our 2009 XP Medal Horses! Click on their names below to read
here to see the 2009 list of XP Medal
Kerry Redente and
Jill Carr and
Karen Chaton and
Van Fossen and "Corbin"
||GOLD MEDAL XP
||Walker the Mule
||Redente, Kerry Lee
||Van Fossen, Heather
||Hearts of Harlem
||SILVER MEDAL XP
||SS Kharady Khid
||CR Zebra Splash
||O.T. Dytu RSI
||Hadji Halef Omar
||BRONZE MEDAL XP
||GF Brazil's Envy
||Miss T Mahogany
||MMF Thunders Echo
Jill Carr and Walker the
Rider and horse
Jill Carr & Walker the
Locally known as “The first place
on the left with all the horses and mules.”
Morgan mule. (That’s really just our best guess, considering
the few things we DO know about his origins. But also, since Les’
horse Tulip is a Morab, its fun to call
Walker a “Morass”. Definition of morass: A disordered
situation or circumstance, esp. one that impedes progress.
Something that hinders,
engulfs, or overwhelms: a morass of details.
Mess, confusion, chaos, jam, tangle, mix-up, muddle, quagmire)
Horse & rider
years in endurance & # of miles
Walker was formerly a
cow-cutting mule from Kentucky, but
was sold to a dealer & sent to California after completing 90
days of professional cutting training. Maybe he dreamed of being an
endurance mule?? He
began his endurance career when we bought him in 2006 and currently
has 2530 miles.
I started endurance when I met Les in 2005 and currently have
3790 miles. Before then
I mostly drove carriage horses in combined driving, wagon trains,
historical reenactments & just for fun. (And still do, when I’m
not out on the endurance trail with you all!
Which XP ride did you
enjoy the most this year?
I always love Ft
Schellbourne. I always
come home with amazing pictures & new stories to tell, and for
every day I survive the amazing trails, it makes me feel like I can
Which ride did you
find the most challenging, and why?
Well, at the Grand Canyon, I managed to make it to lunch 3
hours ahead of schedule, ahead of all the front runners. For some reason, nobody
believed me when I said Walker & I just hauled ass the whole
way! So of course,
Walker & I had to go all the way back and take the RIGHT trail
into lunch. That was
the only time I was ever lost for hours and didn’t even
know…ignorance is bliss!
What do you feel
is the most important thing you learned about yourself and your
horse this past year?
You can fall in love with
a mule, and he’ll treat you like he loves you back. Read the map
more often. Don’t trust Walker to follow the ribbons –
he’ll always take the DIRECT route to lunch. (Note previous answer.)
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)?
Ride more, eat
What do you think was the best thing
that you did do?
My amazing husband Les,
and all those XP miles and trails gave me the courage, experience
and confidence to take a shot at Tevis this year for the first time
– dang that rock with our name on it. We’ll try again next
What are your horse’s best qualities?
Well, after the first 1000
miles or so of getting acquainted, Walker is steadfast and SAFE! He has a great work ethic,
and even if he’d rather not go out on a particular day, he figures
it’s best to just get it over with, and he kicks in his really fast walk & takes
us down the trail to home. With a few entertaining exceptions, I’m
rarely worried about Walker being too difficult or
dangerous to ride.
Did anything funny or strange
happen on any of the rides this year?
Walker taught me early in our partnership never to
argue with him about how to negotiate a particular trail obstacle or
section. This year
Walker perfected his “Coon-jumping”
skills. If you’ve never seen this at mule events, this is where a
mule will stand at a fence, and leap straight up and over the top
from a standstill, and also land at a standstill on the other
side. Walker can do
this sideways or facing the obstacle up to about 3 feet high (seemed
like about 5 feet, but probably not…). (He does this on his own – he
doesn’t trust the horses in front of him to do it right, so he won’t
follow them in really tough spots) I learned from landing in various
heaps anywhere from his neck to behind the saddle to just give him
his head, grab leather, go loose and hang on! He then heads down the trail
like everybody does it that way. I wish I had a picture of THAT!
Heather Van Fossen
Rider and horse name: Heather Van Fossen and Hearts of
Barn name: Indian Orchard Ranch
Breed: National Show Horse
Horse & rider years in endurance & #
of miles Corbin has 6000 + miles / 5 years Heather almost
10,000 and 7 years
Which XP ride did you enjoy
the most this year? Schellbourne is a very special place. We love all of the 5 day
Which ride did you find the most challenging, and
why? I had truck
problems before Bryce Canyon , luckily everything
got worked out just in time.
What do you feel is
the most important thing you learned about yourself and your horse
this past year? It is
important to make these great rides a priority, they are very
special times and way better that single day
What do you think was the best thing that you
did do? I enjoyed riding with friends and really appreciate the
team effort, “we’re in this together” attitude that my riding
What are your horses best qualities? Corbin loves to be the
center of attention. He
has a great time patronizing his unknowing neighbors in camp. He is very honest and takes
his job seriously.