Elmer Bandit Did It! 37-Year-Old Horse Sets New Mileage Record

Half-Arabian Elmer Bandit trotted under the finish line to set a new competitive trail mileage record of 20,720 miles, 201 days after his 37th birthday. The North American Trail Conference event took place Oct. 25-26 at Kanopolis State Park near Lindsborg, Kan.

Elmer on ride

Elmer Bandit set a new record for lifetime competitive trail miles.

A heavy frost greeted the 43 riders starting the event early Saturday morning. Only 40 would complete the tough prairie course. Jerry Weil, DVM, and pulse and respiration crew leader noted, "I think we lost more points at this ride than any of the season."

Wood and Elmer started strong on the nearly 29-mile course Saturday, breezing the first two miles in 15 minutes. It took three more brisk miles before Elmer was comfortable on a loose rein. "It's normal for Elmer to be very forward the first few miles," explained Elmer's owner/rider Mary Anna Wood.

Run at an average pace of 5.25 miles per hour, the day stretched to more than seven hours. Wood's care of her mount was impeccable as she scouted for water along the trail for sponging to cool the gray gelding, who is already sporting his winter coat.

At every pulse and respiration check Wood unsaddled and sponged Elmer with water she carried in plastic bottles. A trained horse packer, she carefully drew water from two bottles equally in order to maintain a "balanced" load for Elmer when they resumed travel.

Sunday brought a slightly shorter course, but temperatures were warmer and a strong 30-40 mph wind sapped moisture and strength from horses.

Elmer was held at the final pulse and respiration check, but finished within the optimum time with one minute to spare.

Editor's Note: Author Marsha Hayes rode along with Mary Anna and Elmer. Read her report at "Riding with Elmer Bandit."


 Elmer Bandit, in his new turnout sheet, courtesy of TheHorse.com

Elmer Bandit sported a new turnout sheet at his record-breaking ride, provided on behalf of his many fans who have been following his progress on TheHorse.com.

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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