Berlindailysun.com - Full Article
BERLIN—"It was a blast, blast, blast," said Susie Reinheimer, of Bowdoin, Maine. "I've never been on a ride that was so well marked."
Reinheimer and her husband, Dave, were recreational riders among the some 50 who took part in the 2012 Maynesboro Stud Memorial Ride Saturday, organized by Walter Nadeau of the Berlin/Coos County Historical Society and sponsored by many.
The event marked 100 years since W.R. Brown of the Brown Company started the Maynesboro Stud to breed Arabian horses, known then and now for their intelligence and endurance.
Reinheimer's remarks about the well-marked trail were echoed by others.
Some 13 signed up for the 50-mile endurance ride and 19 for the 25-mile endurance ride and nobody got lost—which is not all that unusual on endurance rides, according to some of the tales told by support crew as they waited for their horses and riders to finish.
The competitors in the American Endurance Ride Conference-sanctioned event included some of the top riders in the northeast.
Placing first in the 50 mile ride was a trio of expert women riders: Kathryn Downs, of Jefferson, Maine, riding her Arabian, Bey Gibby; Ruth Ferland, of Cornish, riding Jedidiah Blackguard, a half Arabian; and Sally White, of Marlboro, Vt., riding RSF Rusty, another half Arabian.
At the last hold, the women agreed to come in together, said Downs, because while the trail was well marked, it was "rocky."
"None of us can afford to trash a horse," she said.
Before anyone knew of their decision, the race finish was moved up the trail and parked cars were removed from the road at the end of the trail, for fear the racing horses would overshoot the road in their headlong dash to and past the finish.
But there was no headlong dash. The lead three riders finished at a slow pace, three abreast, holding hands—the rider in the center, Ferland, holding her reins in her teeth.
A crucial point of endurance rides is the condition of the horse. "Holds" are scheduled along a course. During these holds of 30 or 40 minutes, timed from when the horse's pulse rate drops to 60, the horse is checked by a veterinarian who observes a trotting test as well as testing heart rate and respiration, and watered and fed. In the trotting test, if the horse exhibits signs of uneven gait or refuses, the owner must withdraw.
"The horse is the athlete," remarked Downs at the first hold of Saturday's ride..."
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