Friday, May 02, 2014

'A Hard Day's Night' at the Old Dominion Endurance Ride - Full Article

Story and Photo by Priscilla Knight Williams, Contributing Writer

The sound of pounding hooves and bugle horns fills Piedmont’s countryside at foxhunts and steeplechase races. Dressage competitions and polo matches fill paddocks. And the memory of 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat setting records at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes fills every Virginia horse lover with pride.

Lesser known, but just as exhilarating to participants, is Virginia’s Old Dominion Endurance Ride. For 40 years every June, riders, friends, family, veterinarians, volunteers, and horses from across America have headed to remote areas in Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC), Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC), and Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) country to tackle mile after mile of rugged trail in the “O.D.” race.

The 2013 Old Dominion

Hundreds of people and horses gathered on Friday, June 7, 2013, at the O.D. basecamp nestled against a mountain in Orkney Springs, Va., near Bryce Resort. Jack Weber, O.D. president and SVEC member, welcomed everyone and went over race details with the 145 riders who entered the 100-mile, 50-mile, or 25-mile events.

Reveille at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday stirred participants in trailers, tents, and pens. As coffee percolated, 100-mile riders, including NOVEC member Natalie Muzzio of Clifton, Va., saddled their horses and strapped on their helmets for the 5:15 a.m. start. The 50-milers followed at 6:45 a.m., and the 25- milers took off at 8 a.m...

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