Exhilarating Miles Through Endurance

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Becca Shelbourn Rockin'R Images

Jacquelyn Baldridge, BHSU Contributor

Michele Seaman of Piedmont, S.D. never knows what to expect when endeavoring the trails in an endurance ride. Endurance riding is an equestrian sport, incorporating controlled long distance. 

 Seaman said that riding “is a partnership and spending time with an animal that is truly companionate and amazing, and you can ride them and tell them what to do. Even though they are 4 times bigger, I never stop being in awe of them.” According to Seaman, peace and tranquility takes over seaman as horseback riding “Takes you back to a simpler time in life, simpler way of life.”

Seaman grew up in North Dakota as a little girl and riding horses with her grandfather at a young age, thus whom she can accredit the start and love for horses too from the beginning. Since then Seaman has relocated to the Black Hills in 1989, and enjoys life to the fullest with her husband Lee. The two of them own and operate a Heating and Air Condition business out of Piedmont. They are now empty nesters together with six children, twelve grandchildren and one great grandchild. 

Dinero vs. Briella

Michelle currently has four horses, two of which are her main riders.  When asked about her horse Dinero her face lit up with joy and it was apparent how much she loves him. Dinero is a 15-year-old Morgan/Quarter Horse. His nick name is Denis the Menace because he is playful and always seems to be the one responsible for pasture shenanigans. 

She said “Dinero loves to go on the trail and easily gets along with the other horses.” Seaman could go on and on about Dinero.

 Brielle is a 16-year old mare, with a rare breed of an Arabian called a Shagya. According to Seaman she is the princess, very beautiful and is very talented, but she doesn’t always want to work really hard, even though this is something that comes easily for Brielle, when Dinero really has to work hard for this.

Trust & Safety First

A first-time ride can be “hectic and there are a lot of wheels already turning” whether it be a 12-mile entry ride or a 150-mile three-day endurance.

Seaman states  trust and teamwork is the “number one thing you are out all day with a horse, it’s much more important to be out with a horse she loves than a horse that is simply a winner, and you need to be able to trust them with your life, so it’s not only the fun, but it’s your safety.” 

Inside Endurance Ride Experience

Seaman’s accomplishing 25-mile set goals and the rides just got bigger their after. “My horse Denaro loved it, and I loved it. This was the first time he was ever happy, as he had found his niche.” When starting a race in this sport “Endurance Rides can start out at 4:30 a.m. in the morning and finish by 11:30 p.m. in the dark”. When riding it’s an important “goal to finish with a happy and healthy horse.”

Seamans gives race advice “Starting out relaxed, and not allowing my horse to get to excited, this wastes a lot of energy. “Also preplanning is a key essential in this sport “Making sure the both of us have enough food and water to sustain us for the day, because if the rider doesn’t feel well and isn’t making good decisions the horse doesn’t do well as a result.” 

Seaman had a big year with here Morgan Quarter Horse Dinero receiving the 2nd Place AERC Lightweight Division recording 790 competitive miles as a team cumulatively.  Next year will be a Decade Team for her and Dinero accomplishing a 2000-mile career together

Fort Meade Endurance Ride

The Fort Meade Endurance Ride is a horsemanship event, with hopes of keeping the love for riding alive. Seaman gives credit to her mentor Kerry Greear for passing on the torch to a solid foundation in establishment of the Fort Meade Endurance Ride. Seaman would also like to thank her husband for always supporting her vision “the support from my husband Lee for be-ing so supportive and giving me the amount of time and energy that has allowed me to put towards my passion.” 

The Ft. Meade endurance trail is mapped out on the 7th Calvary and the Centennial trail and approved through the entities of the BLM. Black Hills is home to 450 miles of National State park trails, which are available hiking, biking, and riding.

 Black Hills Trails is a non-profit organization that has made a collective effort in having a significate positive impact on the existing trails throughout the Black Hills.

The Ft. Meade Endurance Ride takes place annually in the Black Hills of South Dakota, unfortunately  due to COVID-19 this years  event has been cancelled. Rider’s shall eagerly await for the 2021 endurance ride season.

  It’s an example of partnership. Seaman shared “This is an opportunity for riders around to come to the Black Hills and enjoy a ride, it’s also enjoyable for beginners too.”