Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Incredible Elmer Bandit

For a while I'd been seeing the name Elmer Bandit pop up in some of my horse related newsletters. I ignored the name at first. Honestly, I thought it was just some kind of gimmick about a horse with a funny name. Then, I read one of the articles. Now, I am a fan of Elmer Bandit!

Elmer Bandit is a 37 year old, half Arabian, Competitive Trail Riding (CTR) horse. T-H-I-R-T-Y S-E-V-E-N! He's still competing and doing very well. Elmer Bandit and his owner, Mary Anna Wood, have been doing CTR together since 1976! I was a mere teenager at that time! Boggles my mind when I think about this horse, and his rider too, of course.

Since finding out about this incredible horse I've been gleaning all the articles I can find about him. Seems most of the interest in Elmer, and Mary, has come about in the last couple of years due to the record he could break. Elmer Bandit is 230 miles short of breaking the CTR lifetime mileage record. Elmer Bandit has logged 20,480 miles as of Labor Day weekend! I am fascinated by his feat. Probably more so because of his advanced age, but also by his humble life.

Elmer lives his non-CTR days out in a pasture with a herd of other horses. He's not special in that regard. His teeth are worn down so he gets his 2 meals a day specially mushed, as it sounds to me, and he gets his alfalfa cubes soaked in water. Can take him a couple of hours to eat his meals and he eats slowly. He is given supplements often fed to aging horses and a probiotic to help digestion. The only serious health problem I've read about was a possible eye ulceration back in 1998.

What a heart this horse has, in more ways than one!

His next CTR is this weekend, September 13 & 14 at the Dave Smith Fall Festival at Brushy Creek Recreation Area near Lehigh, Iowa. I'm looking forward to reading how he comes through. Mary, his owner, has stated that as long as he still loves his work and seems happy out there, she'll keep going with him.

So if you want an athelete to root for, look up Elmer Bandit and read about this unassuming yet incredible CTR horse!

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