Karen Ellis riding her Arabian horse WMA Burning Fire was elated as she crossed the finish line in first place to win the 50 mile miler, coming in with a time of 6 hours and 47 minutes.Photo by Geof Dolejsi.

“To finish is to win” mantra of Barriere 50 mile endurance ride

'No Bitch'in Barriere Ride-Just Ride' came off for both horses and riders without a hitch

When the first truck and trailer arrived on Wednesday it became a reality, we were hosting the ‘No Bitch’in Barriere Ride – Just Ride’ endurance ride! After months of planning, strategizing, three trips to our property in the Barriere area to clear parking spots, mark trail, and do set up, we were ready. All 35 parking spots were filled and 46 horses were ready to go. We had capped the number of entries for the ride, to ensure adequate parking and being newbie ride managers, we wanted to make it a memorable manageable experience.

Endurance rides are races over a trail consisting of varied and challenging terrain. Horses are checked by qualified veterinarians and judges before, during, and after the ride. Endurance riders have to learn to condition their horse so that it can maintain a steady, fast pace over long distances. Riders and the ride crews work diligently to have the horses finish sound and healthy. The mantra for long distance riders is “to finish is to win.”

The ride, held on June 29, was Dually Sanctioned with Equine Canada and the American Endurance Riders Conference with affiliation with our B.C. chapter of the Endurance Riders of British Columbia.

Eighteen riders headed out on the 50 miler at 6:30 a.m. to go up the Wikkiup along the Dixon, gaining some 2000 ft. elevation, down to South Barriere Lake Road, and to the Meadow for our Out Check, then returning along the beautiful Johnson Lake.

Volunteers extraordinaire, included Richard and Diane doing bridge duty, and Cliff and Susan on cattle gate duty, and with Jacqui on the gate we concentrated on the safety of all being paramount for the success of our ride. Another person who helped was our neighbour Nikki, who got up at 6 a.m. to drive to the top of the hill to watch the horses trot by at the 11 mile mark for the 50 milers as per a vet request after that hill and 27 miles to the vet check to ensure that anyone having troubles could get help.

Twenty-three 30 milers left ride camp at 8 a.m. traveling along East Barriere Lakes Road to South Barriere Lakes Road (where Jill was doing gate duty by the cattle guard) and the riders joined the 50 milers at the Out Check. They then returned to ride camp along the upper ridge to the breathtaking views of seven mountains above South Barriere Lakes.

At the Out Check, ‘The Meadow’, all riders and volunteers were treated with sandwiches (six kinds), water and snacks. At the same time the horses were treated with a rice mash with oats and floating carrots. Local cows peaked out from behind the trees at the spectacle in front of them as three veterinarians attended to making sure all horses were healthy and fit to continue on their mission as the riders and equine athletes lived up to their motto of “Finish is to Win.” This sport is about riding long distances with horses with the welfare of the horse being paramount.

On returning to ride camp, Best Condition showings were held to a captive audience at 3 p.m. for the 30 milers, and at 4 p.m. for the 50 milers. Rules of Endurance Riding competitions are that only the top 10 competitors are qualified to show, and in the 30 miler there were nine showing and in the 50 miler, five showed. Best Condition for an equine athlete is the coveted prize of this sport.

All attendees, which included all volunteers and all riders with family and crew assistants (approximately 80 people) were treated to a hot spaghetti and meatball dinner with all the fixings which was put together by our awesome much appreciated volunteers; especially, Morgan, Joanne and Rosalee my sister from Langley. After dinner, Geof (who was our office ride photographer) and Morgan our wonderful daughter, set the Karokee in motion, which brought out six and eight year old “stars” who were from Lumby and who got the crowd “really going”. We all danced into the evening hours. It was a blast.

We had riders from distances, such as Heidi Taggert Larson from NE Washington who jumped at the chance to visit old friends from the Barriere area, and our winner of the 50 Miler was from Vancouver Island.

All in all, it was a fabulous success, a great time had by all. My thanks to the many sponsors who gave prizes willingly, and to the fabulous volunteers, including Ivan who helped us find trails and to Marion who helped us find volunteers, as we are only at our property in Barriere for sporadic times through the summer months.

We were allowed to share our beautiful piece of paradise with our friends and like minded horse riders, and all drank in the beauty of it and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Winners of the ‘No Bitch’in Barriere Ride – Just Ride’ were:

50 Miler Winners: First Place – Karen Ellis on WMA Burning Fire (Arabian) 6 hr. 47 min. (her first win) from Courtney, B.C.; Best Condition and High Vet Score – Bonnie Petley on KO Cant Touch with 647.50 pts.

30 Miler Winners: First Place –Lexi Vollman on Caliente BMA , 3 hr. 33 min.; Best Condition and High Vet Score – Kari Bishop on Nickers with 651.50 pts.

Juniors 30 Miler winners: 1st – Jayli Mayer, on Amirah, 3 hr. 39. min.; 2nd – Saylor Mayer on Naskeet SF, 3 hr. 40 min.; 3rd – Helena Schyler, on Mirah, 4 hr. 11 min.

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