Dead Dog Creek 2013



This is the closest ride to our little farm. It is listed as being in Kinmundy but is really near Salem IL.  Actually the ride is at Omega. Omega is “town”  of about 20 people and a country store that has good ice cream, beer on Sunday and electronic gambling.   We have competed there many times. By that I mean Dead Dog Creak, not at the store.  Only once has mud not been a part of the ride. The mud has been so bad in the past that the following is all true:
1. The co race director face planted into a mud hole one year at speed. I seem to remember he won the 50 but the back of his head was the only thing not covered in mud.
2. The course became so wet and muddy after a night time of rain, that it was changed to a road ride. One of our twh mares, Kate , won that ride but I really dislike riding on roads.
3. I rolled a saddle one year climbing a muddy hill in the rain and slid down the hill on back in the mud.
4, They moved the ride from May to June to avoid the rain and resulting mud.

It did not work, the rain and mud found the Dead Dog Creek Ride anyway.


Linda and Aaron Mowrer are great salt of the earth endurance folks. They have worked tirelessly on this ride and they are the back bone of the AERC as far as I am concerned. You won’t find them at FEI rides or worrying if their are too many weight divisions, but you will find them working their tails off and risking their hard earned money to put on a ride. They are to be applauded.


We have not done the normal number of rides we usually get done this year.  A new grandson has had a lot to do with that. I crewed for my wife Sandy and a friend in his first aerc ride at LBL in May and tried the Ozark Trail 100 again in May but that was all we have been able to attend. That ride is a hard one. In four years 4 arabians, a mule and my twh Kate have been the only finishers in the 100. I took Cheyenne, another of our TWH mares this year and knew she was off by mile 20 and took a rider option.
So,  I brough Cheyenne back from the 100 mile distance and entered her in the 50 at Dead Dog. I took Kate to ride the second day 50 and a new 5 year old to experience her first ridecamp. She is a beautiful and interest horse. She is half twh and half Standard-bred and blue roan in color.  Her name is Indigo.  Sandy stayed home so off I went with three horses to look for mud.
We found it.
The course at Dead Dog does not usually involve a Dead Dog.  It does involve several creeks. It seem one year, in the distant past the ride was held somewhere else and their was a creek and it featured a dead dog. They moved the ride but kept the name. They also kept the mud.
All vet checks are in camp and the course is one loop that is repeated with a 5 mile extension on it. So, the loops are 20,15 and 15. Cheyenne went out with the leaders and we settled in a respectable 5th. Mud was flying to say the least. The trail is almost all single track so we would fly until hitting mud bogs and then walk through the mud. We repeated this. We repeated this a lot. It was heading for about 90 degrees and the humidity was also very high.  I let the leaders go into camp and Cheyenne and I backed off.  It was now hot and humid. Cheyenne presented at 72 and I wished I had a crew.  A few minutes later she was down  and we rested and readied to go out again.
I decided that the heat and humidity ,coupled with the mud, could be a problem for a big horse like Cheyenne. She is long legged and very muscled. I might also mention I am not what I would call a “tiny heinie” in the sport.  Then there was , as I might have mentioned, the mud.  The trail was turning into churned mud. We rode the last 30 miles by our selves. We did find some trail riders and some of those were lost and needing directions. When we saw trail riders on Quarter horses, Cheyenne wanted to become  quarter horse and walk with them. I declined.
We finished 6th and were both glad to complete and get off the course. My favorite comment of the day came from the vet who has seen several of our horses.  At one of the “trot outs” , which of course will never feature a “trot” if I can help it, the Vet just broke out laughing. I thought Cheyenne had done a very find running walk with a bit of animation. The Vet said, ” I have no idea what your horse just did, but it was symmetrical so I guess she’s fine!” Harrumph.
Just as I lined her up for her final “trot out”, (no pun intended), the sky opened up and a monsoon  fell on everyone. It rained for 6 more hours.

Cheyenne, 10 year old TWH mare after 50 miles


This is one of those rides that feature a great pot luck and the ride management supplies the main course and desert. I think the cobblers cooked in dutch ovens are worth some mud.
I decided I was not going to put Kate through  50 miles of mud and knew some of the creeks would require swimming. She eats this course for lunch but it was not worth the risk to her .
So,  I loaded up and went home and the 50 the next day was cancelled.
In conclusion, if you can stomach a technical trail that is often got some muddy spots in exchange for some good food out of dutch ovens, this is a ride you should try.

Keith and Cheyenne
Shawnee Sunrise Farm
Marion IL

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