Sunday, January 13, 2013

Memories of 3 World Championships (Part I) - Becky Hart - Full Article

This is taken from a talk I presented for Equine Affaire and I will cover it in 3 parts. I hope you will please feel free to ask questions in the comments. The sport of endurance is one I never get tired talking about.

After 30 years in the sport, I am still never happier than starting a ride on a good horse. Tonight I share my enthusiasm by revisiting some WC’s in the hopes that you too will see what is possible and that you continue to enjoy this sport to its utmost.

Although I have competed on over 34 different horses, the very best of them was R.O. Grand Sultan, aka “Rio”. Without Rio, I would not be standing here before you. This talk, in a way, is a tribute to him. The first video in the background is of the endurance race at the World Equestrian Games in Sweden, 1990. The second is the WC in Spain in 1992 – the last 30 minutes.You will see when Rio crosses the finish line, his attitude and character. When the horse loves the sport as much as the rider, they give each other the determination and courage to go on.

Riding at an international level requires not only a great horse and a good rider, but, an entire team, working together. Together the horse, rider, crew, veterinarian and farrier work to develop a top athlete. To win at a top level everything must be perfect. The crew must know exactly what their duties are and have rehearsed them to achieve maximum efficiency. For example, in Spain, I never saw my crew during the day. One evening I asked them “ What are you guys doing all day?” They explained that they not only knew how to get to reach of the 6 vet checks, they knew 3 other alternate routes for each one, in case, for any reason, the road was blocked. When I come into a vet check I have my breast-collar unhooked, any extra water in bottles is poured on the horse, my rider card is out, ready to had over. My crew has the saddle off, ice boots on, horse offered water and on the way to the vet box within seconds of my arrival...

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