2012 Gold Medal: Laurie Birch and Scudd Run


Virgin and Outlaw Ride. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Rider and horse name:

Laurie Birch


Scudd Run

(Being a licensed pilot, I was delighted with my mare’s registered name. By definition, it’s a practice in which pilots fly low and fast to stay clear of weather, maintaining visual contact with the ground while avoiding physical contact with it… very apropos for her!)

Horse Barn name:




Horse & rider years in endurance & # of miles:

Rider – 10 years in endurance with 6010 miles

Horse – 5 years in endurance with 5410 miles


Death Valley Encounter. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Which XP ride did you enjoy the most this year?

I enjoyed the Outlaw and the Virgin Pioneer for spectacular scenery with unbound territory.

Which ride did you find the most challenging, and why?

The Paunsagaunt XP (a.k.a. Bryce Canyon), with its rocky terrain and elevated altitudes, made it a challenge but rewardingly manageable.

What do you feel is the most important thing you learned about yourself and your horse this past year?

For me, it helped having things organized to make multiday ride preparations easy.

For my horse, it was how to manage calorie intake to keep up with the energy demand.

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 did this over again while managing a full time job, I would have “banked” more vacation to allow sufficient time to attend the rides.

What do you think was the best thing that you did do?

Having the luxury of downloading the trail onto my GPS made navigating easy, with or without ribbons.

What are your horse’s best qualities?

I consider her safe and an easy keeper. Best of all, there is no “off” switch!

Did anything funny or strange happen on any of the rides this year?

Little did I know how lucky those playing cards were that we had to pick up at specified locations on the trail in order to get credit. At the end of the ride, with your card being your raffle ticket, the prize, if you won…a genuine, one of a kind, “XP” branded wooden toilet seat!

Grand Canyon XP. Photo by Steve Bradley.