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California equestrienne logs 10,000 hours with Ride America

What does it take to get you in the saddle?

suedekalbFor Sue Dekalb of Gilroy, California, APHA’s Ride America program and a lofty goal helped her tack up her Paint Horse, Docs Solid Impression, every day.

Aboard her 1998 bay solid gelding by Two Tone Imp and out of Double Doc Tivio Gal (QH), Sue spent more than 10 years striving to reach the program’s pinnacle 10,000-hour milestone.

“I started logging my hours with ‘Doc’ shortly after I bought him in 2002, and I didn’t finish 10,000 hours until December of 2013,” Sue said. “It’s been a goal that I’ve had since I started.”

Sue became the fifth rider to achieve the 10,000-hour award in the program’s 20-year history. For her accomplishment, Sue earned a custom Ride America buckle from Gist Silversmiths, along with additional prizes at other achievement levels along the way. As a bonus, Doc’s Ride America hours are recorded on his official APHA record.

Sue retired shortly after purchasing Doc, allowing her plenty of time to explore the nearby Henry W. Coe State Park and its 87,000 acres. A park volunteer, Sue brings her camera along for her ritual morning rides to capture snapshots of the park’s diverse wildlife for use in promotional and educational material.

“When you’re on a horse you can get amazingly close to the wild animals before they realize you’re there,” she said. “You can get right up next to bobcats and coyotes if you’re careful and quiet. Plus, you still get [Ride America] hours if you’re using your horse as a tripod!”

The horsewoman’s daily trail rides are typically three-and-a-half hours long, meandering down her favorite path in the park. With Ride America’s double rewards for time spent in state parks, Sue usually logged seven hours per day.

“Ten thousand hours still takes a long time, no matter where you live or if you’re retired or not,” she said.

Once a highly competitive rider, Sue says the Ride America program helped her stay motivated when she began riding recreationally because it gave her goals.

“Ride America is a great way to keep yourself in the saddle,” she said. “It’s kind of like an exercise program—you’ve got to do it every day, but you need something motivating you to do so. Ride America offers those motivations and rewards.”

Are you ready to get out and explore the open trail on your Paint? Enroll in Ride America and start logging hours toward your goals today. APHA has also developed new membership levels specifically designed for recreational riders:

  • The Trail Boss ($80): Includes a one-year APHA membership, annual enrollment in the Ride America program, a free gift, and a one-year subscription to The Trail Rider magazine.
  • The Wrangler ($40): For current APHA members, includes annual enrollment in the Ride America program, a free gift, and a one-year subscription to The Trail Rider.
  • The Day Rider ($15): For current APHA members who are already enrolled in Ride America, includes a one-year subscription to The Trail Rider.


[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]

About APHA

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second- largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.