Older Horse Elmer Bandit Completes Iowa Competitive Ride

Perfect fall weather found 38-year-old Elmer Bandit completing both days of the Stephens Forest Competitive Trail event near Lucas, Iowa, this past weekend. The event added 40 miles to the gray, half-Arabian's record mileage, which now stands at 20,780 miles.

Although not competing as much this year, owner and rider Mary Anna Wood of Independence, Mo., feels Elmer’s frequent dressage lessons keep him in shape.

Almost all of Elmer’s Competitive Trail career has consisted of the faster, longer, more difficult Open Division. In Iowa, Elmer competed in the Distance Only option and the Competitive Trail class.

“He led most of both days," Wood said. "He started Saturday wanting to be an ‘Open’ horse and we did some shoulder in exercises."

Elmer traveled around 21.7 miles Saturday at 3.75 miles per hour. “Actually, we were going around 4 mph to allow us to stop and play,” said Wood, noting that Elmer has adapted to the slower pace, forgoing his Turbo Trot in favor of a fast, 4 mph walk to fit in with the division requirements.

Although not eligible for placing in the Distance Only designation, Elmer was vetted and required to meet all mileage and time criteria. He scored 91.5 out of a possible 100. Event veterinarian judge Lucy Hirsch, DVM, found him to be perfectly sound at the end of both competition days.

After two back-to back days of competition, Elmer is scheduled for another dressage lesson Sept. 21.

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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