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.

2010 Gold Medal: Becky Lange and Mocha Jack

Becky Lange and Mocha Jack at Mt. Carmel. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Becky Lange and Mocha Jack

Barn name: M

XP name: Jack

Breed: Kentucky Mountain Horse

Both M and I started endurance in 2009 and our very first ride was Cuyama.  We have 2 years in now and 1510 miles.  2009 – 405 and 2010 – 1105

I just love the Cuyama ride – it’s only 20 miles from where I live and it was my 1st ride.

I found Bryce to be the most challenging ride because the footing was very rocky and there were a lot of steep climbs and steep downhills.

Becky Lange and Mocha Jack. Photo by Steve Bradley.

What I learned from doing the XP series was that I have the most awesome little horse in the world.  He will do anything I ask, willingly and seems to be having so much fun doing it.  Every ride was a blast.  Being gaited – M is like riding in an easy chair which makes it so enjoyable for me.  I can just sit back and take in the scenery.

I guess the only thing I could have done differently was ride all 4 days at Eastern Mojave, and all 5 days at Bryce and the Grand Canyon – but my goal was to do 1000 miles and we did that in style.  M top 10’d all 20 races that he competed in – he has never been pulled.  He is always sound and he seems to really enjoy his job.
We have met a lot of great people doing these rides.  Everyone has always been very friendly and helpful.  I started in this sport knowing very little and I have learned so much over the past two years.
I look forward to doing as many of the XP rides as I can in 2011.  M is my one and only little horse so I have to take really good care of him just like he takes really good care of me.

M has also done Tevis in both 2009 and 2010 and completed both years – 2009 – 19th and 2010 – 25th.
M is #1 lightweight in the Pacific Southwest, #2 overall in the Pacific Southwest and #3 lightweight Pioneer horse with just 2 rides and 405 miles.

2010 Gold Medal: Carla Richardson and Khid

Congratulations to Carla and Khid for achieving Gold Medal XP status in 2010! They completed 1,005 miles of XP and SRR rides!

Carla and Khid at Bryce Canyon. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Carla and Khid at Bryce. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Rider and horse name: Carla Richardson, SS Kharady Khid

Barn name of horse: Khid

Breed: Arabian

Horse & rider years in endurance & # of miles: All our miles are together, 4310 endurance miles, 3 years, started December 2007 at Death Valley

Which XP ride did you enjoy the most this year?

Grand Canyon XP, it’s my favorite I think, although they are ALL great!

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

Mt Carmel XP, it was a 5 day this year and early enough in the year that we’re less “in condition” for a 5 day.  Lots of deep sand, too, and it’s fairly warm, which makes it harder for me.  It is a fun ride, though, with great views, so it’s still one of my favorites.  There is no bad XP ride!

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

I learned that I am really the weak link of the team, and that I needed a saddle that fit me better.  My riding is not as balanced as it really ought to be, partly because I’m not as fit as I should be, and partly due to not having a saddle that’s right for me.  My horse continues to amaze me at how adaptable he is, how willing he is, to carry me mile after mile.  I believe that having him in boots, barefoot with boots, also helps him successfully complete so many miles.

Is there anything you did this year that you would do differently next year?

I can’t really think of anything.  I feel very fortunate to be able to go to endurance rides.

Carla and Khid at Grand Canyon. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Carla and Khid at Grand Canyon. Photo by Steve Bradley.

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

I believe Khid travels (to and from the rides) better now than he did when we started out.  I have learned more about know how to feed him prior to leaving home to help him be better hydrated and ready for the long trailer rides. Buying a topper shell for my truck also helped a lot, no more setting up and pulling down a tent.  I can sleep in the back of the truck!

What are your horses best qualities?

His sweet disposition, his willingness, his ability to just keep going, never lame, never complaining.  Also, so important, he does not spook on the trail, and he doesn’t mind being alone or being passed by other horses.  His attitude is priceless.

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

Khid definitely remembers the trails, now that we’ve been coming back to several of the rides that we’ve done before, I can tell he remembers where we are.  One time, I was sure we were going the right way, but Khid kept trying to turn left, and sure enough, he was right about where the trail was supposed to go; it surprised me.  We turned around and I found the turn I had missed, luckily it wasn’t far back.  He’s a great horse and I feel very fortunate to have him.

I want to be an XP rider

I want to be an XP rider…..

by Karen Chaton

Visions of the trail fill my mind

Desire to feel horseflesh, to inhale the scent of sweat

Dreaming of the day we trot thru the cool brisk morning air

As we race out of sight

Saddling my favorite mount; excitement in the air

Feeling the thrill, our destiny

Honored to cover the tracks of such famous horse and men

Recognize their accomplishments, respect their ability

The feeling deep inside overwhelms

Why are we here?

A dream many cannot understand

When an email can send the same information in seconds

That a Pony Express rider risked life and limb

The dream to go back in time and live and ride

Like the Pony Express rider way before our time

Is this a fantasy or a reality

Excitement consumes, how lucky could I be?

Grandma always said I was born in the wrong time

A shower is nice

Clean fingernails divine

But give me a saddle sore you’ll not hear me whine

Two thousand miles is it really that far….

Shut my eyes and imagine

Time to stop dreaming

It’s nearly time and the trail awaits….let’s Ride!

2010 XP Bronze Medal Horse & Rider Teams

Congratulations to our twelve 2010 Bronze Medal XP Horse and Rider teams!

1000 or more miles – same horse and rider, any combination of XP and SR rides = GOLD

750 to 999 miles – same horse and rider, any combination of XP and SR rides – SILVER

500 to 749 miles – same horse and rider, any combination of XP and SR rides – BRONZE

1 Alo Sabur Jenkins, Tom 655
2 Pro Bono D Chaton, Karen 655
3 MRR Pyro Fredrickson, Karen 600
4 EM Darrha Wright, Darla 555
5 Cheyenne Herman, Natalie 555
6 Scudd Run Birch, Laurie 555
7 Canadian Dash Benkly, Brenda 555
8 Carion Regardless Maynard, Jolynn 550
9 D.W. Hardrock Eustice, Helen 550
10 Simply Irrisistible Jankovich, Rebecca 505
11 Electrika Cardosa, Nancy 505
12 Remfire Breshears, Deborah 505