Thursday, September 10, 2015

No horsing around on a marathon ride - Full Article

The Bakersfield Californian

Rider able to complete grueling event

You can do a lot in 24 hours. Go to work, get dinner, take a walk or, if it’s a particularly lazy weekend, go on a Netflix/ takeout binge. If you’re Marci Cunningham, though, you just might spend 24 hours on a horse, riding 100 miles west from Robie Park near Truckee to Auburn.

The long journey of the Western States Trail Foundation’s Tevis Cup, held once a year on the weekend closest to the July full moon, is a feat for any horse and rider. Starting at 5:15 a.m., the endurance ride covers valley and mountain terrains, with some paths wide enough to accommodate a few horses and others so narrow that only one at a time can pass through. Riders and horses go up rocky cliffs, skirt the edge of tall mountains and cross the American River.

Only about half of those who start the ride finish it. But Cunningham, who had finished once years before, was among the elite few, successfully completing the grueling endurance test with her 14-year-old Arabian horse, Fire Mt. Zoom (or Zoom, for short), in Auburn on Aug. 2. Placing 73rd of the 90 who completed the ride, Cunningham and Zoom trotted across the finish line at 4:33 a.m. (first-place winners typically cross around 10 p.m.)...

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