2010 Gold Medal: Cathy Bartusek and FS Nova Star

Cathy and Nova at Mt. Carmel. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Rider and horse name:

Cathy Bartusek / FS Nova Star

Barn name of Horse: Nova

Horse & rider years in endurance & # of miles: I have been riding endurance since 1995 and have accumulated 9035 miles.  When I purchased Nova in 2008 she had 860 miles of endurance under her belt.  Through 2010 year end Nova has 4380 endurance miles.

Which XP ride did you enjoy most this year? I would have to say my most enjoyable ride this year was Grand Canyon.  To experience the Grand Canyon on horseback is breathtaking to say the least.

Which ride did you find the most challenging, and why? That would also have to have been Grand Canyon.  Sitting in my trailer in the rain for the two days prior to the ride gave me lots of time to think.  The morning of ride day one we actually got a little reprieve from the rain but it only lasted long enough to saddle up and start the ride.  Luckily I dressed appropriately and stayed warm and dry all day even with the rain and snow.  Believe it or not it was actually quite fun except maybe on the canyon rim edge when the wind was blowing along with the thunder and lightening.

Cathy & Nova at Bryce. Photo by Steve Bradley.

What do you feel is the most important thing you learned about yourself and your horse this past year? I never imagined that I would own a horse that was capable of covering so many miles with ease.  Nova and I had a great year in 2010 completing 2155 miles for the season.  She earned 1st place Pioneer Award, 2nd place National Mileage,and 2nd place War Mare. Nova is a once in a lifetime awesome horse.  What I learned about myself is that after owning several horses that don’t stand still when I mount that maybe it is a training issue.

Is there anything you did this year that you would do differently next year? For the 2011 ride season I will probably not do as many miles on Nova.  It would be wonderful if Nova could reach the 5000 mark next season.  My other horse Treasure has 2600 endurance miles and I would love her to reach 3000 miles during 2011.

What do you think was the best thing that you did do? Nova went 2155 endurance miles in one season with no pulls!  Add to that all the 2155 miles were Pioneer rides from 3 to 5 days long. She completed all days of all the rides we entered.

What are your horses best qualities? Nova can tiptoe through anything from bogs to rocks with me either on her back or leading her.  There is not a horse I would rather be on when the going gets tough.

Did anything funny or strange happen on any of the rides this year? Nova and I received best condition and fastest time 4 day horse at the Death Valley Encounter.  Never in my wildest dreams could I even have imagined this.  It still brings tears to my eyes to think about it.