Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Owyhee April Fools (Tough Sucker)

Time to get ready for the first ride in the Northwest. We've been doing the Tough Sucker ride for many years - it's always fun, always a challenge because ya never know what the weather is going to be like in April. And this year we had the Winter From Hell with snow and ice all winter long. Record snow levels and low temperatures. And of course all that snow has to melt at some point so we've been having record water flows too. Our bridge is sort of hanging in there - under water for several weeks, hauled some new gravel, it is tenuous though..

So our ride is in (gulp) 2 1/2 weeks - the horses are still fat and furry, it will be a long slow ride. but hey, it's a ride, and the first ride of the year so it will be awesome no matter what.

But since we've been doing this same trail for so long, we decided to spice it up a little this year, a little different scenery. The desert is rather boring. We're going to take the first loop for the 50 and 25 mile riders up Toy Mountain. (optional for trail riders). There's still a bit of snow, but we've been able to find the original trail. It should be fun and beautiful up there.

Loop 2 for 50 and 25 milers will drop down into spectacular Sinker Canyon (optional for trail riders) - it's so gorgeous this time of year with all the rapids.

We've also decided to up our game with a dinner catered by Pierre Le Chef, coming all the way from France to cook his specialties for us.

And! we found a great deal on awards. Solid gold trophies made in Slovenia, very affordable and so lovely!

We hope you can join us for the ride! Steph & Team Tough Sucker


(further updates will be posted at )

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Goodbye Barney!

I was truly saddened to learn of the recent passing of Dr. Leslie B. "Barney" Fleming . He was a friend from the early years of Endurance Riding.

A generous and enthusiastic man, he and his wife Linda were part of this world, especially the multi-day rides. Barney the vet, Linda the farrier. Riding across the southern New Mexico desert, riding the Pony Express trail across America's west - some of our greatest adventures were during that time.

For several years Barney drove up from New Mexico to Idaho to vet our multi-day 'Owyhee Canyonlands'. Fun times and good memories.

Here's a photo of Barney (left) and John (right) taken on Halloween morning during the 2002 Owyhee Canyonland rides - Barney getting ready to watch riders head out on the trail, and John getting ready to check the marking on the ATV.

Goodbye Barney!


Monday, 23 January 2017

Looking back to warmer times...

Well it's been a record-setting snowy cold Idaho, and lacking inspiration for writing something new, I decided to look back at some of the warmer places I've been.

And Malaysia pretty much beats all for warmth! Right?

A little history - in 2005 Malaysia began building an endurance program in earnest. The newly appointed king, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, was a horseman, and had taken an interest in endurance riding. And so it began -

I was fairly high profile at the time with Endurance.Net and my previous international riding adventures, so was invited to come to ride and get involved in the program. What fun, what luck!

Here's the story of my first Malaysia adventure, in 2005. (such a long time ago!)

"There's something very soft and gentle about Malaysia. The air is soft and sweet and humid, the billowy clouds are soft and diffuse, the heat can be intense, but the sun's rays are filtered through the humidity, everything seems bathed in a gentle haze. The people are gentle too - gentle with their horses, gentle with each other. Thinking back on the other places around the world that I've been, with Endurance, with the horses, Malaysia still amazes me... "

Link to 2005 Edaran Classic on Endurance.Net

Thursday, 5 January 2017

It's gonna be a long winter...

We haven't seen dirt since early December, and just had two more snow days - close to 2 feet on the ground now. Yikes it's really pretty, but I think it's gonna get old. Merri is doing most of the outdoor horse stuff now, as I have a winter-wimp reputation to uphold.

John is out clearing the road this morning with the tractor, getting Regina un-stuck, and maybe I'll make it to town this weekend. (still have half 'n half though, so it's not an emergency). Horses are eating a LOT, and really furry, so I think they're ok.

John and I are playing music, I'm trying to re-learn the fiddle and he's swapping between guitar, banjo and mandolin. My fiddlin' is getting better and I'm remembering lots of songs we used to play. But still, it is not an easy instrument! We hooked up a midi keyboard to my iMac, and I'm laying down piano tracks to play by - that's been fun.

I wasn't really planning on riding this winter, but now I have an authentic excuse!

Winter on...


Follow on Endurance.Net

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

'Tis the Season!

Click on the Santa's to hear them sing!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Heart 2 Heart Endurance

I spent some time yesterday making award placques for some amazing kids. Heart 2 Heart Ranch is having their annual awards and recognition party next week and I volunteered to make placques for the Endurance Riding program.

For the past few years the Owyhee Endurance rides have seen a growing invasion of kids on mules. They aren't just regular old mules, they are race bred mules... and the kids aren't just regular kids, they are special needs children who have found a passion and outlet in riding thanks to Trinity Jackson and Heart 2 Heart Ranch. They show up in droves, and they really ride! Trinity usually sponsors the group, but others have stepped in as well.

We've always given discounts to Juniors at the Owyhee rides, but this year we're letting Juniors ride free! And others are contributing to the 'Juniors Ride Free' fund, including our favorite ride veterinarian who donated part of his fee to the 'mule kids'. The kids and mules always liven up ride camp and the vetting area!

At the recent Halloween ride they came dressed as Dalmations (not quite 101, but still a good showing!)

In 2008 Trinity received a grant from Zion Bank - the Smart Women Grant Award for 'Small Business Startup and Expansion'. That was the beginning of Heart 2 Heart Ranch.

From the H2H Ranch website: Trinity Jackson is a former special education teacher with heart. Owner of the newly created Heart-2-Heart Ranch in Parma, Idaho, Jackson teaches disabled children to ride mules.

Unlike many programs that teach kids how to ride an animal around an arena, Jackson hopes her program will give disabled children confidence by letting them compete at mule rodeos and shows.

"We want to teach them from the very beginning to the end, so that at some point they can be a little more independent and maybe own their own animal someday," Jackson says. "This will teach them responsibility and bring them self-confidence and self-esteem."

A mother of three, Jackson used grant funds to purchase additional acreage for the ranch near her home and to buy an arena so the kids can receive training year-round.

"We are trying to make it very affordable, like signing your child up to play T-ball," Jackson says. "We want whole families to be able to participate." The program will serve children across the spectrum of disabilities and in the future will include curriculum for nondisabled siblings as well.

I love it that we can share our sport and our rides with so many different people, and kids. (and mules!)


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Rapa Nui - looking back

A gray November morning, wondering about the coming winter project (I always have some project going!) and thinking back to the years of traveling around the world. November, six years ago, I was just home from an endurance ride on Easter Island - Rapa Nui - a most amazing opportunity, unforgettable images. I thought it might be fun to look back a bit until I get further inspired for this winter's project.

The story and all the photos are on Endurance.Net at

This photo is of the wrangler (native Rapa Nui riding in flip-flops ) that helped us select our horses for the race.

Horses are everywhere on Easter Island - very few cars, so people ride horses, and they basically have open range on the Island. Everybody knows whose horses belong to whom and they just graze them wherever it is possible. (for example beside this moai)

It was fun going back and reading the travel notes. While I was down there I had just seen the film documentary "180 Degrees South" - a road/boat trip down the pacific coast to Patagonia. The sound track by Ugly Casanova always reminds me of this time.

Steph Teeter