Riders Win Back-to-Back National Trail Championships
year's champions in the International Arabian Horse Association
(IAHA) National Competitive Trail Ride Championship repeated their
victories in 2002. Ellen Schwartz and her Arabian mare Shazanna
S Glory and Chris Eickleberry and her Half-Arabian/ Half-Appaloosa
gelding WR Cowboy, won second championship trophies at the 2002
two-day, 72-mile ride held at Big Hill Lake State Park in Cherryvale,
Kansas, over Labor Day weekend. Their lucky charm? Togetherness.
Last year they rode together. This year the two Indianans took it
a step further. They drove together, camped together and won together.
only was good fortune smiling on Schwartz and Eickleberry, but the
homework the pair did weeks before the ride paid off. "We practiced
camping the month before," says Eickleberry, who lives in Columbus,
which is approximately 170 miles from Monroe where Schwartz lives.
"We set up our pens and trailered our horses together to make
sure they got along. Then we took two days to get to the ride and
arrived early on Wednesday so the horses had time to relax."
even had a plan to ease the tense moments that inevitably develop
during a ride. "We're both alpha mares," jokes Eickleberry.
"So we apologized to each other in advance."
it came to their expectations, the two parted company. Eickleberry
is the perpetual pessimist, Schwartz the eternal optimist. After
the first day of trotting her Half-Arabian on the hard packed rocky
trail that twisted up and down around the lake, Eickleberry thought
she'd be happy just to finish. Schwartz had higher aspirations.
"I go with the idea I can win it," says Schwartz. "Chris
is afraid that will jinx us."
the awards ceremony, Schwartz grew more confident when she compared
her mare's legs to the others. "A lot of the horses had gouges
from the rocks and she didn't so I thought we would at least be
in the top eight," says Schwartz. In addition, the 28 original
contenders had been thinned to 18, when more than a third of the
competitors failed to pass the pulse and vet checks.
was expecting a lady with a pinto Half-Arabian to take the trophy.
"I felt so discouraged on Sunday because I had lost a zillion
points. Instead, they called my name," she says. "All
I could say was, 'No, you must be kidding.' "
new trophy sits next to last year's on her window sill. She jokes,
"I have two of them--almost a herd."
not only won another silver trophy, she and Little Bit won High
Scoring Horse for the second year in a row and took home a second
$5,000 Sweepstakes check. The International Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes
awarded $9,285.25 to eligible horses at this ride.
Cooper, a local competitor who lives just a few miles away in Lawrence,
Kansas, won the reserve championship in the Arabian division with
SS Storm Warning. "He was bred for this," says Cooper,
who won the championship 10 years ago with SM Gata Smoke, SS Storm
Warning's half sister. "My stallion (Gray Smokey+) has sired
four different champions in IAHA National Competitive Trail and
let us choose whether we wanted to go in front, in the middle or
in back of the pack," says Cooper. "Since he likes moving
out every chance he can get and doesn't like to be rated, we started
out in the lead on Saturday which suited him just fine."
rugged trails turned out to be an unexpected boon for the spirited
gelding. "There are lots of rocky areas where you just couldn't
go as fast," says Cooper. "So we had to make up time every
chance we got, and it ended up feeling like a 36-mile endurance
reserve champion, Half-Arabian Dash-of-Premeer, may look gray but
he was a dark horse candidate when owner Shelly Bradford decided
to let Christine Abbott enter him in the championship. "Before
the ride he'd done embarrassingly little work," says Bradford.
"I had just had my fifth child when I found out I was moving
from Kansas to Ontario so the kids just rode him around."
rode him for about three weeks on 5 to 6 mile outings. During the
ride, she relied on help from her mentor Karen Everhart, who had
ridden the gelding to a Region 8 championship in 2001. Everhart
placed in the top eight on PS Trakara Bask at the national ride.
Abbott's cheerful smile earned her a bridle from The Arabian Saddle
Company, the prize for being voted "Favorite Rider" by
the ride workers.
talked me into trying this," says Abbott. "Then when we
were called as the reserve champions she says, 'Maybe I mentored
you too well.' "
wasn't quite deja vu for the High Scoring Junior title, but it was
close. For the second year in a row, a Neunzig won the title. Last
year it was Sarah from Dallas, North Carolina, on Heartlight Delila+.
This year Rebecca took the honors with Magatas Mist. She was awarded
a jacket donated by Region 11.
again the ride management, volunteers and veterinarian drew accolades
for putting on a very rider-friendly event. Riders enjoyed the pre-ride
Parade of Champions so much that some even made up rhyming poems
as their horses were being presented. Kudos go to ride manager Priscilla
Lindsay, ride secretary J.R. Kendall, trailmaster, Marsha Hayes,
IAHA Ride Steward and Competitive Trail Ride Committee Chair Micky
Creech and veterinarian judges, Mike Habel, DVM, and Toni Trego,
Champion & High Scoring Horse: $Shazanna S Glory (Thee Covenant
x GG Shazanna--Ellen Schwartz
Reserve Champion: $SS Storm Warning (Gray Smokey+ x Maple Hill Aisha)--
Top Ten: Angelos Applause+/ (Overlook Applause++ by SM Whiskey River)--Kathy
Neunzig: $Ames On Fire (Afire Bey V x Artiston Fera), ridden by
Debra Clark and owned by Denis & Jayne Hein; $AC Eternal Affair
(Eternity x Alanahdaan)--ridden by Christina and owned by Denis
& Jayne Hein; Riyadd DBA (Charadd++// x Bold Destina)--Carla
Jo Bass; Pearls N Gold (Visions of Gold x Ronjos Peralsa)--Dennis
Hein; Magatas Mist (De Gaye Gambler x Itseyis Magata)--Rebecca Neunzig
High-Scoring Junior: Rebecca Neunzig
Champion: WR Cowboy (PF Bold Adventure x Apache Cheeka Sue)--Chris
Reserve: $Dash-of-Premeer (Premeer x Spice-O-Lace)--ridden by Christine
Abbott and owned by Shelly Bradford
Top Ten: BHR Hosans Showdown (Hosan x BHR Ritzy Diamond)--Gail Kimery;
PS Trakara Bask (Macht x Baskalla x Edycja)--ridden by Karen Everhart
and owned by Steven Lindsey
Hub Habibi, Sandy Page; J B Austin, Barbara Harry; Ali Selene, Robert
Bulcock; SL Bud Visenheimer, Sue Keith; Ames Delight, Jayne Hein;
Ames Lucky One, Matt Thiner
International Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes Winners
Advanced Biological Concepts, Christine Paus, Crummy Land &
Cattle Company, Eastern Kansas AHA, Elton Weeks, Equisure, IAHA
Regions 1, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16; IAHC Distance Program, Illinois
AHA, Indiana AHA, Indiana Half-Arabian Horse Club, Jacki & Bob
Marsh, Kansas AHS, Kentucky AHA Inc., McKinstry Arabians, Middle
of the Trail Distance Riders Assn., Ocala Arabian Horse Association,
Southeastern Distance Riding Association, Stablegear Tack, Texas
Arabian Distance Riders
Advanced Biological Concepts, Arabian Saddle Company, Australian
Connection, Bickmore, D-Lua Park, Equestrian Safety Products, IAHA
Region 13, Mobile Milling Services, Professionals Choice, Range
Rider, Stablegear Tack, State Line Tack
IAHA® is a 28,000 member breed association that registers
Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, administers more than $4
million in prize money annually, produces national events, maintains
official event records , recognizes more than 400 Arabian horse
shows and distance rides and provides a ctivities and programs that
promote Arabian horse breeding and ownership. For in formation about
Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses, call 303-696-4500,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit