Thursday, May 31, 2012

Biltmore Endurance Race – We Went, We Conquered! Blog - Full Story

by Misha Green
May 30 2012

HJU Endurance Blogger Misha Green discovered the crazy sport of endurance a number of years ago when her sister-in-law began competing in events all over Ontario.

She just completed her first FEI Event and sends us this report.

You can read her other articles here.

Thanks for sharing your sport with us, Misha!

The Biltmore Endurance Race was an experience I will never forget. From start to finish the entire experience far exceeded my expectations. The Canadian contingent made history with all but one of us completing our chosen distances and doing so at the top of the leaderboards!

We arrived at The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina early on Wednesday May 2 after spending a night at McConathy Farms in Lexington, Kentucky. We set up “Camp Canada” with all of the other trailers bearing Canadian riders and horses.

On Wednesday afternoon, we all saddled up and headed out for a short ride to stretch legs and muscles and to explore some of the trail we would be racing in a few days time.

Thursday morning and Friday morning were also reserved for quiet rides to stretch legs and explore trail. Unfortunately, Emma Webb and I got lost on Thursday morning and ended up riding across the front lawn of Biltmore House!

Thursday afternoon, we toured the Biltmore Winery and explored some of the public areas of Biltmore House. We ran out of time to actually do the tour of the house but have promised ourselves to ensure that we take advantage of that tour next year.

Friday afternoon was reserved for vetting in our horses and for the ride talk. Vagas vetted through with all A’s and was declared ready to rock and roll in his first 50 mile FEI ride!...

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just Coe Crazy Ride, Henry Coe Park, Gilroy - Linda Cowles


I’m still trying to ride 50’s and only getting 25 miles, but I’m having a great time anyway. The older I get (I’m 58) the less important the destination becomes and the more important the journey is.

25’s may be my thing, or Gabby’s thing. My heart wants to do 50’s, but my horse seems to be better at 25’s so thank you to everyone that holds them. I really want to ride the Grand Canyon ride in September, so…. I’m still trying. Would love multiday LD’s… I heard a rumor that someone I admire called them the Luxury Distance and… that really appeals to me!

Recap: my 19YO Gavilan (aka Gabby) and I took a 12 year vacation from endurance following our successful completion of the 2000 Swanton 100. I was laid off from my cushy high tech business development gig and essentially reinvented myself so that I didn’t need to work in that world; I now trim horses for a living and love it. Earlier this year I started getting back into endurance with > 1000 miles (mostly 50’s) behind me and it’s been a journey in itself.

We rode Lost Padres, day 1, it was hot and humid, and Gabby was determined to Top Ten (he forgot how hard 50’s were), so we pulled at the lunch vet. John Park was a wonderful riding companion on Remington for this first half of the ride, Gabby took in Remington’s sage advice, the ride was beautiful, camp was great and Ann Nicholson cooked a great meal for us, so we had a blast in spite of the lunch pull.  We rode the LD the next day, Gab was very good and finished well.

Cache Creek LD  was another extremely well planned & managed ride, and it was also extremely hot,  but we had a great ride and again, Gab finished well.

So for Henry Coe State Park ? I knew that tough park intimately and so did Gabby…. We used to live 10 miles away and, when he was a colt, I would ride Shatirr there and either pony Gab or turn him loose to follow along behind us. I was also a member of their Mounted Patrol for several years. I had essentially 3 25 rides behind me and quite a bit of conditioning, so I opted to ride the 50 because it went through Los Cruceros, a junction of creeks deep in the park that is one of my favorite places on earth…. This huge park has almost been closed several times and part of the reason Lori was offering the ride was as a fund raiser to help keep it open. I am a huge fan of Coe Park and want to try and host a few camping trips there if I can pull it off.

Henry Coe Park is a great ride even if you only ride the LD for conditioning and take your time to enjoy the views!. This is one of the few times we have access to the park for horse camping out of this location…. It is WONDERFUL conditioning…

Gab did something to his right hind somewhere between the 1st vet and lunch, and while it was minor, there was no question about me pulling him. He looked great when he was turned out in his pasture yesterday, but he’s 19 and I don’t want to screw him up….

The Barbeque was great – delicious tri tip steak and salad. Thanks Lori for a great ride! I hope you offer it again next year because I’ll be back. Thanks to Maryben for making me laugh at the lunch vet check… always great to see friends!

My hero’s are ride managers….
Linda Cowles

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mt. Adams Endurance Ride - Cascade Gold Blog

Cascadegold Blog - Full Story

MONDAY, MAY 21, 2012

Monica and I went down to the Mt. Adams endurance ride this past weekend. This is a great ride – about 6 hours away, nice camping, just about perfect trails and views to kill for. We got there Friday night, got settled in and vetted and went for a short ride. My ankles were not happy, so we didn’t go far. We did some visiting around camp and then turned in for our early start the next day. We met Lisa Preston, who was there with her young Teke-Arab filly for her first LD ride. There was one other Teke cross there with Mona Thacker. Her Shiraz has been competing for quite a few years and has been racking up the miles.

Saturday morning dawned and we got ready. The weather was perfect – 60ish and sunny. Our plan was that I’d start behind the leaders and go fast, to save my ankles, and Monica and Danny would meander out later. As this is only his 3rd ride, she’s being very conservative (and rightly so). So, we waited until the majority of the 75 (yes, 75 riders in the 25 mile ride) went out. We walked out of camp after a bit of excitement – someone’s horse decided to warm itself up just as we were walking to the start line. They caught it after a few minutes and then we walked out on a loose rein. As soon as we got to the woods (there was about a half mile of pavement to walk on) we started our trot and passed and passed and passed people. Galen LOVES to pass other horses. We finished our first loop of 13 miles in around 1 ½ hours and vetted through just fine. We only had a short hold, so we went back to the camper and got resupplied and a bite to eat.

We headed out on our second loop and met Monica and Danny coming in as we went out. The horses felt that we should stand around and talk about it, but a small amount of ‘persuasion’ and Galen and I were off. This next loop was 12 miles...

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Biltmore - Heather Reynolds - Full Story

Thursday, 10 May 2012

This blog should have gone out several days ago but I am just now starting to feel human again as far as sleep deprivation goes! On Wed May 2 we loaded up our 7 horses plus our friend Bob's horse to head to the Biltmore. The eight horses got on the trailer around 8:30 pm. Our plan was to drive thru the night to avoid the heat and humidity.

The reason we had so many horses was because we would be continuing from the Biltmore to our summer training that would take place in Durango CO. Ever tried packing for 5 horses and riders to do an FEI race and then also packing for the entire summer training with a trip abroad with potentially two horses flying??? A little bit of work.

The drive was uneventful. Rachel Shackelford had flown out to FL to help us drive to NC for the Biltmore. She was also going to help us with the crazy drive from NC to CO! What a hero!! I love her!!

We arrived Thursday with the two trailers, 3 dogs, 3 people and 8 horses around 10 am. We were in Zombie mode for sure! When we arrived several friends jumped in to help us get water and feed for the horses. This is when Bob's horse went with Bob. We then headed to town to go to breakfast. Melody and Chad went with and we had a great time. After this we went back to camp to get things organized. Jeremy booted a few horses while Rachel and I tried to stay awake.

For dinner we went to a BB-Q at our friends Lynn and Mark Ashby's camp. Very nice and fun catching up. Lynn and Mark are who we got A Kutt Above, Merlin (the chihuahua), Cleopatrah and An Honest Crook from. It was super fun because Merlin's mom, brother and niece were there! The Chihuahua's had a blast. We were party poopers and headed to bed super early, go figure!!.

Friday, Garrett Ford came to camp, he had landed at some unreal time in the wee hours of the am, I think Friday at 3:30 am or something! Jeremy and he went for a run. Rachel and I went to the Biltmore hotel and had breakfast with Elaine and Guy Lemeiux. These are our friends that we bought our newest horse, Honor, from. I think we had a lot more fun than the boys! Barbara also arrived later in the afternoon on Friday.

The rest of Friday was spent getting things set up, vetting, then pre riding, followed by the ride meeting. Then another early bedtime.

Saturday Jeremy and Stirgess started their ride at 6 am, Rachel and I were 30 mins later, followed by Garrett and Barbara another 30 mins later. The start of the race went very well for Rachel and I, both horses were traveling well and were relaxed. Our goal was to get Riverwatch aka Marvel his final qualification for the London World Championship and get Cleo through her first 2*...

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Foxcatcher Endurance Results - Full Story

MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012

I'm a little late on results - sorry!

Foxcatcher Saturday was bright and sunny for the first time in a few years. And DRY. Which, for Foxcatcher, is absolutely amazing. We had 64 starters in the 25 mile ride, and 85 starters in the 50 mile ride, plus three ride and tie teams. To make things more exciting, we also ran an FEI 1* ride in the 50 miler, in which 7 riders participated. And the 50 mile ride was also the Arabian Horse Association Region 15 50 Mile Championship, in which 7 riders participated.

The 25 Mile ride started at 7AM. The riders completed a 15 mile loop, came in to base camp for a 40 minute hold and vet inspection, and then went back out for a 10 mile loop. The first riders finished around 10:15 or so. The 25 mile riders finish on their pulse time, not when they cross the finish line. This is to discourage riders from riding their horses too fast at the end. Those who have horses with a faster pulse recovery will have a better finish time than those whose horses take longer to recover. The winner of the 25 mile ride was Steven Hay riding Gotcha Covered PW, with a ride time of 2 hours 42 minutes (ride time does not include the 40 minutes of hold time). Delanie Kite, finishing in a tie for fifth place, was the first finishing Junior rider (juniors are under 16 years and have to ride with a sponsor). Out of our 64 starting riders, 54 completed the ride. Congrats!

The 50 mile riders also started at 7AM. They completed a 25 mile loop first, with a 10 minute "stop" part way through the loop to give the horses a little breather. After a 40 minute hold and vet exam, they went out for a 15 mile loop. Another 40 minute hold and vet exam followed, and then one last 10 mile loop. The first riders completed a little after 1PM.

Sandra Fretelliere (riding Tikis Twistyr) and Carmine Villani (riding TEF Sunflash) raced to the finish, with Sandra just edging out Carmine for the win. The 50 mile riders finish at the time they cross the finish line, so there is sometimes a race to the finish. All riders, however, must meet pulse criteria within a specified time after finishing, or risk being eliminated from the ride...

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