By Dan Reidel
MAGALIA >> Three and a half years of practice and failure paid off for JayaMae Gregory when she rode Asali, her Missouri fox trotter horse, across the finish line at the Tevis Cup in Auburn early Sunday morning.
Gregory and Asali finished the 100-mile endurance race 66th out of the 107 teams that finished. A total of 186 began the race at Robie Equestrian Park near Truckee and ended at Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. Asali was the second Missouri fox trotter to complete the 100-mile race since 1979, and the other Missouri fox trotter completed the ride in 2011 when the 100 miles were shortened because the toughest canyons were clogged with snow.
Last year, Gregory attempted the Tevis Cup, but fell short when she and Asali were about 20 minutes late to the 55-mile checkpoint.
"It was right after the most difficult canyon, Devil's Thumb Canyon," Gregory said. "It was extremely hot. She pooped out on me."
Gregory walked the horse through the canyon, but they were a little too late to keep going.
"This year, I still did almost the entire thing on foot," Gregory said of tackling the Devil's Thumb. "But she let me tail her this year. With tailing, I grabbed her tail and she pulled me right out of that canyon."
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