Monday, January 30, 2006

Home Away From Home

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ARTICLE: Home Away From Home

You've decided to hit the road with your horse for a competition, overnight trail ride, or a pack trip. You'll spend the night snug in your trailer's berth, but where will your horse stay? Regardless of the event or destination, successfully and safely ...

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Mohammed lifts junior Doha title

BAHRAINI rider Mohammed Abdulsamad notched the juniors title while Shaikh Salman bin Saqer Al Khalifa finished second in the seniors at the second GCC Endurance Championship held yesterday in Doha.

More than 80 riders from the GCC took part in this one-day event which was over 120 kms and divided into five stages.

Mohammed, the Royal Endurance Team member, steered Callan Stardancer to win the race in six hours 13 minutes 15 seconds ahead of Qatari favourite Abdulla Al Marri (6:16:35) who settled for second position on Pasha.

The Bahraini team riders dominated the juniors section winning the third, fourth and sixth positions through Mohammed Abdulaziz, Jaffer Mirza and Salem Al Otaibi respectively.

In the seniors race, Shaikh Salman was runner up on Bedouin De Piboul, three seconds behind Qatari winner Ata Mohammed who was riding Dou Park Brolga. Shaikh Salman's mount also won the best 'health status' award.

Fahad Al Athba of Qatar finished third, Misfir Al Hajri of Qatar fourth and Bahrain's Yousef Taher fifth on Majhool Al Shaqab.

The event was held under the patronage of Endurance Committee head at the Qatari Equestrian and Endurance Association Shaikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani who honoured the winners at the prize-distribution ceremony.

Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation first vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who headed the delegation to Doha, congratulated the winners and praised their performance at the race.

"The Bahraini team members proved how much they have gained through their participation at many championships at regional and international levels such as last year's GCC Championship in Doha and the Shaikh Fahad Al Ahmed Race in Kuwait," said Shaikh Khalid.

He also said the Bahraini delegation had a comfortable stay in Doha and that the championship was a great success. Shaikh Khalid also lauded the abilities of the Qatari Equestrian and Endurance Association in providing the facilities and services for the participants.

Results (in order of country, horse, total time):

Juniors: 1 Mohammed Abdulsamad (Bahrain, Callan Stardancer, 6:13:15), 2 Abdulla Al Marri (Qatar, Pasha, 6:16:35), 3 Abdulla Al Khateri (Bahrain, Nekir Des Vernes, 6:30:46), 4 Mohammed Abdulaziz (Bahrain, Dirham El Oumzil, 6:43:13), 5 Jaffer Mirza (Bahrain, Muniki, 6:48:07), 6 Salem Al Otaibi (Bahrain, Al Fahd, 6:54:56).

Seniors: 1 Ata Mohammed (Qatar, Dou Park Brolga, 6:04:41), 2 Shaikh Salman bin Saqer Al Khalifa (Bahrain, Bedouin De Piboul, 6:04:44), 3 Fahad Al Athba (Qatar, Tequila, 6:09:55), 4 Mesfer Al Hajri (Qatar, Redah, 6:12:03), 5 Yousif Taher (Bahrain, Majhool Al Shaqab, 6:26:34), 6 Abdulhaq Qadouri (Bahrain, Farhoze De Paute, 6:26:36).

GCC: Endurance victory is hailed

Endurance victory is hailed

The Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa yesterday made a phone call to Breef vice-president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa and congratulated him on the Royal Endurance Team's excellent performance in the GCC Championship held in Doha, Qatar.

Shaikh Nasser added that this achievement consolidated the abilities of Bahraini riders in future regional and international contests.

Qatar: Gulfcoast GCC: Beer edges out Saqer for title

Beer edges out Saqer for titlePublished: Monday, 30 January, 2006, 09:06 AM Doha Time

Ata Mohammed Beer edged out Sheikh Salman bin Saqer al-Khalifa by a whisker while claiming the top honours in the senior category of the Qatar GCC Open Endurance Ride held at the Endurance Village at Mesaieed, Sealine on Saturday.
Ata Mohammed astride Dou Park Brolga, a pure Arabian 11 year old chestnut horse, finished the gruelling 120 km race in 6hrs04min41 secs while Sheikh Saqer riding Bedouin De Pibpul was just a shade behind completing the race in 6hrs 04min 44secs. Fahad Hamad al-Athba atop the 11-year-old Anglo-Arab chestnut horse Tequila took the third place ahead of Mesfer Fahad al-Hajri astride Redah. The former finished with a timing of 6hrs09min.55secs, while the latter took a time of 6hrs12min.03secs.
In the junior category, Royal Endurance Team of Bahrain?s Mohammed Abdulsamad astride Callan Stardancer was a clear winner with a smart timing of 6hrs13min.15secs. Abdullah Towaim al-Marri riding Pasha was 3min.20secs behind in second, while Abdulla al-Khatri took the third place clocking a time of 6hrs 30min.46secs.
Abdulsamad riding the 10-year-old chestnut horse was lying 15th and then ninth at the end of the first and second vet gates, but improved to fourth in the third and made up enough time to finish first after the fourth and fifith stages to emerge champion.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bahrain endurance team for Doha race

BAHRAIN's national endurance team will head for Doha today to compete in the 120-km GCC Endurance Championship scheduled for tomorrow.

The team comprise of 12 riders selected by the Bahrain Royal Equestrian and Endurance Federation (Breef) based on their performances this season.

Six riders will be taking part in the seniors race and six in the junior section.

Shaikh Salman bin Saqer Al Khalifa will be leading the Bahraini team in the seniors race while Yousef Taher, Fahad Ismail, Jaber Al Dossary, Ahmed Al Ruwaie and Abdulhaq Qadoori are the other riders in this section.

Abdulaziz Adam, Salem Al Otaibi, Fahad Abdulaziz, Mohammed Abdulsamad, Abdulla Al Khatery and Jaffer Mirza will be taking part in the junior event.

Bahrain, who hosted the Gulf Energy World Junior Endurance Championship in December, are one of the favourites to win this event which carries a cash prize fund of BD50,000.

The championship is divided into five stages with the first two stages to be held over 30 kms each. The third stage will be over 25 kms, the fourth over 20 kms and the fifth will consist of 15 kms.

Dr Khalid Ahmed will accompany the team as manager.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Aachen: UK - Skye's the limit for Kirsty

25 January 2006
KIRSTY WISCOMBe and her nine-year-old horse Crimson Skye have been longlisted for the World Equestrian Games Endurance team.

The games will be held in Aachen, Germany in August and Kirsty is also hoping to get another of her horses, Jake V, qualified via a ride abroad in the spring.

Kirsty competes her team of Yawl Hill Endurance Horses from her Lyme Regis base, helped this year by 14-year-old Jodie Jenkins, a pupil at Axe Valley School. There are eight horses, Kirsty concentrating on international rides on the three advanced horses, three intermediates and two novices which Jodie will ride."

US: Leesburg Endurance

Riders gather in Cravens for two-day competition

By WILL TUBBS/Staff Writer

CRAVENS - More than 40 avid horse riders took to the trail Saturday and Sunday for an American Endurance Ride Conference two-day, endurance-riding competition. Inclement weather and frigid conditions were just some of the problems these riders faced.

The riders took to the trail in early morning hours Saturday in the biting cold and with the threat of rain.


US: Leesburg Endurance

Riders gather in Cravens for two-day competition

By WILL TUBBS/Staff Writer

CRAVENS - More than 40 avid horse riders took to the trail Saturday and Sunday for an American Endurance Ride Conference two-day, endurance-riding competition. Inclement weather and frigid conditions were just some of the problems these riders faced.

The riders took to the trail in early morning hours Saturday in the biting cold and with the threat of rain.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stirrup Memories: Los Gatos horse riders travel the happy trails

Photograph by George Sakkestad
Los Gatos resident Barry Waitte has come a long way since his days as a vice president at Apple Computer. These days, Waitte spends most of his time preparing for and competing in endurance horse races.

By Kaustuv Basu

Barry Waitte was about as far away from the wide open spaces as anyone could be when he went to work for a brand-new computer company back in the 1980s.

Silicon Valley was just being born when Waitte was among Apple Computer's first 1,000 employees more than two decades ago. He was a member of the sales and marketing team and rose through the ranks to become a corporate vice president.

His saddle was a desk chair, and as he rode it each day he would look out on cubicles and computers with Interstate 280 looming on the horizon.

These days, though, it's a very different ride for Waitte. The Los Gatos resident has given up his desk for a horse, and the corporate world for those wide open spaces. Waitte is a champion in endurance horse racing.

The horse bug

Barry Waitte first got acquainted with horses at the Cooper-Garrod farms in Saratoga. It helped, of course, that his wife Carol had grown up with horses.

Around the same time that Waitte was getting to know horses, he befriended Godfrey and Suzanne Sullivan. The Sullivans, who live in Saratoga, are crazy about horses. The Waitte family was about to join that club. And it was no ordinary club.

The Sullivans and the Waittes are part of a select group that competes in endurance horse racing. What that means is that they take part in a race where horse and rider have to cover anywhere from 25 to 100 miles, usually under grueling conditions and a very strict set of rules.

The toughest race in this category is called the Tevis Cup, a 100-mile race from near Lake Tahoe to Auburn.

As a way of introducing Waitte to the sport, the Sullivans asked him to be part of the crew during that race. Waitte was instantly smitten. "It hit me like a rock. I knew at that point that this is what I wanted to do," he says.

As friends of Waitte will tell you, he does not like to do things halfway. He loves wine, so he bought a winery in Napa. He has worked in the technology industry; now he is a venture capitalist who finances start-ups. So it followed logically that if he wanted to be part of the endurance racing world, he would have to buy a ranch--a real ranch with horses in it.

That's just what he did.

"I was driving by Hicks Road one day, and I see this place up in the Los Gatos mountains for sale," Waitte says. The moment he laid his eyes on the huge expanse of property, he knew he wanted to own it.

But there was a problem. The place was a dump. It had been neglected for years. "This place is kind of hidden. It was like a slum before. We had to remove 40 Dumpsters of trash," Waitte says.

The ranch

The trash has long disappeared from the Hicks Road property. Waitte now calls the place Hicks Creek Ranch. And like any true ranch, it smells of horses. In fact, Waitte owns 12 horses.

Here, on a few acres carved out in the hills, he has brought together a small community of horse lovers.

There is Heather Reynolds, a champion endurance rider who trains all of the horses at the ranch. Her husband, Jeremy Reynolds, is a farrier, who ensures that the thoroughbreds at the stable have been outfitted with the correct horseshoes. "It's one of the most important jobs in the business," Waitte says.

But there's more.

Waitte also has a veterinarian living on the property. As he explains, that is one of the most important jobs in the business, too. "Many a time, we've knocked on the vet's door in the middle of the night when one of our horses is not doing so well," Waitte says.

Hicks Creek Ranch is one of the best facilities for horses in the area, according to Waitte.

On a typical day, the horses can be seen in their stalls, munching on food. Some have blankets wrapped around them, others are wearing masks to keep off the flies. By all accounts, this is an expensive sport.

The horses are on a very strict diet of yeast, corn, safflower oil, magnesium and different kinds of vitamins, among other things.

In a nearby shed, where the food for the horses are kept, there are all kinds of feed charts with the names of the horses on them. "We also feed them beet pulp and rice bran," Waitte says.

The ranch has a contraption called the Euro Sizer, a fenced-off chute used to exercise the horses. A maximum of five horses are allowed inside at one time, and they are made to canter around at a desired pace with the help of a computer program.

"For endurance racing, we don't start training the horses until they are 5 because their bodies haven't stopped developing," he says. "When they're about a 7 1/2, we unleash them."

Training for endurance racing is a bit like training for a marathon, according to Waitte. "They are worked every day but ridden three times a week. We hike in the hills and also take them to the beach," he says.

For Waitte, this is a far cry from his life in the high-tech industry.

"I was one of the first thousand employees at Apple Computers," says Waitte. By the time he left Apple Inc. in 1994, he had become one of its vice presidents.

Waitte then went on to work for a digital design company. He finally retired in 1999. "I haven't worked for a company since, though I'm a venture capitalist now," he says. Soon after he retired, he was bitten by the endurance racing bug.

The endurance race

Carol Waitte grew up with horses when she lived in central Washington state. "I was part of the Bay Area's tech industry," she says. But like her husband, she too decided to opt for a less frenetic lifestyle. Because of their friendship with the Sullivans, both of them soon started spending a lot of time with horses.

Endurance racing started in the United States in 1955 with a race called the Tevis Cup that is widely recognized as one of the most difficult in the business.

Waitte says that there are more than 7,000 active riders in the country right now. Most of the horses that take part in these races are Arabians.

Typically, a 100-mile race is expected to be completed by a horse within a deadline of 24 hours. "During the ride, the horses and riders are subject to strict rules concerning the safety of the horse," Waitte says.

A veterinary exam, known as a vet check, takes place every 20 miles or so. "Horses that do not pass the test are pulled from the ride," says Waitte. "Typically the winners in a 100-mile race take about 10 hours to finish the race. For some competitions, it can go up to 15."

The last major competition that the Hicks Creek Ranch team participated in was in Elkton, Md., last October. The North American Endurance Championship is one of the biggest races in the world. The Pacific South Team--comprised of three members from Los Gatos and three from other areas of California--won the gold medal in the team event.

Heather Reynolds, who was part of the Pacific South team, is one of the biggest names in the business. She has more than 30 wins, including a first place in the Tevis Cup.

"I spend a lot of hours riding on the trail. The trick is to remember that each horse is different. There is no perfect horse," says Reynolds. Endurance racing has taken her to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates as well as the Mojave Desert.

"It can be a lonely sport. You can go for hours without seeing anyone," says Waitte.

"It's not an easy sport. But once you do it, it can be very addictive," adds Carol.

As for the horses, they get a four-week break after taking part in a 100-mile race. Waitte, of course, is always preparing for the next big race. His sights are now firmly set on the World Cup, which will be held in Germany later this year.

It's a far cry from those days when he was riding off into the sunset each day--stuck in commuter traffic on his drive home from Apple Computer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Terengganu To Host 2008 World Endurance Championship

January 16, 2006 19:26 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 (Bernama) -- Thirty-five countries are expected to take part in the Federation of Equestre Internationale (FEI) World Endurance Championship at the International Endurance Centre at Lembah Bidong, Merang, Terengganu in August 2008.

Sultan Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin in announcing this here Monday said this prestigious championship would be participated by riders from Europe, West Asia, United States, Asia, South America, Australia and Malaysia.

The Sultan, who would also be participating, said Malaysia would be sending 12 riders who would be selected by the Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM).

"I will personally make my own preparation by participating in several championships within and outside the country over the next two years," His Highness told a press conference after a handing over ceremony of the FEI recognition letter to Yayasan DiRaja Sultan Mizan as the championship organiser.

The letter was handed over by FEI Endurance Committee President Dr Hallvard Sommtersiuh.

Sultan Mizan said the national riders selected would undergo training and exposures in several domestic competitions as well as abroad.

"We have a lot of experienced and potential riders who could carve their name in this endurance event. For example, Datuk Awang Kamaruddin was once the world number one rider in 2001 and last year in Dubai, some of our riders managed to finish the race eventhough they were in the 30th group," the Sultan said.

Terengganu was selected as the host since Sultan Mizan had been personally active in the sport.

The Endurance Sports Centre which cost RM20 million featured a 160-km endurance circuit besides a stable of international standard and an equestrian hospital.


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