CS.Thehorse.com - Full Article
12 Aug 2016
Each year, some of the top endurance horses and riders in the country flock to California to try their hand at the Tevis Cup, a grueling 100-mile ride through the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s no easy task for the most well-conditioned equine athletes in the prime of life. But what really impresses me is that each year, a handful (or more!) riders bring older horses to compete at Tevis … and many of them do very well!
This year, as in past years, our roving reporter Marsha Hayes was on-site with photographer Ron Osborn to cover the ride for TheHorse.com. She kept tabs on the golden oldies during the ride, keeping a special eye on the oldest horse in the field: 25-year-old PL Mercury (or “Merc” for short), owned by Claire Godwin, DVM, and ridden by Lisa Bykowski, both of Laytonsville, Maryland.
Here’s what Marsha had to say:
Compared with Tevis 2015, the older equine population seemed to have chosen to stay home and skip the 100-mile challenge this year. Only six horses out of 165 equine entrants were listed at age 18 or older. And of those six, one completed the 100 miles within the allotted 24 hours to win a coveted Tevis belt buckle.
The oldest horse, PL Mercury, at age 25 was my favorite. I watched Merc and his pilot Lisa Bykowski cruise to 14th place at last year’s Tevis Cup.
Merc’s story this year ended differently at Mile 94 (just six miles from the end!) when his heart rate failed to drop to the required 64 beats per minute within the allotted 30 minutes...
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