From The Horse:
National competitive trail mileage record holder Elmer Bandit, 38, passed away Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the pasture of his longtime boarding stable, Misty River Equestrian Center, in Independence, Mo.
In September 2009 Wood and Elmer completed the Stephens Forest Competitive Trail event near Lucas, Iowa, which pushed Elmer’s lifetime mileage to 20,780 miles, surpassing the previous record held by Wing Tempo. Elmer won numerous National Championships over his 34-year career.
I judged Elmer (and Tempo) many times. He was amazing. At vet check in he always looked his age. (He was 36 the last time I judged him.) This would lead to fervent prayers to any and all deities – Please don’t let him die on my watch!!!!!
But then he would go out on the trail. He would get stronger and stronger over the weekend. By the end of the 60 miles he was bouncing along like a young ‘un. He would give you an extended trot at the end of the ride that would make you forget that he had just gone 60 miles or that he was older than me.
The last time I judged him he had the highest score of any horse in the entire ride. I kept thinking to myself that I must be doing something wrong if an elderly horse was outscoring everyone else. But then he’d go bounding by totally sound and energized and looking better than anyone else and I realized that he was just that good.