Sunday March 30 2014
Lori Windows of Wyanet, Illinois, and her 13-year-old mare Ella N Fires Jane Doe were the recipients of the 2013 AERC National Best Condition award. "Ella" and Windows finished the 2013 season with 12 completions in 13 starts, 7 first places, and 10 Best Conditions.
Highlight of their season was winning Best Condition at the 2013 AHA Distance Nationals, held in October near Chandlerville, Illinois. The ride almost didn't happen for the pair. Originally entered in the 100-mile AHA National ride, Windows woke up that morning to find her horse gone. She'd escaped from Ridecamp, and was found later in the day in someone's front yard twenty miles away, with her lead rope still on.
Ella didn't have a scratch on her, and officials allowed Windows to switch to the 50-mile ride the next day. Not only did the pair win the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Division, but they won Best Condition - the 10th BC of Ella's season (and 22nd of her career), contributing to her National Award.
Ella N Fires Jane Doe is a 3/4 Arabian, 1/4 Saddlebred mare, by the Arabian stallion ChariotsoffireNVF, out of Bay Ella-Gance.
Windows got Ella from a girl who was going to college, and she didn't have time for the then-5-year-old mare. "She was broke," said Windows, "but she was a handful, and the girl was afraid that somebody would get her and not be able to handle her."
Ella did one year carrying one of Windows' friends in novice (CTR) rides, and then the next year Ella and Windows started doing endurance.
Now, with four seasons of endurance and over 2600 miles under her girth, Ella is an experienced endurance horse, but she's still a horse for an experienced rider. "Some horses love to run but they don't know when it's time to slow down, or when it's time to stop. This horse loves to run, but fortunately she's smart enough that she never hurts herself." And she takes good care of herself in the vet checks and on trail, eating and drinking, which Windows feels is why she does so well at Best Condition.
"She just takes care of herself. I feel I am just a passenger on this incredible horse!"