All photos courtesy of our fabulous ride secretary, Louisa Emerick137 horses and riders. 7 vets. At least 40 volunteers. 18 HAM radio operators. 2 farriers. At least 137 more people crewing and supporting the 137 riders on course. And a core group of 10 or so crazy, awesome people who, year after year, work hard to bring you the Foxcatcher Endurance Ride. That's all it takes for a successful event! Well, and a little cooperation from Mother Nature always helps.
A few snippets of stories from some of our competitors:
Sue Greenall, winner of the 25 mile ride, went through TWO trucks to get here from Vermont, and eventually caught a ride with Meg Sleeper and Dave Augustine after she made it as far as New Jersey before she broke down again. When I last spoke to her, she had no idea how she was going to get home... :-)
|Not Sue. Or Meg. But, hi, happy competitor!|
Meg Sleeper, who gave Sue and her horse a ride to the event, didn't arrive until early Saturday morning because storms in New Jersey kept HER from driving to Maryland on Friday afternoon.
Meg, by the way, finished 10th in the 50 mile ride. And her homebred horse, Syrocco Cadence, won the Best Condition award. It was a repeat of 2011, when Cadence and Meg won BC.
Meg's husband Dave finished 14th, with another homebred Syrocco Harmony.
|Dave Augustine and Harmony|
We're delighted to announce that for two years running, Meg and Dave have managed to keep their horses attached to their trailer or to themselves the entire ride. They are notorious escape artists, those horses of theirs.
Foxcatcher website's "poster child" Tom Hutchinson finally came to visit us again, all the way from Maine. This time he brought along 2 junior riders: Calla and India Orino. They finished the 50 mile ride in 24th place, and the girls tied for the First Finishing Junior award.
|Farrier was kept busy on a muddy day|
14 year old Austin Shaffer proved he's experienced enough to ride with the best of them, even at his young age. He rode as an unsponsored junior, and finished fourth. His mom, Deb Shaffer, won the 50 mile ride with a ride time of four hours and fifty minutes. Austin's dad, Neal, finished 23rd. That's one heck of an endurance family.
Speaking of endurance families, long-time Foxcatcher supporter Bob Walsh brought his grandson, Riley, to ride the 25 mile ride with him. Grandsons keep you young, I think. Bob joked all day that he was having to hustle to keep up with Riley. They finished round about 34th in the 25 mile ride.
|The Bob Walsh endurance family|
|Riley Carroll. This was his first AERC ride.|
Think that endurance horses can only go down the trail? Think again. Sweet little Bene, ridden by junior Savannah Johnson (first to finish junior in the 25 mile ride, and 7th overall) does it all. He hunts. He events. He does Pony Club. And he's an awesome little endurance horse, whom at least 6 different people have piloted over the years.
|Savannah and Bene|
We had a great ride this year, with many thanks to all who made it happen. All our volunteers. Our HAM guys (who, by the way, thoroughly enjoy coming here. They do it for free, they come from far away, and they said they've never worked with such friendly competitors. So, thanks, riders, for being nice to our radio guys. It really does get noticed). Thanks to the folks at Fair Hill DNR who keep the trails in great shape. Thanks to Frank Stafford for manning the tractor on yet another muddy Foxcatcher. Thanks to my dad for creating and maintaining the Foxcatcher website. And thanks to my husband, and to all the significant others of everyone involved, who stayed at home taking care of the kids (both two legged and four!). We couldn't make this ride happen without you!
|Lise Lavender, Volunteer Coordinator|
|My baby girl. She helped score. Thus, all the mistakes...|