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Upcoming 100-mile endurance ride featured

5/6/2014, 2:40 p.m.
“This truly is a sport for young and old, and one in which entire families can take part,” said Mary ...
The sport is noted as being for the young and old.

Cooperative Living magazine’s May cover story, “A Hard Day’s Night at the Old Dominion Endurance Ride,” profiles a sport in which hardy humans and their equine partners tackle up to 100 miles of remote, rocky trail in a single day.

Published for the consumer-owned electric cooperatives that belong to the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC), Cooperative Living is Virginia’s largest-circulation magazine, with an estimated 1.2 million readers.

The Old Dominion Endurance Rides, Inc. has been hosting events sanctioned by the American Endurance Riding Conference (AERC) since 1974. The 2014 Old Dominion Endurance Ride will be held on June 14 in Orkney Springs, Va.

The Old Dominion organization counts equine-riding education as part of its mission.

“We’ve sponsored numerous seminars and training rides over the years to acquaint riders with this challenging sport and help them better understand how to prepare themselves and their horses,” said Joe Selden, who with his wife Nancy has managed Old Dominion’s June event for the past seven years.

The article also details the use of mandatory holds and veterinary inspections throughout competition to ensure each horse is “fit to continue” before proceeding to the next leg of the course.

Writer Priscilla Knight Williams, a communications specialist for Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC), learned about endurance riding from her husband Randolph, an early Old Dominion participant and supporter. When she met VMDAEC staff member Mary Howell and learned that Howell was active in the sport, she pitched the idea of an article.

Howell put Williams in touch with several electric cooperative members who volunteer or compete at Old Dominion endurance events. Williams also attended several of the organization’s 2013 rides. There she met NOVEC member Natalie Muzzio, who with her horse Laconic (Nicky) earned the coveted Old Dominion Trophy and is featured on the May cover.

“This truly is a sport for young and old, and one in which entire families can take part,” said Howell. “We hope to make readers aware that Virginia is home to several world-famous endurance competitors as well as site for one of the oldest 100-mile rides in the nation.”

The Old Dominion organization will be hosting the sport’s 50- and 100-mile national championships in 2015, and Howell said those interested in learning more about the sport are welcome to see it firsthand by coming out to volunteer.

Much of Page and Shenandoah counties, where Old Dominion Endurance Ride events are held, are served by Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC), one of Virginia’s 13 consumer-owned electric cooperatives. Myron Rummel, SVEC’s CEO and general manager, noted that the region offers the perfect setting to enjoy Virginia’s natural beauty.

“Public lands such as George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park provide breathtaking mountain views as well as a challenging terrain for horseback riding and other outdoor pursuits,” Rummel said.

Richard Johnstone, VMDAEC executive vice president noted that by featuring organizations such as the Old Dominion Endurance Ride, "we are helping readers learn about unique aspects of Virginia’s heritage as well as today’s recreational opportunities.”