Canadian endurance riders recently took on the CEI Biltmore Challenge, and proved they have what it takes to tackle the trails. Held May 5-6 at the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, 2017 marked the 22nd year for the prestigious international competition.

Wendy MacCoubrey of Ste. Justine de Newton, QC, was the top-ranked Canadian in the CEI 2* 120 km, riding her homebred mare Black Bart’s Lolita to a podium finish. MacCoubrey and the eight-year-old Arabian/Standardbred-cross mare, sired by Vondar Black Bart, completed the challenging ride along the French Broad River in 11 hours and 18 minutes to bring home third.

“I’m so pleased with my horse’s performance and results,” MacCoubrey explained. “It was only her second 120 km, and in the mountains she certainly showed me that she has what it takes in this sport. I’d also like to thank my awesome crew – I couldn’t have done it without them!”

With an average speed of 10.7 km/hr through the five gates, MacCoubrey, a veteran competitor, was only slightly off the faster pace set by Americans Erin Champion riding Kongtiki and Valerie Kanavy with Play It Louder, who finished first and second with times of 9 hours and 35 minutes and 10 hours and 4 minutes, respectively.

“The Biltmore is always a well-run and managed ride,” said MacCoubrey of the event. “But it has its challenges on the best of days, and this year was extremely tough with the rain prior to the event. It made for slow going and very slippery clay mountains.”

MacCoubrey’s care with her young mare has paid off in spades. In addition to their third-place finish, Black Bart’s Lolita was also named the FEI and Overall Best Conditioned, as well as receiving the High Vet score, all a testament to her phenomenal fitness and training.

“She’s a homebred and I have watched her grow and couldn’t wait to try her,” MacCoubrey said of Black Bart’s Lolita. “She was only started on the trail January 2016 when she did her first 40 km ride. She is one of the most talented horses I have had the privilege to ride. She is young and learning with every mile we do. Lots of miles make strong partnerships, and I’m hopeful this will be a partnership that will last for a long time!”

Stephanie McLeod of Oka, QC, represented Canada in the CEIJY 2*120 km, paired with another horse trained by MacCoubrey, Style N Attitude (HR Electric x AA Apollo Bey), an 11-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Guatemala’s Fernando Paiz Larrave. Together, they brought home second place in a time of 11 hours and 18 minutes with an average speed of 10.7 km/hr.

“Style N Attitude, ridden by Stephanie McLeod, is also a horse I have had in training for the last few months,” MacCoubrey noted. “Stephanie took a break from endurance for the past two years, but they made an excellent team and exceeded any expectations I could have had for both of them. I couldn’t have imagined a better result!”

Style N Attitude was also awarded the FEI Best Conditioned for the Young Rider division.

In the CEI 1* 90 km, Leah Jansen van Doorn of Alliston, ON, rode Satarra (The Atticus x Imperial Madheen), a 15-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Brenda Harrison, to victory. The pair clocked in on the 90 km endurance ride in 7 hours, 21 minutes – more than 20 minutes faster than second-place finisher Jose Ortega of the USA, who finished in 7 hours and 48 minutes riding Star of Valor.

Robert ‘Bob’ Gielen of Flesherton, ON, also emerged victorious. He and More Bang For Your Buck (Doran x Forty Thieves), his eight-year-old Arabian gelding, topped the CEI 1* 80 km in a time of 6 hours and 27 minutes. The duo also racked up an FEI Best Conditioned award for Canada.

“It’s always great to see so many fellow Canadians there to take on the challenge and do so well,” exclaimed MacCoubrey. “That’s always a highlight for me!”

For more information and complete results from the Biltmore Challenge, visit

Top 10 Canadian Results – CEI Biltmore Challenge

CEI2* 120
Placing / Rider / Horse / Owner / Time
3rd / Wendy MacCoubrey / Black Bart’s Lolita / Wendy MacCoubrey / 11:18:48
11th / Catherine Nooyen / Cognac Amberfyre / Dessia Miller / 14:22:48
FEI Best Conditioned – Black Bart’s Lolita
Overall Best Conditioned – Black Bart’s Lolita
High Vet Score – Black Bart’s Lolita

CEIJY2* 120
Placing / Rider / Horse / Owner / Time
2nd / Stephanie McLeod / Style N Attitude /Fernando Paiz Larrave / 11:18:50
FEI Best Conditioned – Style N Attitude

CEI1* 90
Placing / Rider / Horse / Owner / Time
1st / Leah Jansen van Doorn / Satarra / Brenda Harrison / 7:21:09

CEI1* 80
Placing / Rider / Horse / Owner / Time
1st / Robert Gielen / More Bang For Your Buck / Robert Geilen / 6:27:28
6th / Wendy MacCoubrey / Golden Miles / Wendy MacCoubrey / 8:42:20
7th / Kimberley Woolley / Adversity / Nancy Zukewich / 8:42:21
9th / Yvette Vinton / Here Comes the Boom / Yvette Vinton / 9:06:51
FEI Best Conditioned – More Bang For Your Buck