Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Endurance horse race to ride into Springer

February 6
By Todd Wildermuth
for The Raton Range

RATON, New Mexico (STPNS) --
Springer will host a myriad of horse riders and their mounts later this year as they gallop along the Santa Fe Trail competing in a 10-day, 500-mile endurance ride from Santa Fe to Missouri.

The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race is scheduled to take place Sept. 3-15, which includes some non-riding “days off,” the New Mexico Sports Authority announced Jan. 30. The event has been in the planning stages for a couple years or more.

The first two days of the race will take riders from Santa Fe to Las Vegas, N.M., and then to Springer, where the town plans to provide a meal — a barbecue has been talked about — and perhaps other accommodations or events. Town officials are still in the process of planning for the race’s stopover.

The race — which features riders using multiple horses during the trek — has already received entries from about 50 teams, from a variety of states, including four entries from New Mexico. A team consists of one or more riders and support people, but the overall winner will be a single rider who rides all 10 riding days, using a variety of horses. Organizers are hoping to get 100 entries.

The riders will complete the specified distance for each day then stop and spend the night at the “race village.” Each rider’s time will be recorded, and accumulated. The rider with the shortest time overall will be declared the winner.

The race village will cover about 30 acres and move each morning as the race progresses. The village will have things such as veterinarian tent, water and hay distribution points, food and merchandise vendors, dining tent, first-aid station, farriers, and trash dumpsters.

The riders and horses are scheduled to come into Springer Sept. 3, Labor Day, after completing the 68-mile journey from Las Vegas along the historic route of the Santa Fe Trail. The next morning, they head to Clayton.

“One of the main objectives of the race is to educate the public not only on the national historic Santa Fe Trail, but also to introduce the sport of endurance riding to thousands,” according to the race website (
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