The USA Endurance Team Left the USA on Thurs. August 23rd for Amsterdam, on their way to the European Open Championship in Portugal. Along with the horses for the trans-Europe trip were Jim Bryant Jr, DVM, rider Jan Worthington, rider Darolyn Butler and crew members Dewayne Brown,and Jeremy Reynolds. They were joined in Amsterdam by Gary - a crew member for Cheyl Van Deusen and the van driver Michael.
After a two night rest in Amsterdam, the group set out for Tours, France. One night there, then on to Spain. Days began at 3:00am, in order to take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the morning. Day three marked the teams' arrival in Lisbon, Portugal, and a short drive out to the ride site at Companhia das Lezirias. The facility is a beautiful ranch, complete with dressage rings, cross country and driving courses.
The terrain is much like south central Texas, rolling and arid. During the day, the horses are out in temporary paddocks, much the same as would be at an event in the US. At night, the horses go back to the stalls. Each day, the riders hand walk the horses and the horses are able to graze on the green grass along the edges of the rice paddies. The riders are able to take the horses out on what will be the start and finsh of the course.
THe course is fairly flat, with areas of deep sand and gravel. I think it is a bit harder than it appears at first glance. The climate is hot - mid 80's to 90s. The humidity is below 60%. The expected winning time is around 8 hours. First examination is Tuesday, the opening ceremony is Thursday, and the first inspection is Friday. The ride begins at 6:30 am on Saturday, which is 1:30 AM Saturday moring on the East Coast.
Darolyn Butler/ DJB Mercy Merci
Heather Reynolds/ Cal Flaming Emit
Cheryl Van Deusen/ DA Al Capone
Janice Worthington/ Molly’s Valiant Heart
submitted by Vonita Bowers, USA Chef d'Equipe. photos by Dewayne Brown
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