Again this year, the Western States Trail Foundation is sponsoring a cutting edge veterinary study on the horses doing the ride. Jerry Gillespie, DVM, professor/retired at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and his colleagues will be conducting a study of the level of dehydration in competing horses by following the weight loss in the horses during the ride. In addition this study will measure the transport dehydration of the horses traveling to the ride. This is an important aspect of this study because it will provide the absolute extent of dehydration of these exceptional athletes during the Tevis performance.
Dehydration, as measured by weight loss, is a critical factor affecting performance. Preliminary studies have shown that travel time to the ride and exertion in the early portion of the ride may represent a major portion of the weight loss. This year's study will examine that premise.
Dr. Gillespie is requesting that participating riders have their horses weighed prior to transport to the ride (home-stable weights). Riders can usually find a veterinary practice, livestock-sales scale or other facilities that can accurately weigh their horses in their neighborhood (within an hour's travel from their home stable). The Research Team will be prepared to collect “arrival weights” at at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn or at Robie Park within hours of your of your arrival at the Tevis venue. Then, all horses will be weighed at Robie Park after their vet exam, representing their ride starting weight. During the ride, horses will be weighed at Robinson Flat, Foresthill, at the finish, and the morning after.
The results of this study will provide riders with critical information regarding their travel plans to rides. The Western States Trail Foundation has as part of its mission the scientific study of horses in endurance competition. Much of what has been learned and published about equine endurance physiology was from studies conducted at the Tevis Ride.
We hope riders will participate enthusiastically in Dr. Gillespie's study. Those who fully participate (home weight through finish weight) will receive an amazing collection of thank you gifts, including;
• One entry into an exclusive drawing for a wireless hylofit heart monitor ($600+ value), donated by Hylofit
• A $10 gift certificate for the Tevis Store
• A photo plaque with an image from the ride, courtesy of the research team
• A beautiful commemorative map of the trail from Starfire Design Studio
In addition, Dr. Jamie Kerr will award $100 to the rider who provides the most thorough/informative log of their travel to the Tevis (along with home weight)!
Jeff Herten, MD
Chair, Tevis Veterinary Committee
More information at: