Endurance develops strength of character in us~ Romans 5:4 NLT


When you are on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have ~
Sir Winston Churchill
June 2016, Nehalem Bay, OR

History~  Farah arrived on the Homestead late in the evening June 4th, 2011 - after we'd completed a one day, round-trip to central Oregon to pick her up.  Five at that time, she's registered with the American Warmblood Society & of mixed pedigree.  (Our first new horse since Khari's arrival in 2005.)  
Farah, first day on the Homestead, June 2011
My niece purchased Farah - as she was turning two.  We'd visited a couple times, always impressed with the mare.  When she was put up for sale - I talked Butch into letting me giver her a try.  (I was tiring of Endurance & planned to sell my endurance mare, Khari.)  The hope was for Farah to fit into our little family on the Homestead & possibly become my Retirement Ride :-) 
June 2012, six-years old~
Along with her easy going temperament & super nice manners, she's considered a Chocolate Palomino - except that her mane has turned even darker than her body!  The tail is still platinum silver & very thick!  This is our first time with a non-Arabian & we're liking it!  Here's a post about her breeding.   After my first ride out on the trails, I came home with a smile.  Farah had a great attitude & loved getting out.  She'd spent most of her life stabled. 


2011, Farah had been started under saddle & spent some time in arenas - but had only been on a couple short trail rides around the stable where she was boarded.  The first time I saddled her up, Post~  I was thrilled!  It was back to basics - long slow distance, time on the trails.  We receive many compliments from our riding friends on how happy & willing Farah was!  I fell in love with her swinging, fast, ground covering walk!  Very little spooking, lots of forward!  All Good!  
She spent the winter & on into spring - on Dean's farm, recovering from some type of "scratches" on her left hind leg.  This actually worked out OK, since Khari had decided she didn't like Farah & tried to kick her every time we turned them out...  The feelings were mutual. 
Farah at Granite Falls Thoroughbred Farm, June 2012


2012, Our second year.  I'd sold my other mare Khari & she shipped out to Texas. (First stop on her way to Saudi Arabia.)  It was a stellar riding year, due in large part to my long-time friend Linda, who led us on some of the most fantastic rides!  Logging up to 30+ miles a week, "swishing" through the trees & riding all day long!  We took a few lessons at Fire Run Farm in Snohomish, WA - with Cowboy Dressage as a possible goal.  Over Labor Day weekend, we took a private lesson  from Jack Brainard at the Northwest Natural Horsemanship Center
During our lesson with Jack~
August 4th, we enter the Bare Bones Endurance ride, where we finished 7th &  Farah was Awarded High Vet Score!  This ride also gave me my AERC 250-mile patch in Limited Distance.    
Farah trots out for Best Condition Judging~
The 18th, I audited a Cowboy Dressage Clinic with Eitan-Beth Halachmy  at Rhodes River Ranch.  We completed the WJ1 test.  Challenging for a rider who's spent very little time in arenas.

January 2013 -  We started lessons with Sandra France Nichols at Ensbrook Farm.  When discussing goals, I decided to have Sandra to concentrate on Farah's training under saddle -  collection, impulsion, cadence & control.
Valentine's Weekend, we drove to Bolender Horse Park to participate in a Mountain & Extreme Trail course.  This was very challenging & a Lot of fun!  Day One~  Day Two~   
April was a busy month for us, we spent the weekend of the 20-21st. - at Butlerhill Equestrian Center & took Bill Richey's - Mounted Police Horse Training!  On the 27th - we attended the ATCHA Competitive Ride at the WA State Horse park!
With our Friends~
May 19th,  Scheduling finally worked out in our favor & Farah was presented for her American Warmblood Inspection - at Chalice Farms, Polsbo, WA - where she received "Red Preferred" status!  This qualified her for the AWS brand!

Farah's Official Registration
June 29th, we make the trip to Naches, WA for the  Renegade Endurance Ride & entered the Limited Distance.  Post~  Finishing in second place, Farah was awarded Best Condition! 
Renegade Endurance Ride - photo by Jessica Anderson
The first weekend of August, we again drove to Capitol Forest & entered the Bare Bones - 30-mile Limited Distance Ride.  We finished a strong third against some tough competition & had a great time. 

Butch trots Farah for BC judging.  (Photo by Jessica Anderson)
Earlier this year I found & signed up to participate in the Great HorseTrailRiders Distance Derby.  This is a group of riders from the mid-west who've started a virtual horse race.  Each rider logs their miles by GPS during the year.  All are tallied at year end for bragging rights :-)
The day we reached 1,000 miles~
We finished the year in fourth place!   

 Farah was awarded High Mileage Horse - in the Derby for 2013!  

Our actual miles - including the month of January, plus a ride I forgot to post -1,478.  Last ride of the year ~  Post~


 2014,  We were back out on the trails!  Logging miles again, for this years Distance Derby
May 17th - Farah started in her first real (A ride of 50-miles or more.)   Endurance Ride - Mt. Adams.  Finishing 6th place (out of 50 starters), covering the 55-miles in 7-hours.  I enjoyed this ride more than almost any I can remember.  Farah made it easy on me & took good care of herself.

Mt. Adams Endurance Ride

August 2nd, for the third time - Farah & I entered the Bare Bones 30-mile Limited Distance ride.

Bare Bones LD - At the finish - 3rd place

It was cooking hot with lots of bees & bugs out in force!  Even so, Farah had her take charge attitude in full swing!  We kept up with the front runners until the last few miles when I backed off the pace - still finishing over an half-hour ahead of the fourth place horse!  

2014 Distance Derby

By years end - we'd finished second place - in the Derby!  Thrilled with the miles we'd traveled, since all but 85 were on the trail.

Farah's Award

Farah was again awarded High Mileage Horse!  She was super all year & now expects to be ridden often!  I wish we had a job to do out there somewhere :-)  Our final ride was on our own & out from home - Post~  


2015,  I've decided to back-off the push for mileage & let this year take us where it may.  With the help of a couple friends, we've started the Washington Trail Riders Distance Derby!  This year marks my twentieth in endurance, I can't quite give it up completely & hope to attend at least a ride or two :-)

In March, we were invited on a road-trip to Southern, CA.  The scenery was amazing the riding more so!  I'm very thankful to have had the opportunity.  I posted the stories of each of our rides.  First ride~

Near Joshua Tree National Park~

May 16th - We entered the Mt. Adams Endurance Ride for the second time.  Post~  Farah won the 55-mile ride in 5 hours 24 min.  She was just outstanding all day, proving to me that she has the bottom & the brains to get the job done!

Mt. Adams Endurance Ride~

We did a lot of horse camping this season & my favorite thing - riding in new country! :-)  All this year - still looking for, or waiting for, a saddle.  Even with the warmest Summer on record we again topped 1,000-miles on the trail. Finally, the end of November our saddle arrived!  The Stonewall

 2016,  It's unreal how fast the time goes when you're having fun!   (I handed the reins of the WTRDD over to a friend for 2016.)  This year - no special goals, just the fun stuff :-)   

In April, we made our second trip to the Quincy Area, enjoying another amazing ride to the Cave B Winery

Tied to the grape arbor!

May 21st - We were prepared for the Mt. Adams Endurance Ride.  Backing off a very fast pace & finishing in second - Farah was awarded Best Condition.  Post~  It's fun for us to have a goal to work toward - even if I'm no longer interested in doing ride after ride.  Mt. Adams; perfect trails - a beautiful ride camp & this year - a visit with good friends.  Farah was ready & she proved it in a big way.  Thank You John, for the terrific trot-out!  

John Stevens trots Farah for Best Condition judging~

June, we enjoyed our yearly trip to Nehalem State Park in OR.  Little did we know then - that it would probably be our last. Several days of surf & sand - nothing like it!

Farah - sunset

Later in the month - we attended a clinic with Russell Beatty at a friends farm in Monroe.  It was fun for us both & nice to learn new & useful techniques.

Farah with Russell~

By early July, our world changed.  The trails I'd ridden on for over 25-years were being destroyed by new development.  Farah & I had our last ride Out from Home~

Last ride from Home~

Soon, the Homestead was sold & we were on the road to Iowa!  Change is the one constant of life & this year we made many.  Farah is now stabled for the first time since we've owned her & we're doing our best to adjust to that.  She is happy to be near other horses & we have a whole new part of the country to explore!

2017,  Now that we've found ourselves in Iowa, it's been a year of discovering new places to ride.  Challenging too, to get in the saddle time I used to.  The weather takes a huge chunk of the calendar when it comes to ride-able days.  January is one of the coldest months.  It wasn't until my birthday in February that we hit the trails at; Two Rivers State Recreation Area in NE.
At Two Rivers~
Over the course of the year, we explored most available places to ride within 50 +/- miles of home.  We've met some new friends, connected with an old friend & saw some incredibly beautiful country.  February was wet, we were only out once.
March 4th - Indian Caves State Park, NE - the Missouri
March gave us a couple really nice days when the trails were dry enough to ride.  One of my favorite views, is the one above of the Missouri River.  Both Farah & I are loving the wide-open vista's.

Spring brought the wind, rains & mud.  The gorgeous greens came on quickly, along with much warmer temperatures.  March & April were so wet, There were only a few days that the trails were open.  By May though - we finally had riding weather!
Indian Caves, May 27th - The Missouri
With summer came the heat, humidity & bugs.  We both adapted to the high humidity & heat better than I expected.  The bugs though - were horrible.  Sprays, masks & still we were both bitten every ride.  I'm told that our deep freeze this winter will kill a lot of them off.  I hope that's true!
Fall at Waubonsie
Fall brought with it, the best riding weather of the year. We had temperatures in the 50's & it stayed dry. With the steep hills at Waubonsie & the hill in her paddock, Farah stayed in incredible shape all year.
At Lake of Three Fires~
We did get in a couple of camping trips that were really fun! One in September - to Brushy Creek Recreation Area - a place that actually has miles & miles of trails. The other with our new friend Margie, at Lake of Three Fires.
On the Wabash Trace, December 
We also re-discovered the Wabash Trace - the closest place to home that we can go. Also the most miles & beautifully remote in a few places. With Butch working, I don't have the opportunity for week long, out-of-state camping trips that are popular in the summer. My riding has always been during the week & closer to home. I was surprised that we did travel the trails for over 400-miles. To ride those miles, I drove over 4,000 on the road.

No endurance ride for us this season.  My goal of at least a ride-a-year for ten-years with Farah will not be met.  With no rides in IA & having to pull health paperwork to travel out-of-state, I just didn't get it done.  We were busy with projects at home & my ambitions have waned.  It's been fun though - to explore all the different parks.

May 9, 2015 Mt. Blanchard Overlook
 I'm appreciative of every ride on this incredible mare & love every minute I spend with her.  It seems a waste, she's still so young & talented to retire to what trail riding I've managed to do here.  But, we're still together, adjusting to the changes & looking forward to what the future brings~

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