Thursday, January 18, 2007

Arizona: Endurance ride comes to town

Equestrians from the Western United States will converge on Wickenburg Friday, Jan. 26 and stay through Sunday, Jan. 28.

The Land of the Sun Endurance Ride is sanctioned by the A.E.R.C. and sponsored by the Wickenburg Horsemen's Association. It has gained a reputation for being one of the finest endurance rides in the Southwest, thanks in part to the many volunteers and sponsors from the Wickenburg area. While the Wickenburg Horsemen's Association does not generate a profit from the event, it does help protect and preserve many of the equestrian trails in the area.

Equestrians will choose between a 25-mile and 50-mile course. In past years, top riders complete the 25-mile course in a little more than two hours and the 50-mile course in about four and a half hours. The top horses are typically Arabians. To ensure the safety of the horses, five veterinarians are stationed at rest stops to evaluate the condition of each horse before they are allowed to continue.

Last year the completion rate was about 75 percent, but this will vary with weather conditions. To win, the horse must not only cross the finish line first, but must also pass a veterinary examination.

In 2006, Morristown resident Maurene Serrano placed first in 25 miles and Wickenburg resident Bob Lowe placed second in the 50-mile race and also received the Best Condition Horse Award. Top finishers receive a buckle sponsored by a local merchant. For many riders, to finish is to win.

For more information about the ride, contact ride manager Nancy Halsey at 684-3415.

No comments: