Completing one of the American Endurance Ride Conference’s rides can be quite an accomplishment for any horse, but for Wee B Jelly Bean, it was a truly heartwarming athletic achievement. You see, Jelly is a miniature horse (AMHR #271916A), and her completion at the Hat Creek Hustle 25-mile ride in Northern California was the first of a kind.
After scouring AERC’s rule book and consulting with the AERC national office, Jelly’s owner, Elicia Kamberg of Smartsville, California, discovered there is nothing in the organization’s rules that requires the horse to be ridden during the competition, so . . . well, let’s just let Jelly tell it:
Hi. My name is Wee B Jelly Bean (AERC# H53525) and I’m the first miniature horse to complete an AERC ride. My “Auntie” Cyd Ross, “Mom” Elicia Kamberg, horse friend Kenlyn Amir and I did the 25 at the Hat Creek Hustle (West Region) late this summer.
Auntie Cyd ran with me the whole way while Mom and Amir followed. I was a little mentally tired after the ride but physically I felt great. Our ride time was 5:21 for the 25-mile ride, and I got good scores from the vets and pulsed in easily at the finish.
The best part of the ride was the vet check—you get to eat all the food you want! Normally Mom keeps me on a strict diet.
My story starts when Mom needed a traveling companion for her horse on long trips. I was rescued from an auction in Oregon when a breeding farm was seized for lack of care. I didn’t really like humans back then and couldn’t be caught unless you bribed me.
Mom felt bad going off riding and leaving me at home. Plus I tend to gain weight when I look at food so lots of exercise is essential. So I started going out with the horses, getting ponied on short rides.
After I got comfortable, happy and catch-able in my new home Mom would let me run loose on our rides. Like any good endurance horse we gradually increased the mileage or speed until I could keep up with the fit horses. I got so fit I would lead the ride and not let the big horses pass me.
After two years of conditioning and accompanying the horses to endurance rides, Mom decided it was time for me to try one. She enlisted Auntie Cyd, an ultra-marathon runner, to come run with me. After some practicing and getting permission from ride management and the vets we set off for Hat Creek and finished the ride.
If you want to see more about my adventures search on Facebook for #endurancemini. I want to encourage everyone to remember to dream big. If a mini can do endurance so can you!
More information on endurance riding is available by visiting www.aerc.org