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Mary N Anna Memorial Ride - Home of the 2024 AERC National Championships!

The Mary and Anna Memorial Ride honors two of the most influential women the Northwest Region ever knew. Anna Sampson and Mary Nunn were committed to the sport of endurance riding and supported their juniors faithfully. Come ride some of the best trails in the NW and get a taste of what the 2024 AERC National Championships will offer in August!

2024 Mary and Anna Memorial 100 - Emilee Randal

June 5 2024
By Emilee Randal

Finally have time to sit down and write a ride recap for The Mary and Anna Memorial ride. My first 100. First and foremost, none of this would have been possible without my mom, Darlene, Max, Fire’s previous owner, Cat, who did so much to make sure she held up well, Kristine, Celena, Joslynn, Siri, Sarah, and so many other people.

Back in March, Darlene put the wild idea into my head that I could probably do the 100 at Mary and Anna. I thought she was absolutely insane, because WHAT?! My initial goal was Tevis, but this year I’m going to go crew. Darlene thought it would be a great first 100 and she was right. Surprising, I know! We decided it would be smart to have me ride with Max at Eagle Canyon to see if our mares were well matched for 100 miles. You put a half thoroughbred mare and an off the track arabian, both competitve, together for 100 miles, and they won’t tell you if they’re tired. Despite angry mare stares all day and mild concern that they would push eachother too hard at MAMR, we decided to give it a go. I fed Fire everything she would eat, her ugly duckling clip grew out, and before I knew it, it was time to go. Fire was well prepared with regular BEMER sessions, chiropractic work, and some massage work.

The trek to La Pine wasn’t bad, but Bend traffic is no joke. My mom and I left bright and early around 5 or 5:30 and got to camp around 1:30. We got all set up and later on, Joslynn and I went for a little pre-ride. She took Miles (a decade team horse who is still breezing through LDs) and I rode Fire. The conversation was wonderful and we had a grand time cantering up a hill.

I took Fire out the next day for a second little pre-ride. We went bareback in my sidepull and she was so good. I was really happy with how she was doing and I felt like we were as set up for success as possible.

I tried to sleep that night, but it didn’t go too well since I kept dreaming that we got pulled because she was dead lame, colicing, etc.

I woke up at 3:30 and forgot a few things, but I wasn’t nearly as forgetful as I had been at Eagle Canyon.

I was in the saddle by 4:45 and she had fire coming out of her butt. I’m sure half of it was me, but she kept giving me the tiniest little bucks like there was a literal stick up her a$$. Once we got going, she settled in nicely. Max, Darlene and I had discussed strategy and we were going to go all day with one horse leading for 5 miles, then switching out for 5 miles, then switching back. We started with Fire in the back. I think it saved me some blisters on my hands.

Jala was taking photos just a few miles from the start, which I didn’t know, and I ended up throwing my jacket a few hundred feet from her. She was going to grab it, but someone else did. No luck finding it yet.

The mares were moving along very nicely and Fire was more manageable than she ever has been. I was pleased. Before I knew it, we were at the 20 mile vet check. Fire was eating, drinking, and she even peed! Vetted through fine and my blood pressure dropped significantly.

We went out again, and in that first 20 miles we had picked off all of the people that we would for the whole day. We were happy with how our mares were doing and we kept a super consistent pace of 8mph. Fire was going on a loose rein at this point and I figured the rest of the day would be a breeze.

Going into camp she started jigging. Poor thing can’t keep up with a big half thoroughbred mare going downhill. God forbid! We both just kept getting more and more upset, so I came into the vet check with electricity coming out of my butt, or something like that. Darlene took Fire and I went to go take a breath and eat something. I ended up taking a brief power nap, then it was back in the saddle! We did another two loops before Siri noticed that I was pretty off center and Fire’s back was getting a bit sore because of it.

The small change that I had to make to balance myself caused a good bit of agony. I had to shorten my right stirrup to make it slightly better but my ankle was SCREAMING at me. On the very last 9 mile loop it hurt so bad I could hardly think. I was very glad I wasn’t 75 miles into Tevis with another 25 to go.

I survived and we crossed the finish line in 5th place. Fire took a few minutes to pulse down, but she did and trotted sound. I was expecting to cry from the emotional overload, but I did not.

I took her back to the trailer, took care of her and gave her all sorts of food options, then went back to vetting to watch other people come in. I still don’t know why I didn’t just go to bed.

Jala came up to me and gave me a hug, and for whatever reason, I started crying. Total waterworks. I was laughing at myself while crying because I had no idea why I was crying, but soon, the tears subsided and I was happy to sit by a little propane fire and watch people come in.

I went to bed with some very sore legs and woke up the next morning for BC showing. The SECOND I saw her, my eyes went to her hind right leg, which had blood running down it. Good grief.

She cast herself in her panels overnight. I took her to the vet and was freaking out just a little. He assured me she was just fine. Her other legs were cold and tight - thank you compression socks!

Fire’s CRI was 56/64, so she was tired, but otherwise okay. I was overjoyed. I knew we didn’t have a shot at BC, considering the horses in front of us have a much more rigorous training program, along with some damn good owners, but I was just happy her CRI wasn’t horrific.

Overall, nothing really went wrong. It was a good day spent with good people. I had some very wise people give me advice for next time and I’m thankful for people who are willing to share their knowledge.

We brought home AHA Region 4 Endurance Purebred Arabian Reserve Champion and Purebred Arabian BC - for clarification, not overall BC.

I cannot express how thankful I am to everyone who helped me out throughout the day - Heather was great company to calm me down, Siri and Sarah, who both rode 50s and then jumped in to lend a hand, Darlene, my mom, and Joslynn. I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting, but seriously, thank you ALL.

Another big thank you to Jennifer Kaplan, who did so much to help get me to this point in my endurance career, to Ashley Fiedler for years of support and riding lessons, to Sue Barrington for introducing me to BEMER - thank you for helping with keeping my girl healthy, Marlene Moss for all of the saddle fit assistance (finished with no back soreness!), to The Distance Depot for keeping us looking snazzy all day and being my favorite tack place, and Fleet Foot Forge for all of the brainstorming you did with me to give Fire the best advantage with her shoeing.

2024 Mary and Anna Memorial Ride: Year #8 on the Way to Decade Team - Merri Melde

May 29 2024

After Hillbillie Willie’s last ride at Eagle Canyon, where he was on crack for the start of the ride, then got pulled at the first vet check for hind end lameness, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect of him at the Mary & Anna Memorial ride in Oregon.

I wasn’t worried about his soundness or fitness; the Eagle lameness was very slight, I gave him a week off after Eagle, and when I next rode him, he was sound.

My main concern was his mental state! At the Mary and Anna ride, he’d be again leaving behind his BFF DWA Barack and his frenemy DWA Papillon in camp while he went out and started the 50-mile ride on Saturday. And when he gets 10 feet away from Barack, he whinnies. So, apologies to everybody in camp :) , we practiced many, many times on Thursday and Friday, leaving our camping spot by ourselves, walking away from Willie’s BFF/notBFF and walking through camp, visiting, grazing, practicing separation. He got a little better each time, but always, even while eating grass, he’s thinking about his buddies and whinnying for them.

Connie and I both wanted to come to the Mary and Anna ride, one we’d never been to, and the site of this year's AERC National Championships in August. My main goal with Willie is reaching Decade Team with him - at least one 50-mile ride a year for ten years. We’d done seven years together...

Read the rest here

2024 Mary and Anna Memorial Ride - Samantha Ellis

May 27 2024
By Samantha Ellis, Crater Hill Equestrian

The Mary and Anna Memorial Ride was one for the history books for us, my only regret, is not having to gone to this ride in years past!

We were anxious to try a new 100 and get a look at the course for the AERC National Championships. I had some concerns as we don’t do much speed training on our horses, and this is a flat course. We focus more on long slow distance and steady hill work. We wanted to use this ride to make some horse choices on who we want to aim for championships.

As per the usual, endurance is all about being flexible. I planned all year to take Leno to this ride as a prep for Tevis. Of course a week prior, he decided a pasture injury would sideline him (he will be fine- but had to sit this one out). I struggled with riding or not riding, but at the end of the day we needed another sponsor so I would need to ride. The only other horse that we could fit a 100 safely into their schedule was Sybil, whom I had turned the reins over to Mollie Quiroz for the season.

After much discussion, we would proceed as planned with our groups and I’d just make the horse switch and ride a similar ride as planned prior. After looking at prior times, we came up with the plan that my group would finish between 830 and 9, and Mollies group between 1030 and 1130.

The ride start was perfect, they said the trail was open and Sybil just kept her head down grazing :) . I let everyone blast out of there and waited for a calm time to walk out. Tierney Beloberk and Christine Crum’s horses were equally reasonable. We had a great start and got passed by a bunch of people in the beginning and then when just started cruising. I feel like the beginnings of rides really set the tone for how the rest of the day is going to go. Mollie was riding with Katie Stilwell Katie Stilwell Beloberk, Vanessa Erickson, and Jax. All 4 first time 100 mile horses, so they started a bit later than us.

We cruised into the first vet check with no issues. The volunteers were amazing and our crew bags were there waiting. The horses pulsed right down and better, it was a bit cold at this check and I wasn’t sure what exactly we were in for for the rest of the day. After we left there, things just fell into place.

We kept a steady pace all day. Cantered a few flats to use different muscles, but mostly just held a steady trot. The footing is absolutely spectacular and was truly a treat! Watching the clock and gps this is a similar time and pace that we would be doing at Tevis into Robinson Flat so I thought this was great training!

Unfortunately Christine was pulled at 60 miles, and Katie was pulled at 40 but both appear to be minor and to be honest it was great to have some crew! By this point Andrew Gerhard had also finished his 50.

As we came in at 75 miles we had our amazing team of Christine, Katie, Andrew and Frank Crum waiting for us! Sybil and Tres were feeling amazing and pulsed right down! When I vetted Sybil the vet said wow, she doesn’t look like she’s done 60 miles! I said actually 75 :) .

We kept passing people in the vet checks because our horses were recovering very well. I stuck to the game plan and while I really didn’t care about placing, I just wanted to hit my time target for Tevis training, it was a wonderful surprise to end up 3rd and 4th!!! We finished at 836, so right on target! I would have ridden the same ride whether we were 1st or 30th. That was the appropriate speed and that’s what we were going to do, and whatever happens was meant to be!

Mollie finished right after 11, everyone looked great! It was a huge accomplishment to get all these first time 100 milers through! We had the brilliant idea to ride the 50 the next day since we had already paid for fuel and taken the time off work. Why not get our moneys worth :) :) :) .

So Sunday morning Vanessa, Christine, Mollie, Andrew, and Frank set out for the 50. This meant I had to ask Tierney to show Sybil for BC. If you don’t know Sybil, she can sometimes be a little goofy and definitely got a reputation here when she first arrived. I expected some serious push back from Tierney, but to my surprise she was up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to show at 7am!

We set out for the 50 at the same time and tried not to have an anxiety attack worrying about how it was going. I got a text from Katie saying Sybil looked great but then crickets. Mollie, Vanessa and I laughted until we cried.

We came in at 22 miles and vetted horses. My heart sank because I knew they had done awards by now and I didn’t hear anything, so while I thought Sybil looked great apparently it wasn’t good enough. Or maybe she was a dragon and T didn’t want to show her.

Topsy vetted through right away with her freak show recoveries and I walked around to get her some food. The Beloberk’s walked up to me to say goodbye, and Tierney said something like, “so your horse…”, my heart sank again, she must have been crazy. And she couldn’t keep a straight face, we were awarded High Vet Score AND Best Condition! We were quite a ways off the pace so I didn’t have high hopes, but I am blown away! Sybil’s journey is only just beginning and it was a perfect reminder that strategy and sticking to the plan always pays off! I would always rather a BC than a win!

We set off again and finished our 50. Christine tied for first place with Jay, and I’m so happy that Pikhante is still out there living his best life all these years later. Again we ended up Top 10 simply by chance and riding a smart ride, we all showed for BC. Pikhante ended up getting BC and Topsy got High Vet Score! Her CRI at the finish was 44/44.

Sometimes I feel endurance has a deeper meaning. When Tierney first started taking lessons, I said, she’s going to be my endurance rider! And here we are! I haven’t had the chance to ride with T on a 100 since Tevis 2022. After her head injury, this was really special and I just loved getting to spend the time with this amazing young lady and am so proud of who she has become. I watched her make all the right choices, put her horse first, we laughed, we cried, we navigated, we had highs and we had lows, but it was such an honor to spend the day with her. And that she got out there and showed Sybil, and I had many people come tell me what an amazing job she did!

This ride was so amazing. The crowd up north was more than welcoming, the camp was amazing, the trail is ideal for the NC ride!!!! I know many complain about the early starts on rides, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Tevis starts at 5 too, and being done in brought daylight was a real treat. There were still plenty of people out there until 4am as well. The early start and finish time allowed us to get up and ride again Sunday!!!

Darlene Merlich and Max are really amazing people, who welcomed us with open arms even though we generally don’t venture up that way. Im so incredibly sad that this is their last year managing as this ride is 100% top notch!!!! The marking was perfect, the GPS was spot on, there was no possible way to get lost.

I’m feeling extra grateful for this amazing life tonight, the people, the family it’s created, the amazing horses, the amazing people experiences. Literally we are living the dream! I have to once again thank Shawn Bowling and Lisa Bowling for having this dream and helping build the program and watching it soar - then turn the reins over to Mollie Quiroz and I, and I really hope we continue to do you guys proud!

Thank you Jennifer Elizabeth Mayfield for being such an amazing vet, we could not do this without your expertise, and always just being a text message away!John Brain and Scotty Mayfield kept the horses shod perfectly with no lost or loose shoes! Cara Choy thank you for working in everyone before we left, I know Sybil’s success had a lot to do with your hard work! Specialized Saddles kept us all comfortable all weekend with straight As on backs withers! I love love love my Aussie light and for both of my mares to get High Vet Score in it is amazing! Thank you Diane Seaby Stevens for fitting everyone! Thank you to Highh Lonesome Arabians, Debra Lemmons, Erin Lemmons, Jessica Lemmons for breeding these amazing athletes and trusting us with them! And also only ever being a text or call away for anything that has to do with breeding, training, or just to talk! Highh Visibility, Highh Tops, Highh Marks and Highh Treason. Mandolyn Hill Farm was also well represented by our team this weekend, thank you Michelle Morgan and Chris Lewis for putting faith in our program! Kiss Curl MHF, Mercy Me MHF, El Kusu MHF, and Raven MHF. Courtney Brain, Mari Larson Flasck, Barbara Hartley, Jennifer Elizabeth Mayfield, thank you for trusting our team to pilot your horses this weekend and trusting us with their education in the sport!

I have more to say about this weekend, but I’m still recovering, and there will definitely be more posts to come!


Ridecamp is located at the Outback Station in Central Oregon, 25 miles east of La Pine, Oregon. A flat camp area with nearly unlimited dry camping, as well as a few corrals (see below for corral information).


76231 OR-31, La Pine, OR 97739


From Bend, OR, on Hwy 97, drive 27 miles south to La Pine. Then, 1 mile south of La Pine, just past mile post 169, turn east onto Hwy 31. Go to mile post 25 and look for the flagged and signed left turn towards the Outback Station.

From Klamath Falls, OR, north on Hwy 97, turn right just past mile post 170 (1 mile south of La Pine), east onto Hwy 31. Go east, to mile post 25, and look for the flagged and signed left turn towards the Outback Station.

From Burns, OR, on Hwy 20, at Riley, OR, turn left onto Hwy 395. Go 37.1 mi. Turn right onto Christmas Valley Wagontire Rd, go 23.8 mi, continue onto Christmas Valley Rd/County Hwy 5-1, 28.4 mi. Turn right onto County Hwy 5-10/Fort Rock Rd, 3.9 mi, keep right to continue on County Rd 5-10/Fort Rock Rd. Continue to follow County Rd 5-10, 18.5 mi, turn right onto OR-31 N, 4.0 mi. Look for flagged and signed right turn to the Outback Station.