December 19, 2006 -- The 2006 winner of the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) Distance Horse of the Year Award is 23-year-old Half-Arabian Aron Moon+// (HA Shah Galleb x grade mare), owned by Mike Tracy of Hollister, Calif. Aron Moon, aka "Moon", was chosen for his outstanding accomplishments. During his 17 year endurance career, he's had 95 completions out of 108 starts giving him an 88 percent completion rate and 5,625 miles. Additionally, he's earned 536 Achievement Awards points during his career, reaching the prestigious Legion of Excellence level.
As the winner, Aron Moon's name will be engraved on a perpetual trophy donated by the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation and designed by Joe Staheli. Tracy will receive a matching plaque.
Aron Moon was four years old when Tracy bought him in 1988 for $400. They began actively competing in 1989
"It was a learning experience. We were both green, and I got thrown off a number of times. It took quite awhile for us to bond," says Tracy.
This resilient team has had some amazing experiences together. The first time the gelding competed on the Western States (Tevis) 60, he tumbled down a steep slope and almost drowned twice trying to find a place to get out of the swift-moving water which included rescue attempts by two different rafting groups and a jerry rigged flotation device made from lifejackets. The pair finally made their way back to the trail where Moon vetted out and finished the ride.
During the AHA National Endurance Ride in 2000, he slipped during a river crossing and split his coronet band at mile 86. Tracy managed to put him back together with chewing gum and cut off the sleeve of his jacket to staunch the bleeding before leading his horse six miles to the vet check where they both got medical attention.
"He has the heart of a lion and the speed of the wind," says Tracy. "There is no quit in him."
Aron Moon has earned numerous champion, reserve and top ten or top five titles in AHA national and regional competitive trail and endurance championships.
"It's an honor to win the AHA Distance Horse of the Year Award," says Tracy. "I'm sure riding, diet, shoeing, veterinary care and even chiropractic care had something to do with his long and successful career, but his heart is God-given. Aron Moon exemplifies what endurance is all about, being tired, hungry and sore and still striving because to finish is to win."
For more information on AHA distance programs, visit www.ArabianHorses.org/Distance.