Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kingwood Township equestrian is ready to compete in Chile - Full Article

Friday, September 16, 2011, 11:30 AM
By Hunterdon County Democrat

Meg Sleeper, a veterinarian from Kingwood Township, is at the top of her equestrian game.

She has been teetering between first and second in the nation, and was second in the world for a time as well. But international placements in endurance riding, where competitions are few and far between, tend to seesaw up and down.

Sleeper hopes to solidify her standing at the top of the pinnacle when she rides in the Pan American Games, Oct. 22, in Chile.

Sleeper competes in what could be considered the marathon of equestrian sports, endurance riding. It’s a long-distance horse race that covers up to 100 miles. In Chile the ride will be 75 miles and Sleeper says competitors will probably average 11 to 12 miles an hour to finish in six hours.

“It’s basically a canter the whole time,” she said, “over rolling terrain.” There are four or five veterinary checkpoints along the way to evaluate the condition of the horses. Conditioning is a key element of the discipline, and at a recent competition in North Carolina, Sleeper’s horse was awarded top-conditioned horse.

Cadie, Sleeper’s mount for the games, is an 8-year-old Arab mare that she bred herself at her Kingwood Township farm. She’s a petite gray that Sleeper says “is very opinionated. She feels that I should just be quiet and sit there, and she will make it happen. I like to be able to pace her, though. She can be very strong in the beginning.”

Training is a challenge for Sleeper, who is chief of the section of cardiology at University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a clinician and an associate professor as well as a researcher...

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