Tag Archives: trail

You Can’t Ride With Me

“I can’t have them cleaning two riders off the ground” was all I could think as the freshly broken mare I was riding leaped and bucked and ran through the trees as branches pulled me every direction. I don’t know how I managed to stay on, perhaps it was the will from my previous thought, perhaps it was skill, or perhaps it was just because the trees were so dense there was nowhere to go. I do know how I stopped… the mare and I got wedged between chest high trees, fallen into a V shape. We were locked in like we were in the stocks.

Without any way to dismount or escape or even see the other riders, I sat and listened.  Silence made my stomach sick.  Not true silence, no, if anything the opposite.  I could hear her mother and sister screaming her name and crying, but she was silent.

I waited

and I waited

She is surely dead, I have killed this young girl.  

Perhaps only 30 seconds had passed since the initial wreck, but it felt like an hour before Makayla screamed “My leg, its broken” and wailed in agony.

She’s not dead, I haven’t killed her. It’s surely a miracle.

With the extra commotion, the mare surged through the downed trees and back onto the trail, I dismounted and approached.  Not close, just enough to alert myself to everyone and see.

Makayla was lying on the ground screaming and crying in an awkward lump, but she was alive, and was not a vegetable.

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Several hours earlier I had mounted the young mare who had been backed a handful of times in the pasture, with the intent of doing an easy 25 mile Limited Distance ride.  Ariel, Makayla’s sister also hopped on an equally green horse and we were accompanied by two experienced babysitter horses ridden by their Mother, Tara and Makayla.

This is where it’s important to note, Makayla declined to wear a helmet.

A few rodeos (from my mare) well stuck and 23 miles down the trail, things were going well.  We were close to the finish and the baby horses were now being called “broke”.

That’s when Makayla’s horse (one she had been riding for 13 years) spooked sideways and I watched her fall. The first thought in my mind “She’s not wearing a helmet”

She fell in my direction, and her horse spun around and ran into mine. She was already nearly beneath our hooves, and my mare panicked, with horses and forest blocking every direction, she bounced up and down on top of Makayla until I kicked her hard enough to bolt into the dense forest.

I watched the mare’s hoof hit Makayla’s bare head.  I will never forget it.  It haunts me.

There is a bright side to this story.

  1. Makayla wasn’t dead or a vegetable, she didn’t even have a concussion, the hoof must have just grazed her head.  As far as we know, she didn’t even have any broken bones (that we know of) and was able to ride the last 2 miles to the finish line… eventually.  She IS very sore and bruised.Image may contain: one or more people
  2. We were being crewed by a paramedic in their paramedic vehicle.  He literally drove down the trail (cleared some double track for us!) to our rescue and was able to properly check her.  He also took care of her for the rest of the day
  3. Makayla recognizes how incredibly lucky she is and has vowed to always wear a helmet.  She realizes that no matter how calm and steady your horse, accidents can happen to anyone.

So here is my vow, if you don’t wear a helmet, YOU CAN’T RIDE WITH ME.  No exceptions.  



Addition after original post: I have been asked why we would even consider taking a green horse out in competition.  Good question!  We were literally the only 4 riders entered that day and with crew and vets we were well set up to give the horses a positive training experience, so we took advantage.  We treated it like a training/pleasure ride, going slow, giving lots of breaks and of course, patience!

Shore to Shore Pioneer Ride

With February fast approaching, many riders (including the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team) is busy planning the upcoming 2017 competition season.

We are proud to announce that the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team will be participating in the Shore to Shore endurance race in Michigan this summer.

The Shore to Shore ride takes place on the Michigan Shore to Shore Trail. This trail is 350 km long and rungs between Empire on Lake Michigan to Oscoda and Lake Huron.  This trail is only open to hikers and horseback riders and there are a number of equine campgrounds along the trail.

shore to shore trail

The Shore to Shore race does not take place in an exotic location but is exciting in its own way. Due to costs and other factors with transporting horses overseas, many of the ultra endurance races like the Mongol Derby or Race the Wild Coast provide horses for you (note horses). This time we will be using only one horse, our own, to complete the course.

Our crew will be essential to our success. Camp will move daily as this is a point to point race so we will need someone to drive the trucks and trailers to the new locations and set up camp. The vet checks are also at different points along the trail so our crew will have to meet us at each one to assist in cooling down the horses and preparing them for the veterinary checks. If anyone is interested in crewing for us, we aren’t going to say no! If you are looking at getting into the sport of endurance/distance riding, this will be a great hands on opportunity.


Here are a few videos showing what parts of the trail look like:


https://youtu.be/2dry_2nUiaE https://youtu.be/2dry_2nUiaE




This blog written by someone who has hiked the trail has absolutely gorgeous photos of the scenery along the trail. http://ericshikes.blogspot.ca/2016/11/michigan-shore-to-shore-trail-mckinley.html   We cannot wait to ride in this race!


Like anything of this nature, this will not be a cheap endeavour.  Please visit our online store to purchase Eat Sleep Ride Repeat gear to help us fund our team to get to this ride.  If you are interested in sponsoring the team, please contact Sarah or Ashley at cuthbertson.sarah@gmail.com or ashley.tomaszewski@live.com for more details.


They say change is inevitable. It’s a very good thing that I adapt easily because the past few months have been a blurry of change. I left my job in Toronto to take one closer to home in Kitchener, I moved in with my (amazing!) boyfriend and I moved Splash to a new barn. Out of everything, I think that leaving my barn was the hardest. For the past 5 years, I’ve always been just down the road and able to ride almost every day. The care was impeccable and the people were fantastic. It’s only downside: very limited trail riding (and it is very, very flat) which makes training for endurance difficult. Although I have a truck and trailer and am able to pack up my horse and travel to a variety of trails, this hasn’t been very practical in terms of both time and money. I have been making due but when the opportunity to board in Mansfield, just a short ride away from the Dufferin and Simcoe County Forests (where many of the OCTRA rides are held), came up and I jumped on it. I now have ESRR team member Sarah to train with and the mentorship of Carol Lewin, a very accomplished and experienced endurance rider. We have also gotten back into taking lessons, this time with eventer Karen Briggs. Wits End is just a short ride away from the new barn as well so hopefully once the weather decides to co-operate, we will be able to go schooling over there as well.


The trails up here are to die for! The scenery is stunning and hills will no longer be our nemesis as they are everywhere, even in Splash’s paddock. We can go for hours and not cross the same trail twice. I am now logging roughly 10-12 miles on average per ride instead of my usual 6. Time just flies when the visuals keep changing vs. riding laps around fields.


Although she seems to have settled back into being on 24/7 turnout, Splash seems to have taken up a weird obsession with her pasture buddy, Bucky, an “aged” miniature donkey. She has always seemed to have a fondness for small creatures (ponies, minis, small children) so perhaps this is her way of telling me she would love to have a foal (although I’m not planning on breeding her anytime soon!)


Sidenote: Sarah and I went for our first ride of the year in the Dufferin this past weekend. We were shocked at the ice still on some of the lower trails but we were even more shocked to see the mess left behind by the loggers. Stay tuned to the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat Facebook page for details on a date for trail clean up.  Anyone who rides in the Dufferin should make an effort to come out for at least a little bit to help maintain the trail. This is one of the few trail systems that does not charge a fee to ride in the forest and it is because of awesome volunteers that this is possible!  We wouldn’t be able to have the gorgeous trails available to us without them!