Wednesday, June 05, 2013

To finish is to win - Full Article

Wednesday 22 May 2013
To finish is to win

By Holly Thomas for Tri-State Livestock News

Rays of sun falling over sandstone cliffs painted with ancient petroglyphs were welcomed by riders on the morning of the Medicine Lodge Endurance Ride, held at Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site State Park, near Hyattville, WY, on May 11 and 12. Sunrise had arrived and the race would soon begin. Last minute preparations were made and helmets were screwed on tight. The tension in the air from hot, anxious horses and riders was not unlike a barrel race or roping, but the end goal on competitors’ minds was very different: not “beat her time” or “rope that steer,” but simply, “finish.”

The sport of endurance riding has a very long history and trying to pick out a birth place or date for the sport could be difficult to pin down. An article in The Chronicle of the Horse referenced Pony Express riders and the U.S. Cavalry as early and necessary endurance rides (“World Equestrian Games: Endurance,” by Coree Reuter, 8/1/2010); but as years went by, this type of necessary riding was no longer called for. Then, in 1955, an avid rider named Wendell Robie and some of his friends proved doubting spectators wrong as he rode the 100-mile trail from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, CA in a single day. This accomplishment started a spark in the hearts of long-distance riders and The Tevis Cup was born. Later, in 1972, the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) was founded and began setting down rules and sanctioning events across the country. Since then, the sport has had its ups and downs, but according to many riders is back on the upswing – whether that can be attributed to Viggo Mortensen and “Hidalgo” is questionable – but the fact is that interest and attendance are up!...

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