Older Horses: Elmer Bandit Might Compete This Month

Elmer Bandit, the 38-year-old record holder for competitive trail mileage, hasn't hit the trails lately, but last weekend found the gray Half-Arabian and owner Mary Anna Wood working with a dressage trainer. The two had lessons on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

"We worked on being round, balanced, and straight," Wood said.

A chiropractor who worked on Elmer yesterday said several vertebrae in his neck were slightly out of alignment. Wood has always been a proponent of preventive health treatments for Elmer and views chiropractic adjustment part of his maintenance routine.

"He's feeling really good," reported Wood.

Elmer is scheduled to compete September 19-21 in the North American Trail Ride Conference event at Stephens Forest near Lucas, Iowa.

Wood plans to enter the Distance Only division, a slower class which allows participants to ride on one day of the two-day event.

Wood also plans to monitor trail conditions and will not ride Elmer if the forest trails are extremely muddy or blocked by downed timber. Elmer had trouble crossing a large log on the trail during a training ride earlier this year.

"We don't need to do that anymore," noted Wood.

Elmer Bandit's lifetime competitive mileage currently stands at 20,740 miles. Although Elmer has only logged 20 miles in 2009, Wood has added another 180 to her résumé on other horses.

With younger mounts available, why go back to Elmer?

"He's still my choice," she said.

Read more: "Older Horses: Elmer Bandit Rides Again"

About the Author

Marsha Hayes

Marsha Hayes has been covering endurance, trail, and other equine topics since 2005. She believes every horse has a story.

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