The 2006 winner of the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) Distance Horse of the Year Award was presented to a 23-year-old Half-Arabian named Aron Moon. The horse is owned by Mike Tracy of Hollister, Calif. The horse, nicknamed “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, reaching the prestigious Legion of Excellence level. As the winner, Aron Moon’s name will be engraved on a perpetual trophy designed by Joe Staheli, donated by the Arabian Horse Owners Foundation. Tracy will receive a matching plaque.
As yet another example of how a formidable competition horse does not have to come with an astronomical outlay of cash, Aron Moon was 4 years old when Tracy bought him in 1988. The price tag? $400. They began actively competing the next year.
“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,” Tracy says.
This resilient team has had some amazing experiences together. The first time the gelding competed on the Western States Trail Ride, he tumbled down a steep slope and almost drowned twice trying to find a place to get out of the swift-moving water. 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,” Tracy says. “There is no quit in him. It’s an honor to win the AHA Distance Horse of the Year Award. 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.”