Sundre, AB - Auto body shop owner, Dave Getzinger of Drayton Valley, AB had the ride of his life in the 50-mile endurance competition at the Rocky Mountain Challenge - 2008 Canadian Nationals August 2, 2008 held at Red Deer River Ranches, Sundre, AB
The event requires riders to negotiate the 50 miles of Rocky Mountain foothills terrain in the fastest time all while being monitored at veterinarian manned checks along the way to ensure their horses' fitness to continue.
Getzinger, aboard his twelve year-old Arabian, Prince Charming and teammates, Nancy Haughian of Grande Prairie, AB riding Buckaroo Heart, and Karen Badger of Grande Prairie, AB riding eight year-old Anglo-Arabian Erna Moon claimed the team gold medal and Getzinger was also awarded the Endurance Riders of Alberta individual gold medal. Of twenty-nine starters, twenty crossed the finish line.
Getzinger considers himself a recreational competitor, busy raising a family; his first competition was in 1992 in the sport of competitive trail. He was excited to represent Alberta in his first National and first team competition.
"I knew I wanted to do well. I wanted to represent well." Says Getzinger. " My horse surprised me - I just sat back and enjoyed scenery. I didn’t feel as strong as my competition.” Says Getzinger who found himself humbled among a talented field.
"I just love to ride and love endurance. To come up that well was very satisfying."
Getzinger holds the team gold in high esteem. "By far -to win the team gold is more satisfying. When I came into the first check, still running with the leaders, I recall talking to the chef d’ equipe. We discussed staying with the leaders." It was a conscious decision to not run his horse harder than he felt capable to keep up with Karius and two Montana riders.
"To stay with them put me and my horse ahead of the team. I felt I would have been pulled and it would have been selfish and would have sacrificed the team. I believe I’m a team player and it was more important than team victories. My horse is my friend - I’m not going to hurt him for anything or anybody."
"The scenery, the beauty, the competition. I still think there was nothing about that ride I could complain about."
With the opportunity to compete among such a talented field, Getzinger also learned a great deal. It was also the first time someone crewed for him including veteran competitors Christy Janzen and Larry Handziuk who he credited with such great results. (crews are people who help care for the horse and rider when they arrive at checkpoints.) "It was very emotional -any club would rush to us. Taking care of the horse and us."
In all, Alberta claimed seven of the nine Canadian Championship medals during four days of competition. Over 170 riders from the United States and Canada took part.
The Canadian Nationals take place every two years alternating between eastern and western Canada. The first Nationals were held in Ontario in 1984.
Provincial teams are formed with riders nominating to their provincial organization.
Eight events took place over five days including International and Canadian National level rides as well as local level rides open to all level riders.
2008 Canadian Nationals in Competitive Trail, Endurance and Ride N’ Tie