He is neither furred, finned, nor feathered, but he belongs here despite all that! He is a 1996 Polish Arabian gelding. He hung out, untrained, for a decade before anyone broke him. The woman who picked him up in Wisconsin and took him home to PA used him as one of her many endurance horses. She won a few 50 mile races with him, at breakneck speeds of 4 hours and change. He even earned Best Condition once or twice, meaning that out of all the top ten finishers the vets considered him the least changed over the course of those 50 miles. She didn't like him because he wasn't "hot" enough; he didn't care about winning. I bought him in 2010 because I wanted a horse anyone in my family could ride, and figured he was at least used to seeing new territory, taking lots of rides in trailers, and dealing with all sorts of new experiences -- mountain bikes, strollers, and fireworks, to name a few-- that will season a horse. But I never intended to ride him, much less compete him. He was the horse everyone else would enjoy. But I ended up riding him one day and fell in love with him, and shortly thereafter did some races with him. I decided two years ago that I should let him retire and replace him, so I picked up a great big half-Arab that I never learned to love. I sold that horse after it was clear that he wasn't gonna work out and went back to Briggy. I have resolved to never again bother with a horse that was not a full-blooded Arab. A Nevada rider who is actually a serious competitor, unlike me, has his half brother, and regularly competes that horse in 100 mile races. Her horse is 24 and has almost 10,000 endurance race miles logged. Brig is 22. So I figure that between his good genes and the fact that he really only started racking up the miles later in his life, I have at least two years left to compete him, barring any unforeseen injuries. I am planning on two races this year, both in VT. The one I'm really looking forward to, Moonlight in VT, starts at 2 PM for the 50 milers, so you are out well past dark, following glo-sticks hanging in trees in the woods. It is run alongside ultrarunners, and it's lots of fun to hang with these inspiring folk for hours. I plan on dragging @beno around this summer and making him "crew" for us on trail. In any case, I plan on writing about it here if anyone cares to read it. I've never written about the conditioning that leads up to a race so it'll be fun (for me anyway!), to look back on it. It's a lot of work and takes some serious dedication, but it also gets me on the trail, at sunset, while redwing blackbirds call to each other from long reeds in fields we fly through. These pics are from the VT race we did last year.