Friday, August 14, 2009

Capistrano Horses, Rider Finish 100-Mile Race

The Capistrano Dispatch

Vol.7, Issue 20, August 14-27, 2009
The Capistrano Dispatch

photo:Allan Horn is among the 87 riders who finished, after 169 start

Two San Juan Capistrano horses finished the grueling Tevis Cup 100-mile race in Auburn, Calif. on August 1. Capistrano residents Allan and Lauren Horn brought their two Arabian mares to Lake Tahoe to start the 100-mile race, which ends in Auburn.

The Western States Trail Foundation hosts the annual Tevis Cup race since 1955. It is world famous and is known as the toughest endurance ride in the world that covers 100 miles of treacherous trail with 22,000 feet of elevation descent and 17,000 feet of elevation climbs through narrow, steep canyons, mountains and river crossings. Horses and riders have 24 hours to complete the ride. The completion rate has historically hovered around 50 percent. Just to finish the ride is an accomplishment in itself and reflects the endurance motto, “To Finish Is To Win.”

Allan Horn rode his 13-year-old grey mare, Royal Sassha HP and Vista resident, Lynn Rigney rode Lauren’s 8-year-old mare, Red Hot Rosa to the finish line in just under 24 hours. They passed all the checkpoints and completed the ride. There are 13 checkpoints throughout the ride where veterinarians assess the condition of each horse before proceeding. Riders can be “pulled” at any point along the trail and most disappointing is to be pulled after crossing the finish line at the final vet check.
This years’ ride had 169 participants from six countries and 22 states. Only 87 riders completed the ride to earn a silver belt buckle. Allan said he did it for the meaning behind the buckle.

“It is a very prestigious ride and a very tough one for horse and rider. It says a lot about you as a rider and your horse. You need to come prepared and having done your homework. There is no margin for error on the trail.”

Because of the difficult trail, tragedy has beset the ride at various times in it’s history. This year a Maryland horse stumbled and slipped and went off the trail to his death. The rider, who was off at the time and leading his horse, was not hurt. Lauren said, “Personally, I don’t know if I ever want to attempt this ride. It’s too scary and too difficult for me. I knew my horse could do it and a friend wanted to ride, so I let her ride my horse. I crewed for Allan and Lynn and had a great time being part of the team and the fact that my horses completed the trail on their first attempt is reward enough for me.”

Lauren has a friend who has attempted Tevis seven previous times before and has not finished the ride. “This year was his year and he did it on his eighth try,” Lauren said. “Allan and I have been riding endurance for 12 years now, training on our local trails. Tevis has always been the ‘mother of all endurance rides’ and a goal of Allan’s. When you are gathering at the start a couple days ahead of time, there is a strong feeling of support and camaraderie. You truly wish everyone could experience a completion but you know in your head, only 50 percent will make it and be able to proudly wear the buckle. I’m so proud of my husband and our two horses. It really is an accomplishment.”

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