Renegadehorseboot.com - Full Article
JULY 26, 2012 BY NEWS EDITOR
It is just over one week away from the “Western States Trail Ride,” most commonly referred to as the “Tevis Cup Ride,” or simply, “the Tevis.” The Tevis is the world’s oldest modern endurance ride, first held in 1955, and is also considered “the world’s best-known and most difficult equestrian endurance ride.” The Tevis is officially sanctioned by the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference.)
Riders have 24 hours to travel the 100-mile course: from the starting point near the shores of Lake Tahoe, just outside of Truckee, CA, across the rugged Sierra Nevadas, to the finishing point in Auburn, CA. Riders must finish with a horse that is deemed “fit to continue” by a team of veterinarians.
Horses must also pass a number of thorough vet-checks held at multiple locations along the trail, some of which also include mandatory rest periods, before being allowed to continue. They are checked for their pulse and respiration, metabolics including hydration and gut function, and a trot-out to evaluate attitude, way of going, and to check for any unsoundness.
The trail can take its toll: historically, only about 50% of those who start the ride will cross the finish line. Horses and riders both have to contend with the mountain trail that is both physically and mentally demanding. The trail itself is rugged, traversing the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountain range. The footing is often extremely rocky, with parts of the trail going through sections of granite rock wilderness. Other parts of the trail travel along hard-packed forest service roads, and even on paved streets through the small towns of Michigan Bluff and Foresthill.
In the last number of years, anywhere from 175-200 horses have started the ride each year: both horse and rider have to be able to contend with the excitement and chaos of that many horses at the start. The ride is held in July or August, as close to the full moon as possible. Summer temperatures soar as the ride descends towards lower elevations, and it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach triple digits within the canyons in the middle of the day.
Riders who cross the finish line with a horse that is deemed “fit to continue” (just as it sounds: the horse should be metabolically and physically sound and able to continue on; a horse who is lame at the finish or is presenting a metabolic issue will not be awarded a completion) are awarded one of the coveted silver completion buckles.
In addition, several other awards are presented:
The Tevis Cup is awarded to the first-place finisher who finished with the fastest time and a horse still “fit to continue.”
The Haggin Cup is the “Best Condition” awarded to the horse finishing in the Top Ten placings who is judged by a team of veterinarians to be “in the most superior physical condition.”
The Josephine Stedem Scripps Foundation Cup recognizes all of the junior riders who complete each year...
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