What is this ETS stuff?

Rock and I competing in Long Beach, WA at an ETS event.

Most everyone who knows me, knows the Rock Star. Rock is my equine soul mate, the equine light of my life. He is my ❤ horse, as most folks who know us know. Late in 2015 after sharing a win and taking the Best Condition award on a 75 mile ride in Central Oregon, Rock injured himself in the pasture. He suffered a proximal humeral fracture. This effectively and brutally ended his bright and shiny endurance career. A job he was bred to and took to like no one’s business. He had carried me through Tevis in 2014. He had won some rides, several Best Condition awards and was darn lucky he was a stallion with a great temperament and fabulous conformation.

Late in 2017 I injured my back. I suffered a “minor” rupture of my L5-S1 disc. I was off horses for several months. I didn’t want to just get back on one of our fit Arabians and take off again after all that rehab and off time.

What does all this have to do with Equine Trail Sports, you ask? Everything, I answer! As Rock progressed through his time in stall confinement and rehabilitation and I was progressing through my back rehab, I began trying to figure out something I could do with him that would get him out of his pen that didn’t involve phantoms or mares and something that would have me on a horse I trust with my life (and back). I started researching online and found Equine Trail Sports. More homework showed that although there were lots of events throughout the NW, there weren’t any in Central Oregon! The ride manager curiosity in me was piqued. What was even more interesting is that unlike the sport of endurance with only 2 national sanctioning organizations, there are several competitive trail/obstacle organizations who all offer much the same thing in terms of rules, expectations, and awards. I chose ETS because there seems to be plenty of events in the NW to choose from.

After competing in ETS for a year with Rock, dragging my friend, Michelle Kronsberg and her horse, Tiger, along for the ride, we decided that between us we could host an ETS event here in Central Oregon. We decided to tag our events onto a distance riding event that my husband, Max, and I are managing over Memorial Day Weekend. This was done with the idea that any trail riders who’ve been remotely interested in distance riding can come early and observe and maybe even participate in the EDRA event, and conversely, any distance riders who are remotely interested in competitive trail/obstacle events have the opportunity to observe and perhaps join in on the ETS events. Since I’ll have my hands full with the distance event, Michelle has agreed to do the lion’s share of the hard work on the ETS events. I sure appreciate that!

Michelle and Tiger navigating a “foam box” obstacle in 2017.

If you’re interested in entering an ETS event, you can do so by filling out an online entry via the Equine Trail Sports website (which they prefer!), or you can fill out a form at the event and enter right there.

Michelle and I hope to introduce distance rides to competitive trail in a manner that will be easy to try! This sport is ideal for that retired endurance horse, the young endurance horse who you want to introduce to the sport gently, and the seasoned horse who might need to just slow their brain down some.

Michelle on Tiger, Darlene on Rock at an ETS event in 2017

Hope to see you all give it a try!

To find our more about ETS, please visit their website!


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