Gold Medal

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:

Taz

Breed:

Arabian

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.

 

2012 Gold Medal: Carla Richardson and SS Kharady Khid+/

 

Mt. Carmel XP. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Rider and horse name:   Carla Richardson and SS Kharady Khid+/

Horse Barn name:  Khid

Breed:  Arabian

Horse & rider years in endurance & # of miles

5 years, 8770 miles


Which XP ride did you enjoy the most this year? 

Grand Canyon XP. Photo by Steve Bradley.

 

Mt Carmel XP, because I had some challenges to overcome and I got by with a little (lot!) of help from my friends. It was my first attempt to glue on my own boots, and I had several failures (lost boots!). Plus, I had made a mistake when unloading Khid in the dark when I arrived two days before the ride started. He ended up having a scraped hind leg, which I soaked in the creek for two days before the ride started, worried it would be hurting him. Luckily, he’s a tough horse and it didn’t bother him at all. (Whew!) So I was thrilled when we managed to finish all 5 days despite all my mishaps and missteps.

 

Outlaw & Virgin, because of my mistake with boots again! (I have to learn everything the hard way) I had neglected to put a spare Glove on my saddle and Khid lost a glue on boot on the very rocky trail, but I didn’t notice until he was already becoming a little ouchy, then I realized I had no spare for him and had to hand walk him to lunch. He was sound at the walk but off at the trot, so … a lameness pull and we didn’t get to ride the beautiful trails! This was one of my most favorite rides last year, it is such a gorgeous ride, so I am determined to be there again in 2013! I’m hoping it’s a 5 day ride in 2013.


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

 

Grand Canyon XP. Photo by Steve Bradley.

My horse is so willing and kind, I depend on him so much and he keeps me going. I’ve always known it’s my responsibility to take good care of him, because he’s counting on me. It really “came home” to me this year when I made mistakes, and I’m so very thankful it was just a temporary setback, but it still “cost” in terms of lost miles and not being able to finish rides. I’m very goal oriented, and I wanted to win the Gold XP medal again, and I am so thankful we were able to do it again, three years in a row!


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)?

 

 

Grand Canyon XP. Photo by Steve Bradley.

See above!

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

Go to as many XP rides as I can, because it keeps me happy and my horse loves the XP trails more than any others!


What are your horses best qualities?

Sweet nature, and tough physical and mental spirit. He’s a doer and a goer.


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

Not funny as much as heartwarming, to see so many friends that I’ve gotten to know over the past few years, when I pull into camp now I’m not alone, it’s like a family reunion at every XP ride. But now I notice when someone isn’t there, which can be hard! For funny coincidences, Khid and I reached 7,000 miles at the Eastern Mojave Scenic XP, and 8,000 miles at the Grand Canyon XP, and I hope we are going to reach 9,000 miles at Death Valley Encounter for New Years! (Khid and I have all our endurance miles together.)