Sunday, July 08, 2012

Endurance riding ‘To finish is to win’ - Full Article

Written by By Dick Mason The Observer July 06, 2012

ELGIN — This Elgin equestrian is more concerned with the pace of her horses’s pulse than the speed of his gait.

Meet Vicki Nickels, an Elgin endurance rider with more than 25 25-to-50 mile endurance rides to her credit and a record which is gaining sparkle.

Nickels recently placed fifth in the first day competition at the Eagle (Idaho) Spring Fling 50-mile endurance ride. She also received a coveted complement — Ruger, her Morgan-Arabian mix, was rated by the ride’s veterinarian as the best in terms of physical condition of any of the nine horses ridden at the Eagle Spring Fling.

“To me that was more important than coming in first,’’ Nickels said.

Endurance ride participants must have their horses checked by veterinarians five times in the course of a 50-mile event — at the start and finish and three times during the ride. The horses’ heart rates, hydration levels, leg condition and much more are closely checked by veterinarians. When veterinarians determine that a horse is not fit to continue, riders are asked to pull their horse from the competition.

“It is all about the animal,’’ Nickels said. “There is no shame in pulling out...’’

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