Wednesday, August 04, 2010

From Garrett's Desk | Making History

There are countless equestrian sports available to horse enthusiasts and different types of competitions within each discipline. From dressage to eventing, to cutting, to reining, to jumping, to driving and endurance to name a few. Each sport is exciting, competitive and invariably has its own event of significance within the discipline: like the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event for eventing, The Kentucky Derby for Thoroughbred racing and the Tevis Cup for endurance racing. These historical events define the sport segment. It’s where horsemen and horsewomen take their horses to measure them against the best.

The Tevis Cup 100-mile horse race is unquestionably one of the most difficult equine events in the world. It has a deep tradition and its 55 year history defines the sport of endurance racing. The challenging trail stretches from North Lake Tahoe in California to Auburn, California. Riders and equines climb over Emigrant Pass at nearly 9,000 feet; traverse canyons with swinging bridges and ride in temperatures that often climb over 100 degrees. Average completion rates run in the 50% range year after year after year.

The winning horse and rider team is presented with the “ Tevis Cup”. Winning ride times average 15 hours and the course record of 10:46 was set by Boyd Zontelli on Ruchcreek Hans. The list of Tevis Cup winners reads like a legends of the sport list and is an award that most endurance riders can hardly imagine.

Although many look at the Tevis Cup as the ultimate achievement in endurance racing, others argue that the Haggin Cup is more prestigious. Dr. Richard Barsaleau, a veterinarian who joined the race in 1961, was instrumental in creating this distinction, which he saw as an objective award that would recognize horsemanship, conditioning and respect for the health of the mounts. But it would also honor great performance. Starting in 1964 the top ten horses would be judged for the Haggin Cup. In her book, “The Tevis Cup: To Finish is to Win,” author Marnye Langer wrote: “Many people, especially noted horsemen, have come to regard the Haggin Cup as the most prestigious honor one can earn, and the award remains unique in both the sport of endurance and other equestrian pursuits as well.”


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