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Endurance riding: ‘It’s all about the horse’

Angel Carpenter

Blue Mountain Eagle

Seneca Stampede draws 56 riders to Bear Valley.

BEAR VALLEY – Holly Rouska of Bend has combined her love of endurance horse riding with her love of the Bear Valley area.

She and her husband Les, ride managers, have teamed up with friends in Seneca to provide a unique fund-raiser, the Seneca Stampede Endurance Ride.

It’s a labor of love to support the Seneca School Foundation.

“I’m incredibly passionate about endurance rides,” Holly said.

There were 56 riders, from Oregon, California, Idaho, Washington and Arizona, who showed up for the two-day event, also passionate about their horses and the trail.

Local riders MT, Cori, Raney and Cinch Anderson, and Mark Cerny and Joe Lee also showed their competitive side in the race.

“They all did wonderful,” Holly said.

She was especially impressed with the amount of support for the Stampede from volunteers, businesses and the Grant County Chamber of Commerce.

“That doesn’t happen in larger communities,” she said. “I’d like to give them a big thank-you.”

Riders had four choices: the 50-mile, 25-mile, the Ride & Tie (like a game of leapfrog) and the Intro Trail.

Holly said the majority of horses competing in endurance rides are Arabian.

“This is a sport they strive at – any horse, if they train for it can do it, but Arabians are athletic with a stronger endurance,” she said. “Our mustangs are not the fastest, they have a larger frame, but tend to take care of themselves well.”

Preparing for the event takes a lot of elbow grease, Holly said.

The trails are all raked, camp is prepared and many ribbons are tied to trees and bushes so riders can concentrate on maneuvering their horses which travel at 7-14 mph as they travel over different types of terrain.

Horses are stopped periodically for mandatory vet checks, including heart-rate checks, where they also refuel with food, water and electrolytes.

“It’s all about the horse,” Holly said.

It’s an amazing sport,” she continued. “You learn so much about yourself. There are folks who are competitive, and others just want to complete it. It’s a sport for you and your horse – no matter what, it’s about finishing with your horse healthy.”

Seneca Stampede results:



First place, Tani Bates, riding CR Margan Roars

Best condition, DeWayne Brown, CR Enchanted Tessie


First place and best condition, Terry Doyle, Shamrock

Ride & Tie, 14-mile

First place, Cori Anderson and son Cinch

Ride & Tie, 25-mile

Tany Menks and Jennifer Titus



First place, Joyce Sousa, LV Integrity

Best condition, Carol Giles, SAR Tiki Finale


First place, Elayne Barclay, Merlots Kwest

Best condition, Holly Rouska, MSP Josadda

Ride & Tie, 25-mile

Tany Menks and Jennifer Titus

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