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2017 AERC Nat'l Chammpionships
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2017 AERC Nat'l Chammpionships
Images by Merri Melde
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Ride photos by Merri Melde


Spanish Peaks Pioneer - June 26-30


Fun Photo Galleries


Before the ride

Rainy Day 1


Cloudy Day 2

The Wall Day 3

Day 4

Day 5


2021 Spanish Peaks 5-Day Pioneer Pictographic


by Merri Melde-Endurance.net
July 1 2021

The twin Spanish Peaks are the story here. Tennessee’s annual Spanish Peaks ride (multiday, and in 2017 site of the AERC National Championship) take place below the twin peaks). Called “Huajatolla” by the Comanches, they were named a National Natural Landmark in 1976 with their igneous dikes - or walls - radiating down the mountains, one of which the riders get to ride through.


Not many Ridecamps are situated at 8000’!


The Colorado weather keeps you guessing: clouds, sun, rain, hail, thunderstorms, fog, sun, warm, hot, cool, cold, sometimes all in one day!


Riders came from far and wide - as far as South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia - but it was local Colorado Young Rider Cassadee Jaksch who won the first 3 days of 50s (tying for first on day 1 with Vicki Holzer and Erin Lemmons, tying with Christoph Schork on day 2).


Winners and prizes and swag, oh my!


Riding through The Wall (which is a super treat, as these walls are all on private property, and Tennessee has special permission to do this!)


80-year-old Earl Baxter rode 205 miles (4 days of 50s, on 2 different horses, this mare of which many of us covet), finishing in the top ten every day!



Debi and Debbie finished all 5 days of LDs!


Two guy Gail/Gayles rode together on day 5 - what are the odds of that!

Today's a day off, then it's the 2-day Wahatoya Cup!


Ride camp opens June 22nd 2021.

Base Camp

Primitive camping- horse water will be provided at the tanks in camp. There are permanent “cowboy bathrooms” and a trash dumpster available to you. A septic wagon will be available for those who need it, you may service your own trailer and dump it in the “cowboy bathroom” septic pit.

Please spread your manure and fill in any holes your horse digs. We are happy to announce that we are building a community turnout, please be respectful of each other’s time and share it in 15 minute intervals if there is a line. No overnighting of horses in the community turnout pen.

We have very nice single-horse, pipe corrals at camp, as well as panel round pens for multiple horses to share. Yes, you can park right next to your corral. These may be reserved, send Tenney a message to reserve them or to get on the waiting list. To see the list, click here.

Dogs allowed in camp. Any aggressive dogs should be left at home or kept on a very short leash. NO LONG leashes on dogs, it’s too dangerous for the horses. Any dogs that bark incessantly, instigate fights, or get in to our food buffet, will be given a large bowl of spicy chili and a king-size snickers, and then locked in your LQ for a splatterfest.

The Trail

This is a true representation of the Southern Colorado Rockies and I don’t intend to butter that up for you. If you are worried about it being too challenging or technical, then ride the LD, I will make sure the LD is geared back so that inexperienced riders and horses can enjoy a less challenging but equally beautiful ride. The awesome geology around here makes for diverse terrain, with lots of climbs and descents as well as a few flat easy miles to cruise on. There will be some brief technical stretches to keep you entertained, so dismount when prompted if you are nervous. As for the longer distances (50+ miles) yes, this will be a challenging ride interspersed with technical stretches that will slow you down, so be smart with your pacing, make up time on the easy stuff and take your time in the tough stuff. I have designed the loops to mix it up, nice easy fast stretches interspersed with slow challenging climbs, descents, and fun technical stuff to keep you awake and give you something to write home about. The scenery is truly unbeatable, the ride camp setting is gorgeous, and as I said, the trails are diverse, with footing varying from flat, canterable-sandy-loam, to steep, walk-it-rocky. The land we are riding across is cattle country – there will be gates. I’m doing my best to minimize the number of gates, and improve the functionality of the ones we must keep closed. There is ample water on the trail, mostly cow tanks but also natural streams and ponds. Altitude: Camp is at >8000′ and the ride will range from 7000′ to a little over 9000′. Please feel free to give us constructive comments, advice, and recommendations, we’re doing our best for you!