2010 Gold Medal: Heather van Fossen and Hearts of Harlem

Heather & Hearts of Harlem (Corbin). Photo by Lynne Glazer.

Heather Van Fossen
Hearts of Harlem
Breed: National Show Horse
Heather-12,000 miles
Corbin-7000 miles

I had a great time at Mount Carmel.  I love the Utah rides, mountain weather, and the fantastic trails Dave manages to find.  The trail on day 5 was unbelievable.  East Mojave is another of my favorites, imagine riding up a creek in the middle of the desert!

I found that the rock chute trail at Bryce was very challenging.  The Blue Fly backwards was nothing to worry about, the whole morning kept up alert and on our toes.  It was a very beautiful scenic single track and I would do it again in a heartbeat (except for the rock part…it seemed worse this year than last).

We had a great year this year.  The weather was pretty awesome at all of the XP rides.  I am happy to have a strong willing horse who is really excited to be out on the trail.  It is nice being able to ride with my good friends that live so far away.

Thanks so much to all the XP family who spends so much time getting these wonderful camps and trails ready for us.  I really love multidays and XP rides especially.  We really do get on some of the best trails in america, thanks again!!

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.