WALLA WALLA - Local riders Dean Hoalst and Ernie Schrader competed in endurance races at Bandit Springs in the Ochoco National Forest in central Oregon June 9 and 10.
Hoalst rode in the 80-mile race, with horse Pay Attention. He was riding near the front when his horse stepped on a rock, bruising its foot and ending his competition for the day.
The next day, Hoalst rode Rocket in the 50-mile race, establishing a substantial early lead, but went off-trail and got lost for about 10 miles, allowing other horses to pass. Hoalst returned to the trail and completed the required miles, eventually finishing in fourth place, making up a 30-minute time gap in the last 10 miles and his horse getting all ‘A's' in the final vet check.
Schrader rode with injuries in the 30-mile race, with Captain Calypso. Despite losing his way five times, he crossed the ride in first, but pulsed down to the required completion criteria for 30 mile races of 60 beats per minute about 15 seconds after another horse, to receive an official second place finish.
The next day, Schrader's injuries forced him to have a colleague ride Captain Calypso on the 25-mile race. The other top horses were not fit to compete again, so there were many fresh horses in the field.
But Captain Calypso established a 45-minute lead in the first 15 miles, then finished about an hour and a half in front of the field at the end of the race. Captain Calypso also won the Best Condition award.
Most endurance rides include natural terrain threats and falls, but this ride was through an area with wild mustangs and included another concern: a wild black mustang.
The aggressive stallion attacked two separate groups of riders, running beside them, biting, kicking and rearing. The riders had to use their crops and branches to defend themselves and their horses from the stallion.
Eventually, a rider who was familiar with the area helped the groups escape. He galloped ahead to a gate, then had the groups follow him and closed the gate before the mustang could get through. It later jumped several cattle guards and came close to the riding camp, but did not enter.