The world of endurance horse riding has opened Grace Logie’s eyes to something she never imagined.
“My first ride was Iron Horse (in Summerland) in 2012 and since that ride I’ve been hooked,” said Logie. “I love the amazing places and landscapes. I would never have seen if I did not endurance ride, and the ride sites are always stunning. The endurance community is very friendly and welcoming, and everyone is always smiling and laughing.”
The 15-year-old started endurance riding, which is about conditioning and knowing the horse, three years ago when Julius Bloomfield offered to let her exercise his horses and do trail rides. She fell in love. Her favourite ride is Last Chance Mountain in California where she competed in the provincial endurance championship.
“I absolutely loved this ride because the trails were mostly on cross country ski trails,” she said. “My absolute favourite part of endurance riding is that everyone takes such good care of their horses, and the main focus is having a healthy horse.”
After each loop there is a vet check and every horse is checked for lameness and that they are eating and drinking. No horse proceeds unless they are in good condition. Recently Logie and her seven-year-old gelding Ladigo competed in April Daze in Spokane, Wash., her first competitive ride and won the junior division and competing among 50 riders, placed 23rd on the 50-mile ride.
“I felt that Ladigo and I performed very well. It was Ladigo’s first race and he was almost in perfect condition coming in between loops and afterwards,” said Logie. “It was also the first ride of the season and I feel like our early spring start on training has really paid off.”
Logie’s next competition is in Cache Creek in June. To ensure he is ready, Logie will ride Ladigo 50 miles a week to keep him in top shape. For good body weight, Ladigo is fed beet pulp, grain and sunflower seeds each night.
“He absolutely loves it,” said Logie.
In 2013, Logie became a junior national champion, which she said was a lifetime experience.
“The scenery at the ride was beautiful, I was really lucky to get to do that ride on a champion horse named Avtar,” she said. “Avtar is an amazing horse that has travelled the world and I’m proud to say I got to ride him in that race, which was his last before he retired.”
Logie is thankful to Bloomfield for getting her into the sport and lending her a champion horse. That experience also led her to meeting current coach Bianca MacKenzie of Kelowna.
“Bianca opened my eyes to a different way of riding, and is helping me reach my future goals in endurance riding,” she said.
“I think she’s a very dedicated kid for 15,” said MacKenzie, adding that Logie travels to Kelowna and stays there during the weekend. “She does everything for the horse.”
MacKenzie, who has competed in two Pan American Games, said that Logie and Ladigo have formed a close relationship. She’s the only person that has rode him. The key to being a good endurance rider, MacKenzie said, is knowing the horse by spending time with it. The rider can sense things, especially when the horse needs to slow down.
“I think she has come a long way,” said MacKenzie.