Darolyn Butler is a World Endurance Champion. She is also the owner of Cypress Trails Ranch.
Darolyn started riding before she could walk, crying like a kid when she took off horses.
While there was no endurance riding in her native state of Oklahoma in the 1960s, she claims to have been born to do just that. Early years saw her riding hours, exploring the countryside on and around the farm and ranch of her family.
Darolyn was soon involved in horse shows and barrel racing, as it was in Oklahoma in the ’60s and 70s. A stint as Miss Rodeo Oklahoma (also winning the Horsemanship Division in the Miss Rodeo America pageant) and a role as Miss Ford Country (a Ford Motor Co. cowgirl advertisement campaign) gave her another boost in the equine direction.
She was crowned Miss Oklahoma State University in 1972 and after graduating from there, represented Tony Lama Boot Company in East Texas and Southern Louisiana, spurring her to move to Houston, Texas.
Stepped into the Endurance Ride World
Horse shows and rodeos filled her moments until she learned endurance riding in 1981.
A few years later, all competing quarter horses were replaced by Arabs and cross-Arabs, the endurance riding breed of choice. When she moved into the ultimate sport of endurance riding with dedicated passion, her prior experience with horses served her well.
Endurance is typically a one-day event (a lot like a human marathon) with distances from 25 to 100 miles.
The famous Tevis Cup Ride (considered the hardest ride in the world) was her third endurance ride and won her first of many national championships in 1984.
Career transition also came with the change in her horse sport. She became the owner and producer of Horseman Video Showcase, a leading video production company specializing in the production of equine training videos and equine product advertising videos. With more than two dozen instructional videos under her belt, including her own “Long Distance Riding” video and the top-selling equine instructional of all time, John Lyons’ “Round Pen Reasoning,” she produced 8 Issues of Horseman Video Magazine, and almost 40 thirty-minute television shows, The Horse Show.
Her daughter Rima was born in 1979, and in 1982 her sister Cecilia followed her and, when they were old enough, she joined her mother as she pursued her hobby/obsession of endurance riding.
Darolyn gives clinics and private lessons on her favorite sport, compete internationally, and has won Gold, Silver, and Bronze team and individual medals, both in the U.S. and abroad.
One of her biggest thrills was to win the Gold Medal and Best Condition at the World Nature Games in Parana, Brazil, in 1997. She received her Texas Trainer’s License in 1995 and has trained Arabians and a few thoroughbred racehorses for the racetrack on a sporadic basis. Her heart, however, stayed with the long-distance horses.
Then in 1994, following a catastrophic flood 15 feet deep, after restoring her home and Cypresswood Stables, she gave in to the public who regularly asked to rent horses from her very visible farm near Humble, Texas. Now with conditioning, teaching, purchasing, and selling trail and endurance horses, she combines the business of offering adventure trail rides and lessons.
Continuous Ride to Success
In 1998, in the grueling Old Dominion 100-Mile Race, she and her big mare DJB Albanet finished 7th and Best Condition. As she completed 12 Texas races in the first 6 months of the year, 1999 was truly an endurance year.
In late July, Darolyn finished Tevis, traveled to Canada in early August for the Pan American Endurance Championship, and on September 18, had her second Top Ten finish at the Cosequin Challenge in Virginia.
Darolyn was invited to present a six-day Endurance Clinic at THE UNIVERSITY OF THE HORSE, near Sao Paulo, Brazil, in November 1998. She then set off for the World Endurance Championship in the United Arab Emirates in December 1998, where she served as Chef d’Equipe for the Romanian Team, which finished 54th out of a field of 175 competitors. By capturing the National Middleweight 100 Miles Series Championship at Albanet, she finished off 1998.
Darolyn has a peculiar appeal in Brazil. In November 1999, she was invited to participate in the 10th Anniversary of Endurance Riding in Brazil. In 2000, she played in the President’s Millennium Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a part of the USET World Championship team in France, and returned to the UAE in March 2001 for the World Cup. Vermont was the next stop, as Darolyn was a part of the 2001 Pan American Championship Silver Medal winning team and a member of the 2003 team as well.
One of Darolyn’s horses, DJB Wersus, ridden by Japanese rider Kanako Hayashi, finished in 30th place at 9:23 out of 180 starters at the 2004 World Endurance Championship. He was also the first horse completely barefooted to start and finish a World Championship.
It seemed to work very well for Butler’s horses to remove the iron shoes, as in 2010, seven horses who started or boarded at Darolyn’s ranch entered the World Endurance Championship in Lexington, Kentucky. In reality,
Darolyn had sold DJB Juniper just a short year before their solo finish to Deborah Reich, the only USA finisher. By capturing the AERC Middle Weight Division National Championship, Darolyn and DJB Nevada finished off 2010, barefooted, of course. Then in early 2010, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Cecilia, Darolyn’s daughter, riding DJB Cytron, completed the highly acclaimed Millennium President’s Cup… By coincidence, just 7 minutes slower than the 4th place finish of her mom’s ride in 2000, and by the way, the fastest time an American has ever posted in the President’s Cup. cypresstrailsranch.com- Darolyn Butler