Friday, July 17, 2009

Canada: Riders, horses put to the test

Hope Standard

photo: Denise Pascucci and her horse Aur Lanii participated in Merritt's Ride over the Rainbow endurance ride.
Brock Photography

Published: July 13, 2009 12:00 PM

On Saturday July 4th, four Hope riders saddled up for a 'Over the Rainbow Endurance' ride held just outside of Merritt.

The ride consisted of 3 divisions: a 30 mile, a 50 mile and a 100 mile ride over amazing countryside, pitting man and his horse against the forces of nature. All the Hope riders competed in the 30 mile division. It was a grueling hot day with temperatures reaching in the high 30. The riders left base camp at 7:30 a.m. to travel the first loop of the ride consisting of a distance of 15 miles. Riders must decide on what pace to travel at and keep their horses in top form while following the well marked trails back into base camp. Upon return, the horses are checked over by one of 4 vets on site and are held for a mandatory 45 min, break. After the break, they once again leave base camp and finish the second 15 mile loop, again at the pace decided upon by the rider, then return to camp where the horses are checked over again by the vets to make sure all is well. Hope rider Whitney Medley finished in 2nd place competing against 43 horses and riders. Rider Lee Pettit pulled from the race after the first half, when his horse Shilo was suffering from the extreme heat and he felt it was best to rest the horse instead of continuing on. First time rider Shelley Taylor on TRS Joe Cody placed 30th while companion rider Denise Pascucci on Aur Lanii place 31st and received the High Vet Score for the 30 mile riders. HVS is when the horse receives top marks from the vets in all categories such as good hydration, clear lung and heart and no lameness.

The weekend was great, filled with lots of friendly riders and a good sense of camaraderie. The ride marked the 20th anniversary of the Ride over the Rainbow and many great prizes were sponsored by the BCCTRA.

The riders will be attending the final endurance ride of the season in September being held in Westbank.

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