Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cougar attack won't deter Tevis Cup ride - Full Article

July 19 2017
By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal

100-mile epic journey travels near where horse attacked

Snow – not a report of a mountain lion attack on a horse near the Western States Trail – are causing Tevis Cup officials concern enough to reroute the epic 100-mile ride.

With snow lingering in the high country, the Tevis Cup will go ahead as scheduled Aug. 5 but with a different start point at the Royal Gorge parking lot. The ride normally starts at the Robie Equestrian Park, south of Truckee, which is at a higher elevation.

The rerouting will help horses, which would have difficulty traveling through snowy terrain, to complete the journey to Auburn, Tevis Cup spokeswoman Jenni Smith said Thursday.

Mountain lion dangers for horses and riders along the trail are minimal, given the nature of cougars, Smith said.

“A mountain lion attacking a horse and rider on the trail is not a realistic risk,” Smith said. “With so many deer, to work up that much chutzpah … They’re smart. They’ll do the math.”

Smith’s comments come after Michigan Bluff resident John Wolfgram told the Journal that his horse was injured as it fought off a cougar attack that started in a corral next to his house. The fight for the horse’s life continued down a slope before the mountain lion departed. The house is about 100 yards from the Western States Trail. The trail is the route during a ride that attracts about a field of about 200 participants...

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