Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cathy Rohm: A thing for the ponies

SF Gate - San Francisco Chronicle
Sam Whiting
Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cathy Rohm is a legal assistant who likes to get out and ride. Thirty or 40 miles will do for Rohm, who is 59 and lives in Greenwood (El Dorado County).

Why: Endurance riding involves beautiful trails where, for the most part, there's no one else but you and your horse for miles and miles and miles. If you're a horse lover, there is absolutely no better way to "become one" with your horse.

Greatest accomplishment: Winning the Tevis Cup (100-Miles-One-Day Trail Ride) in 2005. It's the world's oldest and toughest endurance ride, going from Tahoe to Auburn. We start at 5:15 a.m., and the first rider comes into Auburn around midnight, or a bit before.

Gear you can't live without: My purebred Arabian gelding, Sicily 1A. He'll be 16 on Tevis day, Aug. 1. They take good care of themselves and are catlike when negotiating the narrow, steep trails on which we ride.

Where you train: The single-track trails of the American River Canyon, sometimes trailering to Foresthill, Michigan Bluff or Auburn for a ride home.

Time you get up in the morning: 5:30 a.m.

Best time to train: Whenever you have at least two hours to dedicate to riding, and this includes time grooming and tacking your horse.

Most annoying thing people assume about athletes in your sport: That we're somehow "cruel" to our horses, riding them for hours at a stretch. With mandatory, thorough vet checks at even the shortest rides, the horses are extremely well monitored, and we spend tons of money on supplements and feed.

Advice you'd give a rookie: Get a mentor and begin with limited-distance rides, which are 25 to 30 miles, and move up in distance (50s and 100s) only when you and your horse are ready.


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