Friday, March 22, 2013

Endurance rider preparing for 2013 season - Full Article


Laramie endurance rider Bonnie Swiatek will be spending a lot of hours on horseback this summer.

Swiatek and Sky, her horse, will ride hundreds of miles together in endurance rides around the West. At 16, Sky is hitting her peak year for endurance riding, and Swiatek hopes to take advantage.

“This is her year. I’m pretty excited about that,” Swiatek said.

Endurance riding is an equestrian sport in which horse and rider compete in distances of up to 100 miles at a time. The winner crosses the line first while the horse must pass periodic veterinary checks to ensure its health and fitness. Riders must manage themselves, their horse, the weather and the trail, Swiatek said.

“Every ride is a little different. You can’t just bull your way through. If you ride fast and go fast all the time, your horse will break down,” she said.

Swiatek, 68, competes in a division called limited distance, where rides are 25-35 miles a day, with some events lasting several days.

In 2012, she was named the limited distance champion of the Mountain Region by the Mountain Region Endurance Riders for completing the most miles on a single horse. That honor came despite a fall in which she broke her collar bone and had to sit for six weeks...

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