2011 Gold Medal: Terri Tinkham & Oliver Twist

Rider and horse name: Terri Tinkham & Oliver Twist

Horse Barn name: “Stubborn Damn Pony”Breed: Tennessee Walker/Standardbred cross.

Horse & rider years in endurance & # of miles Bought him in the Fall of 2004 and at the end of 2011 we had 8200 miles together.

Which XP ride did you enjoy the most this year? I liked Eastern Mojave the best. It is scenic and varied and the weather was agreeable.

Which ride did you find the most challenging, and why? The big long 2011 XP this Summer. Even though I only rode 700 miles of it, the hard roads with the mind numbingly boring one mile square grids, the biting flies and mosquitoes and the incredibly bad weather in the midwest took a huge toll on my morale. Oliver was leg weary and had a sore back so we took 12 weeks off once we got home. Unfortunately because of this I had to miss one of my favorite rides: Bryce Canyon.

What do you feel is the most important thing you learned about yourself and your horse this past year? That I would never ever do anything like that long XP again.

Is there anything you did this year that you would do differently next year? (or, if you had a chance to do this last year over again)?

If I knew then what I know now, I would have skipped riding in the midwest entirely and would have started in Western Nebraska once the terrain made agriculture impractical and tornado threats became non-existent. By the time there was interesting scenery and decent footing, I was burned out.

What do you think was the best thing that you did do? Gave my horse a well-deserved three months off once we got back.

What are your horses best qualities? Stamina and safety. I can ride him in a halter and feel completely and totally safe.