Half-Arabian Wins AHA High-Point Distance Award
Bandit (DJS Jameel Junaid), a 32-year-old Half-Arabian, was one
of 16 Arabians, Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians that won a 2002
Distance High-Point Award and blue satin cooler from the Arabian
Horse AssociationSM (AHASM). Elmer, who is owned by Mary Anna Wood
of Independence, Missouri, was the highest scoring Half-Arabian
ridden by an AHA member in the North American Trail Ride Conference
(NATRC), one of the organizations that governs competitive trail
Elmer Bandit's illustrious career, he has earned 21 NATRC championships
and a Diamond Medallion for competing in more than 15,000 competitive
miles. In 2001 he was the nation's second-placing horse in the NATRC
open lightweight division, and first place regionally. In 2002,
Elmer was in fifth place regionally.
career as a competitive trail horse has been as distinguished as
it has been long. As a "youngster" of 15, he became the
first of seven horses ever inducted into the NATRC Hall of Fame.
In 1980, he won the Bev Tibbitts Grand Champion Award for having
the highest average score in the nation.
1998, Elmer won three rides, including two NATRC Sweepstakes awards
as the highest-scoring horse in the open division. That October,
in a 60-mile NATRC Ride, Elmer almost tied with a horse 23 years
his junior, missing his fourth perfect score by a single point.
more than 27 years of competitive trail riding, Elmer has developed
a unique collection of skills. He pickets anywhere-on the foot or
on a line-and rolls and urinates on command. An equine botanist,
Elmer has perfected selective grazing at the trot, Wood reports.
He divides plants into three categories-edible (raspberry and mulberry),
inedible (sassafras) and "will-do-in-a-pinch" (dogwood).
even mentors younger horses. "Several horse owners call him
'Uncle Elmer' because he's good at leading an inexperienced horse
into a trailer or baby-sitting a new horse down the trail,"
says Wood. One of the horses he mentored, Winchester Charm (Los-Sham-Roc
x Ella Charm), a Half-Arabian owned by Wood's friend Lucy Hirsch,
is being inducted into the NATRC Hall of Fame.
has also schooled Elmer in western pleasure (he hates to slow jog)
and hunt seat (he still does a bit of jumping, up to two feet).
Since he was 4, the pair has taken dressage lessons to learn rhythm
and balance, and Elmer can deftly perform leg yields, shoulder-in,
haunches-in and flying changes.
of his biggest strengths on the trail is his trot. Elmer can clip
along at 12 mph and easily sustain a pace of 6 to 8 mph. "When
you think Elmer is maxed, Mary Anna gives him a little nudge, and
he goes into 'turbo' and leaves you in the dust," says Hirsch.
"He has one of the fastest trots of any horse I've known."
and strength are in Elmer's breeding. The 15.1-hand gray is the
offspring of Wood's Appendix Quarter Horse mare, Dandy Lain, and
an Arabian stallion, DIS Jameel Junaid. Elmer inherited his color,
endurance and longevity from his sire, who descends from *Raffles
and Witez II. From his dam, who mixes Hancock Quarter Horse blood
with a little Percheron, he inherited his good-size feet, bone,
a bit of feathering and, says Wood, an "optimistic view of
good health must also be in Elmer's genes, since Wood says he's
almost never lame or sick. Their teamwork is another factor in Elmer's
amazing health. After taking a short course, Wood even began shoeing
the gelding herself. More important, she listens. A confirmed extrovert,
Elmer loves to chatter, especially when he wants attention. "When
I'm mounted, he'll talk to me all day with body language,"
Wood and Elmer, riding the trail in 2003 will be no different than
it was on their first competitive ride in 1976. Wood always has
to make him walk the first mile. "I have to warm up his brain,"
says Wood. "If I just trot out of camp on Saturday, he will
trot all day. But if we walk that first mile, it's a loose rein
for the rest of the day."
Elmer has a say in the matter, he will be performing for many years
to come. "I don't think he wants to retire," says Wood.
Just point Elmer toward Wood's trailer and watch how eagerly he
is a 40,000 member breed association that registers Arabians, Half-Arabian
and Anglo-Arabian horses, administers more than $4 million in prize
money annually, produces national events, maintains official event
records, recognizes more than 400 Arabian horse shows and distance
rides and provides activities and programs that promote Arabian
horse breeding and ownership. For information about Arabian, Half-Arabian
and Anglo-Arabian horses, call 303-696-4500, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.iaha.com