My IDOL....spoke the other night in our town. Julie Suhr gave an informal talk with all the proceeds going to help the Western States Trail Foundation. I was not going to miss it, nor were most of the endurance community in the Northern California area. It was a huge event and the food & drinks... y u m m y.....
To say this woman is an idol of mine is a huge understatement. I know she's an idol to many and to tell of her accomplishments in a simple blog post could not do her justice. Reading her first book would give a huge clue, (though I understand it is now unavailable). It's a wonderful book on a life well lived and she still glows from it.
Julie is around 87 years old, from the research I can gather and is still riding her 32 year old grey Arabian gelding. She's finished Tevis some 22 times, bore a daughter who has 31 buckles (omg) and has written 2 books that I am aware of. One being "Ten Feet Tall, Still", and her new book, "....but it wasn't the horse's fault". What I love best about her second book is she starts each chapter with a photo of "The Way We Were" to "The Way We Are". Endurance in the day she started was ridden in heavy western saddles, jeans (oaaawwwwiieeee) and virtually no one rode with a helmet. Vet checks were very interesting also, as they have really evolved to include so many more parameters, even though I think the same % of horses still complete Tevis, which is around 50%. Horse camps are much more luxurious and the hi-tech tack goes without saying.
Julie still takes care of her own horses, cleans stalls, feeds 3x's a day and rides several times a week. She says she's more interested in a small, safe & sound horse, rather than something more...um big & wild? (I always liked those small, safe & sound horses! I think then I will be riding Shetlands in my 90s!!)
She is my idol because she is still living the dream, and hasn't curled up on the couch in front of TV saying she's too old to ride horses, or care for her ranch. And, that is probably why she is still in the shape mentally and physically. And, she writes books and publishes them......sooooo my dream to do.
It was such a fun evening to see so many great people listen to her and to also hear her give honor to others. She told a story about how Kathie Perry (who is a 1x winner of Tevis in 1978) rode with her and they came to the finish line and Julie told Kathie to go ahead. Kathie stopped her horse and said "He's not going one more step until you cross the finish line first". That is giving such respect to a great woman by another great woman. Gotta love it. I just love where I live and the people in it.
You can buy her book from her website at http://www.marinerapublishing.com/