Question and Answer session with Clydea Hastie, Adventure Horseback Guide: Part I of II

The following interview is with Clydea Hastie, an adventure horseback guide with Windwalker Expeditions. She has been Endurance Riding since 1969 and has over 10,000 competitive miles under her belt. Clydea’s accomplishments are truly inspiring.

Interviewer:  How’d you first get into endurance riding?

Clydea:  I bought my very first horse after I graduated from college and got a job. I started showing it at shows and thought, “This is pretty boring, just going around in a ring like this!”   At that time, my husband bought a dirt motorcycle, and I thought, “That doesn’t sound like much fun either, does he expect to take me out on that thing?”  I was surprised when he bought a bike for me to.  I decided – what the heck, I’ll try it anyway.  We would go out to the desert and ride up and around all kinds of trails, but it still didn’t really strike me as that much fun, not really my cup of tea.  Then a friend told me, “They do that with horses to!”  I was like, “Oh, really!”  This got my interest and sparked my imagination.  My friend added, “Yeah, there’s the Tevis Cup!  You go over all these same type of trails, but you do it on a horse. You can leave the fuel cans at home!”   Now that sounded like more fun and started it all for me.

Speaking of motorcycles and going on long rides, that’s one of the things I tell my riders.  Like yesterday, I was out and I had some pretty good riders, but they had never done that kind of endurance riding, like Tevis. These were trotting really fast, turning, twisting, then a little cantor, than a trot, then zoom zoom – so I had to tell them, you have to think of it like riding a dirt bike with a mind. You can’t run em hard if you want to win the endurance race! They run out of gas!

Interviewer: So, tell us - What was your first race was like?

Clydea:   Well I trained for a long time because there wasn’t a lot of information on endurance riding at the time.  Western Horseman, a magazine of the time (1969), had one article.  My first race ended up being 100 miles, they didn’t have 50s back then, so you just entered the 100 mile race.  No one wore helmets, you brought no water with you, no lights, it was just you, the horse, and the elements.  But even with this, we would still have about 150 riders in the Tevis.  My first race was the Diamond 100, and then my second race was the Tevis.

Interviewer: So how’d you do on your first 100?

Clydea: I almost died!  But I completed it, it took me 23 hours and 45 minutes. I completed it with only 15 minutes left before the limit.  I was in the last group – we didn’t even bother fighting for last, we just came in!

Interviewer: So for that whole distance, you didn’t carry anything at all with you?

Clydea:  Nothing.  There were stops where you could get food and water, but then you didn’t carry anything.

Interviewer:  Did they have any endurance saddles back then?

Clydea:  No, I just used my western show saddle, a big ol heavy thing!  A real endurance saddle is built more like a cavalry saddle.  That’s how they modeled it to make it much more comfortable over long distances.

Interviewer:  How do you find a horse that can go that kind of distance?

Clydea:   Well, you start with the proper breed with the proper build, then you condition the animal. But, with proper training, just about any horse can go 100 miles.  It is much like a human athlete preparing for a marathon:  nutrition and training is important, and you don’t just go out and try to run the race with a week of preparation! 

Click here to read part II!

For more information about Clydea Hastie have a look at her biography here