in small packages. And “Super Pony” Theodore O’Connor proves it.

Teddy, also known as the Flying Pony is the exciting new star of a tough equestrian sport called eventing.

At 14.1 hands high — a little more than 56 inches at the top of his shoulder — this mighty midget is a hair short of the height of a horse. But that hasn’t stopped him from winning big — really big.


Teddy thrilled the horse world by winning an Individual Gold Medal and helping the United States win the Team Gold at the 2007 Pan American Games in Brazil this past July.


If he continues to perform at this level over the winter in Florida and into the spring, he and his rider, Karen O’Connor, of The Plains, Va., could make the U.S. Olympic equestrian team next year and travel to Beijing.


Teddy once again displayed his amazing athletic ability, under the skillful guidance of his Olympic veteran rider, to the delight of their growing throng of international fans.


Teddy, Karen’s bionic pony partner, is a 14.2h sport pony, bred by P. Wynn Norman. “He doesn’t know he’s small,”   says Karen.


He has tremendous springs and a huge jump, making even the most difficult combinations look like simple gymnastics.

Teddy is 3/4 Thoroughbred, 1/8 Arabian, and 1/8 Shetland Pony and, with Karen on board, thinks all things are possible!


Eventing is a demanding three-part test of horse and rider.

Part I is usually dressage. The goal is to make a difficult set of carefully controlled movements look simple. It requires precision, balance and grace.

Part II is usually cross-country, which involves 25 to 40 jumps strung across a course of several miles. Cross-country showcases strength, endurance and smarts.

Part III is show-jumping, which is done in a ring. This measures speed, nimbleness and accuracy.

In all three areas, Teddy makes up for his size with something that can’t be measured in inches: a huge heart.


“It doesn’t cross his mind that it can’t be done,” says O’Connor, even though Teddy is so small he sometimes can’t see what’s on the other side of a cross-country jump.

As Teddy approaches a jump that might be four feet high and 6 1/2 feet wide, O’Connor’s job is to keep him “wanting to be careful but also brave and confident.”


Eventing takes a lot of training, which takes a lot of time. Many horses in the sport are teen-agers. Teddy, a chestnut gelding, is 12.

Several trainers passed on a chance to work with Teddy because they thought of him as a kid’s mount. O’Connor saw past his size to his potential. The result is a champion pairing that’s the talk of the eventing circuit.

Teddy comes from a breeder who has been experimenting with a mix of thoroughbreds, Arabian horses and Shetland ponies. Although Teddy is worth $300,000 to $400,000, the group that owns him isn’t looking to make money; it just wants to support his career.


O’Connor’s husband, 2000 Olympic gold-medalist David O’Connor, compares Teddy to a wide receiver in football or “a 5-7 point guard” in basketball.

Teddy beats much larger competition because he is so quick, intelligent and athletic, David O’Connor says.


 His wife agrees. “Size is never going to stop Teddy,” she says. “He feels like a giant out there.”


Farewell, Teddy
May 29, 2008

News Link: Washington Post

Link: O’Connor Event Team

Link:  Photographs from O’Connor Pan Am Gallery

Camel Racing Comes To Sydney, Australia


Horse racing jockeys experience their first camel race.


Australia’s first outbreak of equine flu this past August saw racing stop across the nation and thousands of recreational horses quarantined on properties to try and stop the flu spreading.

City officials had imposed an indefinite ban on racing, which left racetracks abandoned and losing millions of dollars in revenue and punters desperate to place a bet.

Australia’s horse-racing circuit may have hit a bump after equine influenza paralyzed the pool of steeds this year, but it’s not a hump the industry couldn’t get over.


Pat Farmer encourages his camel
as he rides his mount to a win in the second race.

In October, Sydney hosted its first camel race with contenders such as Sir Hump-a-lot, Sand King and Speed Hump competing to help arenas suffering financially from the ban on horse racing imposed by officials over the equine flu.

The camels were among six beasts that competed in seven races at Sydney’s Harold Park Paceway.

Even though spectators were not able to place bets on the races — camel racing is not recognized by Australia’s premier betting organization TAB — the event expected to attract 10,000 people.


“People haven’t been out and about and they’re just wanting to get out and see something race,” said Harold Park’s food and beverage manager Robert Vine. “I think it’s probably the novelty, something not many people have ever seen in Sydney before.”


Camel racing, which started in Australia more as a tourist attraction than a professional sport, usually takes place on outback racetracks. Australian camel racing jockeys are mostly women, unlike the Middle East, where boy jockeys are the norm, and camels race in sprints, not long distance races.


Cameleer Lionel Keegan stands with one of his charges at Sydney’s first camel race meet

Camels were first brought to Australia from Afghanistan in the early 1800s to help build major railway and telegraph lines in the outback. They were also used extensively for exploration purposes and as a pack animal.

By 1895 the camel population had increased to approximately 6,000 head and today the population is estimated at up to 150,000 animals.

Reuters Photographs

Great Santa Fe Trail Ride ~ Updates

The Great Santa Fe Trail Ride ~ 2008 




Great Santa Fe Trail Ride ~ 2007


Riders trot out the first leg of the 515-mile Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race on Labor Day morning in Pecos, N.M.


Sept 17, 2007
End of the Trail


Chelsey Palmer, left, and Carolyn Smith ride into the Independence Square Saturday evening to commemorate the mail messengers of the Pony Express. Chris McNeill, Beth Jones, Josh Jones and Britney Palmer also rode for the post office Saturday


Six horses and their cowboy-clad riders arrived on the Independence Square Saturday afternoon, commemorating rides by messengers who worked for the Pony Express.
The symbolic messengers greeted applauding spectators on the east side of the courthouse, and Mayor Don Reimal proclaimed the ride a historic representation of the days when the Pony Express delivered mail.

One rider even carried a leather satchel, like the ones carriers used to deliver mail, which she presented to acting Independence Postmaster Bruce Logan. The mail pouch represented one brought up the Santa Fe Trail from New Mexico.

The historic ride was held at the culmination of an 800-mile horse race that ended in Gardner, Kan. The winner was Scott Griffin of Seattle, who was competing in his first horse endurance competition.
The race’s founder and coordinator, Rob Phillips, of Lawrence, Kan., originally wanted the race to end in Independence, following the trail of the covered wagons that once traveled there. But that route had too many roads, highways and other barriers.
From the Square, the horses and riders went to the Bingham-Waggoner Estate to be part of the annual Pig Pickin’ Chicken Lickin’ roast.
Emery Staton, who met up with the riders and horses on the Square, said she liked the historic aspect of the event.

“I thought it was pretty cool because it was a re-enactment,” said the elementary-aged student who considers herself a horse lover.

Rita Porter, vice chair of the city’s Tourism Advisory Board, said such re-enactments are important. “The historical things make up our culture, and when our culture’s strong, so is our community.”

Another spectator, Nina Anders, of Independence, said she was glad to see young faces in the crowd as well as on horseback. “It’s nice to see young people who want to be a part of something historical,” she said.

Mark Inglett, manager of the Truman post office, agreed that history is important. “It’s nice to rediscover our roots sometimes.”

News Story:


Sept 16, 2007
The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Ends


Griffin gives a kiss to his horse, MN Khourusen
after winning the Santa Fe Race.

Griffin, who was competing in his first horse endurance race, and his horse MN Khourusen finished without injuries.


Scott Griffin of Seattle won the race, competing in his first horse endurance competition. His reward was a belt buckle presented Saturday night by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. There was no prize money, just bragging rights.

The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race began Sept. 3 in Santa Fe, N.M., with about 60 riders and 160 horses and finished Saturday in Gardner.

About half the riders reached the final day. Some dropped out because of dehydration.

The race (participants preferred to call it a ride) covered 515 miles. Only two riders completed the route without changing horses. Many wore spurs attached to tennis shoes. Instead of cowboy hats, they wore helmets.

Riders spent nine to 12 hours in the saddle each day for three days, rested and traveled a day, then repeated another three days at a different location along the old Santa Fe Trail.

Jeanie Hauser, a veterinarian from Leavenworth County, said all the horses received regular inspections by veterinarians each day. About five or six horses a day were eliminated for minor ailments.

“They have fared very well, and that’s because people have been taking very good care of their horses,” she said.

Phillips, the race organizer, said some riders often walked miles to rest their horses. Water troughs were spaced every five miles.

Although injuries are rare in endurance horse racing, there is an element of danger.

Rick Lee, a rider from Adams, Neb., said wearing the right clothes was important, especially for riders spending hours in the saddle. A rider wearing just a pair of jeans would finish the day with badly battered legs.

Rick Medlin, a team rider from Paola, Kan., said Saturday that he could have gone three or four more days and wasn’t saddlesore.

“The most enjoyable thing is seeing the country and riding horses,” he said. “It’s the adventure of a lifetime.”

News Link:


Sept. 14, 2007
On The Way To The Finish Line

Jim Hole was among the riders in the Great Santa Fe Horse Race finishing the 515-mile endurance ride this weekend in a town where pioneers had to decide which route to take on their westward journey.

The race called for riders to go 50 miles a day for 10 days, sometimes through blistering heat and daylong downpours as they covered the sweeping landscapes of open prairies and rolling plains.
Hole, of Sacramento, Calif., was one of two riders Friday who had made the entire trip on one horse, even though the rules allow for multiple horses.

Since the start, Hole’s constant companion has been Little Big Man, an 8-year-old bay Arabian gelding he calls his “friend and partner.”

For Hole, the race was a link to the past, as he slept under the stars with his horse and saw much the same landscape the settlers saw.

“Sometimes you have to experience what they went through to appreciate what you’ve got today,” Hole said.

“You feel the wind on your shoulders, the smells, hear the birds. It takes you back to another day.”

That’s something Rob Phillips, founder and coordinator of the race, had in mind when he came up with the idea a year and half ago.

“We wanted them to get the feel for the terrain, and I think they are getting a good feel for that, but you can never replicate how it was in the 1800s,” said Phillips, of Lawrence

Susan Thompson, of Sweetwater, Tenn., took a scheduled break while her horse, a 7-year-old brown Arabian gelding named Thee Macade was being checked by veterinarians — one of four vet checks each horse undergoes each day.

Thompson said the biggest challenge at the start was the New Mexico heat. But she said the day-to-day challenge is taking care of the horses.

“They can’t tell you when they don’t feel good, or are hungry or thirsty,” she said.

The arrival of the riders coincides with 150th anniversary celebration of Gardner, which owes its start to the Santa Fe and Oregon trails.

News Link:


Sept 14, 2007
Nearing the Finish Line

Riders in the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race are due in Gardner, Kansas this weekend to finish their trek.

Riders in the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race are finishing their 515-mile trek this weekend in a town where pioneers had to decide which route to take on their westward journey.

The arrival of the riders coincides with 150th anniversary celebration of Gardner, which owes its start to the Santa Fe and Oregon trails.

Race officials say the journey from Santa Fe, New Mexico, started September 3rd with 60 riders, but that number has dropped to 45 or 50.

The endurance race has traveled backward along the wide, meandering trail that opened in 1821 as a trade route between Santa Fe and its starting point in Independence, Missouri. But the 35 miles between Gardner and Independence is a metropolitan area and too congested for the ride.

Today the riders started at Melvin Lake in Osage County to race on a horse path around the lake. They planned the same routine tomorrow at Hillsdale Lake south of Gardner to wrap up the race.

“The original settlers were blacksmiths and suppliers for people on the trail. This was the last stop before deciding whether to use the Santa Fe, Oregon or California trails,” said Chamber of Commerce President Peter Solie.

The three trails were one coming out of Independence through Gardner. Then, west of town, the Santa Fe went southwest, mainly as a two-way trade route, while the Oregon settlers’ route split to the northwest. The California Trail then parted from the Oregon in southern Idaho.

The overall winner is the person with the shortest time.

But the true winners are the ones that arrive at the finish line with safe horses and safe riders.

As race organizer, Rob Phillips says, with that accomplishment … everyone has bragging rights for the rest of their lives.


Sept 14, 2007,
Scenes Along The Trail



Jason Stasiuk of Humble, Tx., pours water on his horse during a break in The Great Sante Fe Trail Race Thursday across the Flint Hills near Council Grove.


Thirty miles into his 51-mile race through the Flint Hills on Thursday, rider Jason Stasiuk dismounted and pulled the saddle off his horse.

He walked alongside the animal as they arrived at a required rest stop.

At a water trough, as Razzmataz drank, Stasiuk dipped his cowboy hat in the cold water and began pouring it not over himself but over the 18-year-old Arabian horse.

“He takes real good care of me,” said Stasiuk, from Humble, Texas. “And I need to take care of him.”


The 60 riders are racing the 515 miles over 13 days — for the experience and for bragging rights — in the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race.

Veterinarians travel with the race, and twice a day the horses must pass inspection. If there is a question that a horse is suffering, it’s pulled from the race.

“We’re doing this not for the ribbon, not for the money, but to promote our breed of horses,” said Mac McSwain of Winona, Texas, who raises Spanish mustangs.

“The horse means more to me than a race.”


Riders leisurely made their way east toward the rising sun. Some of the more ambitious went ahead at a slight trot, careful not to push their horses too hard, too early.


Endurance racing is all about going the distance in all kinds of conditions. In this race, which began Sept. 3 in Santa Fe and will end Saturday with an awards ceremony in Gardner, horses and riders have gone over sand and mountains.


They’ve persevered through rain and wind, on highways and chipped rock.

The 10 legs of the race average about 50 miles a day — nine to 12 hours a day. Most of the time they travel back roads and lonely highways.


Joe Reilly, Humble, Texas

The riders come from Washington state, Maryland, California, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Kansas and Texas.


Susan Thompson

They’ve brought Arabians, mustangs, quarter horses, Tennessee walkers and Morgans.


McSwain, who is in his 60s, wanted one last great adventure. He and his wife brought six Spanish mustangs, intending to ride as a team.

On Monday a crowd in Dodge City, Kan., frightened the horse he was on. It reared, and McSwain fell off, breaking his collarbone and shoulder.

“He’s a country horse,” McSwain said Wednesday, arm in a sling. “He’s not used to people yee-hawing. He’s not a bad horse. He just had a bad rider.”

April Cyrek of Humboldt County, Calif., was concerned about her 5-year-old Arabian stallion and 9-year-old Arabian mare. The mare is blind in one eye, and the rain and wind on Wednesday blew into the horse’s good eye.

Still, she was glad she was on the endurance ride.


“You can see the country on the back of a horse,” she said.


Jay Allen, Fresno, California

The Great Santa Fe Trail Race has been an experience filled with memories … another chapter in American History.

News Link:  
Photo Link:


Sept 14, 2007
Stories Along The Trail ~
 Stepping Back In History

Minnesotan Craig Opel looks like your modern-day cowboy. He’s dressed in boots, blue jeans and a short-sleeve flannel shirt and a wide-brim cowboy hat — perfect for the fickle Kansas weather over the past two days — and is even traveling with a pack of horses.

So it’s surprising and a bit unexpected when instead of mounting his horse and continuing his journey on the Santa Fe Trail, he simply turns the ignition key in his PT Cruiser and puts the car into drive.

Opel is one of the nearly 100 teams of people involved in the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride – – an 800-mile journey from New Mexico to Missouri.

While most involved are riding teams competing against time and each other, Opel is here for a different reason. Major Gouverneur and Anna Maria Morris — Opel’s great-great-great-uncle and aunt — traveled the exact same trail by wagon train from May to July in 1850.

In March, Opel said he stumbled upon the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race online and began to research it.

It was around that same time he discovered his great-great-great-aunt’s published diary in the pages of the book Cover Wagon Women, Vol. II: Diaries and Letters from the Western Trails.

“When I found out it was her diary about the exact same journey I was looking at, I just thought, ‘oh my gosh! This is fantastic,’” Opel said.

Opel’s reenactment of the Santa Fe Trail ride began Sept. 2 with the rest of the participants. Since he wasn’t involved in a riding team — Opel said he hasn’t ridden horses since his hunting days, which were many years ago — he signed up to work with the vets who check the horses three to four times a day to insure proper health during the riders’ 50-mile spurts by horseback.

In his time off from helping the veterinarians with paperwork, Opel uses a laminated neon green travel log of the 1850 journey to visit the same locations his relatives wrote about 157 years ago.

“When you can stand some place, in the exact spot in some cases — and I mean exact — where she stood 157 years ago, that’s pretty amazing,” he said.

“I’m also keeping a diary every day, because maybe 150 years from now, they’ll wonder about their great-great-uncle who traveled along with the new Santa Fe group,” Opel said.

Story Link:


Sept. 14, 2007
Looking For The Answers

Officials to Investigate Horse Deaths at Endurance Ride

The American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) will investigate the deaths of the two horses that were hit by a car after crossing the finish line on day seven of the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Ride, said AERC President Mike Maul.

The investigation will be conducted independently of the insurance investigation into the incident.

Rider Teresa Wilcox suffered bruises and scrapes. Rider Sandy Olson suffered a dislocated hip and broken thumb. Both riders were released from the hospital and returned to the ride site.

“This is a terrible thing that has happened,” said Maul. “My heart goes out to the riders who were injured. I am so glad to hear that they are back at the ride site.”

“An incident such as this during the ride or at the finish has never happened before in the 35-year history of AERC,” said Maul. “

All incidents, whether large or small, are investigated by the AERC with the purpose of making the sport safer for both riders and the horses participating in the event.”

According to Maul, the AERC sanctions almost 800 rides in the United States each year, with more than 23,000 total entries.

“AERC sanctioning provides a uniform standard for those rides, which are put on by members of the AERC as ride managers,” said Maul. “The ride itself is supervised by the ride manager and is not under the supervision of the AERC.”

The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race is an 800-mile endurance ride completed over a 13-day period. The ride started in Santa Fe, N.M., on Sept. 3 and will end in Missouri on Sept. 15.

One of the main objectives of the race is to educate the public not only on the national historic Santa Fe Trail, but also to introduce the sport of endurance riding to thousands, said Maul.

It’s extremely rare for horses to perish during endurance rides, said Mike Maul, president of the American Endurance Ride Conference, a national governing body for long-distance riding that sanctioned the Santa Fe Trail race.

“It’s very tragic and it’s very sad that it (Tuesday’s incident) happened,” Maul said.

Maul said it appeared as though riders Tuesday had adequate room to stop their horses between crossing the finish line and reaching the paved road.

Dennis Latta, director of the New Mexico Sports Authority, said that agency- which is listed as a “partner” of the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race on the event’s Web site, along with the New Mexico Tourism Department-would also evaluate the incident.

Indications are, however, that it “wasn’t a matter of poor planning on the organizers’ part,” Latta said.

“There were no real problems in New Mexico, and I don’t think there would (have been) in Kansas if they (Wilcox and Olsen) had stopped at the finish line,” he said.

McPherson County Sheriff’s Department officials consider the incident an accident and have not pressed charges, Johnston said, adding that the driver of the car was on a “straight through” section of road and unable to avoid the animals.

Riders were told before the day’s stage began that the road was just a half-mile away from the finish line, Johnston added.

News Link:
News Link:


Sept. 13, 2007
Two horses killed, 3 injured in collision


Organizers of an 800-mile horse race that finishes in Gardner this weekend are investigating an accident Tuesday that killed two horses and injured two riders.

The collision came on the ninth day of the 13-day race that began in Santa Fe, N.M., and snakes through parts of the Midwest before ending Saturday.

The two riders, a woman from southwest Missouri and one from Oklahoma, were airlifted to a Wichita hospital, where they were recovering Wednesday. The driver of the car was also injured.

“It’s made everybody sad for what’s happened,” said Rob Phillips, organizer of The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race.

On Tuesday, the two leaders of the day were finishing the race just before 2 p.m. when they collided with a car traveling down a blacktop road south of Canton, Kan.

Jim Johnston, McPherson County undersheriff, said the two riders had sprinted past the finish line about a half-mile back and kept riding.

“I don’t know exactly what happened, if they got caught up in the excitement and just kept going or what happened,” Johnston said Wednesday. “But when they got to the road, there just happened to be a car there at that exact time.”

Undersherrif Jim Johnston clarified the details of the accident saying, “the car hit one horse the other horse hit the side of the car.”

“It was like hitting a dad gum brick wall,” Wilcox said of her horse slamming into the Buick.

Phillips said the finish line was clearly marked about a half-mile back from where the crash occurred. Someone was there clocking times. 

“We take it as a very serious incident,” Phillips said.

Both horses, Mr Valentine and Foxfire, were killed instantly.

They were buried at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge.

News Link:
News Link:


Sept 11, 2007
*Tragedy Strikes -Two Riders Airlifted*

An accident at 1:58 p.m. Tuesday marred the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race traveling through McPherson County. The accident at 27th Avenue and Cimarron Road seven miles south of Canton.

A vehicle struck two horses and two women riders were airlifted to Wichita after sustaining apparent disabling injuries, according to the McPherson County sheriff’s department.

The driver of the vehicle was transported to McPherson Memorial Hospital, according to officials.

Eyewitnesses reported the women riders apparently went past the finish line and into the path of a vehicle moving northbound to Canton.

The McPherson County sheriff’s department, Canton fire and EMS personnel and Moundridge EMS were dispatched to the accident.

The riders followed a route from Dakota Road to Fifth Avenue, to Cimarron Road across McPherson County Tuesday.

News Link:


Sept 8, 2007
Dodge City
Riders Reach The Halfway Point


A farrier works on a horse Saturday at the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo grounds. Participants in the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride stopped in Dodge City for a weekend stay.


For Joe Reilly, one of the most enjoyable moments of the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride came when he rode out of Santa Fe, N.M., the first day and saw the spectacular scenery around him.

Joyce Adams also raved about the scenery in Santa Fe. But for her, the most memorable part of that day was just finishing the race.

“I took a flatlander horse from western Kansas, and I took it up to the mountains and we completed it right in the middle of the pack,” she said in an interview Saturday.

“I wanted to say, ‘Look at us! Look what we did!'”.

Reilly is an experienced endurance rider, while Adams is a novice.

Both of them are competing in the first-ever Santa Fe Trail Horse Race, which began Sept. 3 in Santa Fe and will end 13 days later in Independence, Mo.

The race route mirrors the old Santa Fe Trail, with overnight stops in several communities along the way.

The riders took a weekend break at Roundup Arena in Dodge City, then saddled up early Sunday morning and hit the trail again.

News Link:  Dodge Globe


Sept. 7, 2007
Special US Postmark Available

The Overbrook, Kansas Post Office will offer a special postmark to celebrate the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race Endurance Ride from Santa Fe, N.M., to Independence, Mo., Sept. 3-15. The special postmark will be applied to any item with first-class postage affixed and will be available from 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 7.


Update: Sept 6, 2007

According to a phone message I had late Sept 6 with Rob Phillips, who is one of the race organizers, the race positions were at that moment:

First: Scott Griffin
Second:  Theresa Wilcox
Third:  Dawson Higgins


Sept 6, 2007


 Kathy Myers and her Arabian horse Blue, the only Santa Fe area duo participating in the 515-mile Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race, ended their bid to finish the event today.

The team made it through back-to-back 50 mile rides on Monday and Tuesday with flying colors. But Wednesday, near Clayton, N.M., Blue stepped through a metal panel on a small bridge at mile 39 and cut one of his rear legs, according to Pete Myers, the rider’s husband.

Although the gelding was fine, Kathy Myers felt it was better to take Blue home and let him rest.

The only other New Mexicans — Shawn Davis and Dawson Higgins, both from Tucumcari — are still in the event, which drew 60 riders from all over the U.S.

Update: Sept 5, 2007

Team Liberty of Tucumcari is in the No. 3 spot after two days in the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Endurance Race, said Shawn Davis, Liberty Team captain from Tucumcari.

“We’re in third. We’re doing okay. We’re right up there where we need to be,” said Davis in a telephone interview from Springer, the layover for the second day of the ride.

“They’re doing good,” said Rob Phillips, one of the race organizers in charge of accommodations.

Dawson Higgins, also of Tucumcari, rode the first day and completed 50 miles from Santa Fe to Las Vegas in the 850 mile endurance race. Davis took the second leg, another 50 miles.

“We’re really surprised,” said Davis.

Riders and horses are doing well, said Davis.

The horses, all five of which are from Quay County, “are performing better than we expected,” Davis said.

Higgins and Davis will ride a fresh horse for the first five days, and then begin again on the most rested horse.

During the race, veterinarians on the trail check each horse to be sure that its in race condition.

Today, Higgins will ride again starting out at 7 a.m. from Springer, Davis said.

Their destination today will be Clayton.

Davis heard about the race at least 14 months ago and was inspired by the challenge.

“It’s a challenge because of the length of the race and it’s never been done before,” said Davis, when he began drumming up support for team members and for the trail ride.

One of the main objectives of the race is to educate the public not only about the national historic Santa Fe Trail, but also to introduce the sport of endurance riding to thousands, according to its organizers.

It’s also a test of horse and rider, who will gain a greater appreciation of the trail that brought many homesteaders and adventurers westward.

Davis said before he left, that often because of the terrain or to meet daily goals, the rider will have to dismount and run along with his horse during the race.

The name Team Liberty has roots in the past.

“I picked the name Liberty to stay with the Santa Fe Trail era,” Davis said. “Tucumcari used to be a community north of here called Liberty.”

Liberty was founded in the late 1800s, north of Pajarito Creek, for the soldiers of Fort Bascom. Five men from Liberty founded Tucumcari in the early 1900s when the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad decided to build a line to connect with the El Paso and North-eastern Railroad at Santa Rosa.

Race organizers said early on that they wanted to make the ride as much fun and as competitive for as many riders as they possibly could, so that it will be an event that can be repeated annually.

Entrants were able to enter as a team or as an individual. It’s also why the event has a targeted 50- to 55-mile goal race day, so that more people would enter. There are also many prize categories, including a $2,500 saddle.

Over the past year, Davis has been soliciting support from sponsors, both for the entrance fee and for their travel budget, that includes five horses. In all he estimated the costs could reach $20,000.

On Friday night, there was a sponsors’ dinner to say thank you and to support Team Liberty on its entry in the inaugural race.
Win or place, when Davis started out he said he just wanted to complete the 515-mile endurance race.

Team Liberty
Team Number: 2
Team Rider:
Dawson Higgins, Shawn Davis
Horse Breed:
Quarter Horses, grade horses
Team Members:
(All from Tucumcari where noted)
Shawn Davis
Dawson Higgins
Austin Higgins
Dereck Owen
Donnie Bidegain
Jason Lafferty
Ryan Hamilton
George Price of Capitan
Van Robertson
Pete Walden Silver City
George Owen of Clovis


Sept. 3: Start from Santa Fe Start to Las Vegas, 50 miles
Sept. 4: To Springer, 50 miles
Sept 5: To Clayton   55 miles
Sept. 6: No Ride
Sept. 7: To Elkhart, Kan. 50 miles
Sept. 8: No ride
Sept. 9: To Larned, Kan., 50 miles
Sept. 10: To Lyons, Kan., 55 miles
Sept. 11: To Council Grove, Kan., 50 miles
Sept. 12: No ride
Sept. 13 : To Burlingame, Kan., 50 miles
Sept. 14: To Gardner, Kan.
Sept 15: To Independence, Mo., 55 miles
Total miles: 515                                       

New Mexico News Release


Anky and Salinero Win FEI European Title


 Anky van Grunsven and Keltec Salinero


Dutch rider Anky van Grunsven and Keltec Salinero won the title of 2007 FEI European Dressage Kur Champion in La Mandria, Italy. This is Anky’s third individual European title after Arnhem in 1999 with Gestion Bonfire and Hagen in 2003.


Grand Prix 2007
Anky and Salinero

 Earlier Post:  Anky and Salinero ~ Final World Cup 2006

Rehab-Horse Wins Bronze At European Vaulting Champs


Liz Mackay and Islay


A former police horse deemed unsuitable for duty has triumphed at a major international vaulting competition, thanks to the dedication of equine welfare charity the International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) and his new borrower.

Islay, a 17.3hh 12-year-old black gelding on loan to Liz Mackay from the Eagles Vaulting Group in Perthshire, England won a bronze medal for Great Britain at the FEI European Vaulting Championships, held in Kaposvar, Hungary.

Islay and his vaulter, 17 year old Victoria McLaren were competing in the Junior Female Individual CVI.

Liz Mackay stated,  “We achieved so many personal bests that my head is still spinning!

Islay was an absolute star from beginning to end.


Islay arrived at ILPH Farm in Aboyne in 2002 from the Strathclyde Police Mounted Branch.

Islay did not fit well into the stress of police work.  He found loud noises scary and would not stand still at football matches.

The Mounted Police Unit signed him over to International League for the Protection of Horses. It was there that Islay began an extensive rehabilitation program.

After a year he had progressed so well and had such an excellent temperament that we asked Liz if she would like to try him for vaulting.

The rest is history!”


Re-written from news sources:

The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race

The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Ride – 2008 


The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Ride

The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Ride – 2007


 The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race is an 800 mile endurance ride completed over a 13 day period. It is open to all breeds.

The ride will start in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 3, 2007 and end in Missouri on September 15, 2007

One of the main objectives of the race is to educate the public not only on the national historic Santa Fe Trail, but also to introduce the sport of endurance riding to thousands.

One Hundred teams will spend each evening in the race village where over 100,000 spectators are expected to visit throughout the entire course of the event.

The riders will complete the specified distance for the day then stop and spend the night at the race village. Each rider’s time will be recorded, and accumulated for end of the race.

The rider with the shortest time overall will be declared the winner.  In addition to an individual winner, team competition will exist.

Spectators are encouraged to turn out to greet the riders at “race villages,” which will be overnight stopping points for the riders and their horses. 

Santa Fe, N.M., Sept. 1-2

Las Vegas, N.M., Sept. 3

Springer, N.M., Sept. 4

Clayton, N.M., Sept. 5

Elkhart, Kan., Sept. 6

Dodge City, Kan., Sept. 7-8

Larned, Kan., Sept. 9

Lyons, Kan., Sept. 10

Council Grove, Kan., Sept. 11-12

Burlingame, Kan., Sept. 13

Gardner, Kan., Sept. 14-15.

Link: Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race

Link:  Old West Legends ~ Santa Fe Trail

Link:  News Report


Cattle Drive Joins Surfers On California Beach


Surf meets hoof as board-toting beachgoer navigates a path through the cowboys and their herd.


The usual early morning sight along the wide white beaches in Huntington Beach, California are surfers, surfers and more surfers.    

That was until a few days ago when the coastal cattle drive hit town.


Myron Arnold said he knew something was different Thursday morning when he drove down Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. “It wasn’t salty air and it wasn’t suntan lotion.”  It was, well,  another aroma.

Forty cowboys and nine cattle dogs led 100 steers down a 1 1/2 -mile stretch of sand in Huntington Beach at 7 a.m., a time of day usually reserved for surfers and joggers.  

And so it was that Surf City was transformed into Cow Town, if only for an hour. 


The surf-and-hoof event at the Huntington Beach Pier was meant to promote both the Orange County Fair and the U.S. Open of Surfing, an annual tournament taking place just south of the city’s historic pier.

Marketing intentions aside, the sights and sounds and smells of a cattle run in a city best known for its legendary surf created more than a little excitement.


Crowds viewed the herd from a beachside path on a bluff as the bovine brigade shuffled south toward the pier. 

No fewer than four news helicopters documented the cattle drive.


“We’re the herd following the herd,” said Rick Henn, 48, a mail carrier from Huntington Beach who took the day off to see the cattle with his wife, Beth. 

The cowboys, sporting Stetsons, jeans, boots and bandannas, wore wraparound sunglasses and tropical shirts.


One of them, Robert Kidd, a former resident of Huntington Beach, said herding cattle on the beach was an age-old tradition. So much so that his four-member team of wranglers call themselves the Long Board Cowboys.

“This used to be cattle country right here,” he said from atop a mule. “I left Huntington Beach in a Chevy in ’66 and came back on a mule.

That mule wore a black banner reading, “Never Surf Downstream From the Herd.”



After the bovine sand parade, the cowboys and cattle dogs herded their Longhorns away from the U.S. Open of Surfing and on to less sandy pastures.

Story: Los Angeles Times