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Ariat Partners with Riders for Stroke Awareness

Four Women Trek 3,128 miles Cross-Country...One step at a time

Union City, CA – March 9, 2007 – Ariat International, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of English and Western riding boots, apparel and small leather goods, is lending its performance-technology to a noteworthy cause. Recently the brand outfitted four Ariat-loving ladies from South Carolina who are trekking cross-country to build awareness for early detection of strokes.

The Carolina Trekkers, comprised of Andi Mills, Edie New, Marla McKinney, and Wanda Paradice, have set out on horseback, motorcycle, and automobile for a six-month journey to promote early detection and diagnosis and raise funding for stroke research. Mills and New, who will be riding their horses Whiskey and Jericho on a 3,000-mile journey from California back home to South Carolina, have sisters who suffered from strokes.

Early detection of a stroke can mean the difference between a life of severe disability and one with few restrictions. Mills’ sister, Mary Booker, a nurse at a Virginia clinic, was able to immediately recognize the symptoms of her stroke and minimized the potentially devastating effects. She suffers weakness in her left arm, hand and leg, and has lost some control over the use of her left foot. She is one of the fortunate stroke victims, able to lead a life with few limitations. New’s sister, Julie New, was only 36 at the time of her stroke, but a significant amount of time passed before she was diagnosed. As a result, Julie suffers from severe paralysis in both her left arm and leg, and will never be able to work a regular job. She has since suffered two more strokes, but immediate diagnosis minimized any additional damage. Seconds count with the occurrence of a stroke, whose symptoms are subtle and can go unnoticed for years if not detected. Strokes are the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. and the third-most common cause of death.

The trip, which took eleven months to plan, was Mills’ idea. As a trucker, she is familiar with the vast stretches of open country, but had always dreamed of riding across it on horseback. She is an avid equestrian, as are the rest of the Carolina Trekkers, and has bred and trained Paints and Quarter Horses for 25 years. Paradice, who will drive the group’s RV, and McKinney, on her Harley-Davidson, will accompany Mills and New.

To help them on this journey, the Carolina Trekkers received Ariat boots from Boot Barn Western & Work Wear in Ventura, CA, where their trip began. Styles included the Heritage Western, Legend, Sedona and Heritage Lacer from Ariat’s Performance Western collection. The ladies are life-long fans of Ariat, as one Trekker noted that the pair she wore out to California is at least a decade old. The boots feature Ariat’s patented stability and comfort technology, allowing the Trekkers to brave the changing elements, from below-freezing temperatures to miles of desert.

“Ariat was created to provide people with technologically advanced riding boots that will help them enjoy an active lifestyle while delivering all-day comfort,” said Beth Cross, Ariat’s founder and Chief Executive Officer. “As part of the global community of people who have dedicated their lives to horses and the equestrian lifestyle, we are proud to see these four courageous women hit the road for such an amazing and inspiring cause, and wish them the best of luck on their journey.”

The Trekkers will reach their destination -- Edisto Island, SC -- this summer, selling sponsorships along the way to raise money for the American Stroke Foundation and the American Heart Association’s anti-stroke programs. For more information on these organizations and to follow the Carolina Trekkers’ journey through their Trek Blog, please visit http://www.carolinatrekkers.com.

About The Carolina Trekkers’ Trip

On February 7th, 2007, four local women left Abbeville, South Carolina to trailer their horses to the California coast. They are spending six to seven months riding back to the South Carolina coast on a 3,000 mile journey. They expect to average 30 miles per day depending on climate, terrain and road conditions, alternating days off and riding as is best suited for the individual situations. It has taken eleven months to plot the trip, including arranging for places to stay and monthly veterinarian checks for the horses, as is required for interstate transportation of the horses. Lodgings have been arranged for them, ranging from Bureau of Land Management side-of-the-road stops to private ranches. The temperatures will range from an average of 65 degrees in California to an average low of 0 to 10 degrees in Arizona. They will be crossing 125 miles of the Mojave Desert (some 60 miles south of Death Valley) and will be riding in altitudes in excess of 7,000 feet in the mountains of Arizona. They will ride through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, ending at Edisto Island, South Carolina in late July or early August.

About Ariat International, Inc.

Ariat International, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of innovative performance equestrian footwear, belts, apparel, and handbags. Featuring patented technology designed to deliver stability, durability and comfort, Ariat is the pioneer of integrating athletic shoe technology into equestrian footwear. Ariat products are sold in a network of retail outlets throughout the world. For more information about Ariat products or to locate an Ariat retailer nearest you, contact Ariat at 800-899-8141 or visit http://www.ariat.com.


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