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Feb 16, 2010 (American News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- When the four Kimbler girls ride out for competition or a training run, their parents don't expect them to return any time soon.
The annual Kentucky Derby thoroughbred race in May is 1 miles long and takes about two minutes to complete. When Kelsey Kimbler, 17, won the North American Young Riders Endurance Ride in July, it took eight hours and 19 minutes and covered 75 miles. Both Kelsey and her older sister, Kirsten, 20, qualified for the long race in the Clark State Forest in Indiana.
Kelsey and Kirsten's younger sisters McCamey, 13, and Tessa, 10, also ride.
In the endurance race, Kelsey rode one of the family's horses named Blade, an 11-year-old gray purebred Arabian gelding that stands 15.3 hands high (a little more than 5 feet) at the shoulder. The Kimblers were riding in Canada when they spotted Blade.
"We had ridden together with Blade's owner and we'd seen the potential in him and bought him," said Kelsey. "The first year I got to know him, and this year we took off."
Served two purposes
The long ride combined competition and companionship for Kelsey. After Kirsten and her horse were not allowed to continue the race for medical reasons, Kelsey, a member of the Central Team, rode with Lindsey Bean of the East Team and Jennifer Stevens of the Mountain Team.