July 29, 2022
The Western States Trail Foundation Board of Governors (WSTF BOG) joins the entire endurance community in grieving the accidents that occurred at this year’s Tevis Cup ride.
Three horses fell off the trail: one died of his injuries while two others required rescue. Ultimately one of those also died in veterinary care a few days after the ride.
We are committed to reducing the likelihood of future accidents and improving potential outcomes. To that end, we have identified two key areas on which to focus our time and resources.
• The WSTF BOG will work to improve emergency response with faster and more effective strategies. The horse-rescue teams WSTF contracts with will be on-site, stationed along the course and focused in areas identified as higher risk. We will also stage rescue equipment and provide veterinarian support to all rescue efforts. Our standard helicopter and ambulance infrastructure will continue to be on call.
• We will survey the trail and identify areas that are most in need of repair. Working with our partner, the Western States Endurance Run, and in cooperation with two primary agencies – Auburn State Recreational Area and the US Forest Service, we will review every foot from Last Chance to Francisco’s with the goal to improve the trail bed – widen it, stabilize the base, and remove obstacles as much as possible – specifically for horse safety. The higher risk areas will be prioritized and we’ll attempt to complete them as soon as possible.
As we continue to gather information on this year’s incidents, we realize that additional changes and recommendations/actions may be added to the above items. The Tevis Cup is an iconic ride like no other and – while there is an inherent risk to this trail, as there is to many others – we are committed to minimizing these incidents while at the same time being ready to respond as quickly, appropriately, and effectively as possible. Our goal is the best possible outcome should they occur.
We will keep our community updated as these changes are implemented, and as further actions are identified.