Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Canada: Rocking good time for riders

Hope Standard
Published: September 21, 2009 4:00 PM

Endurance Riders Association of British Columbia held its last endurance ride of the season on Saturday, Sept 12th in Westbank. The Westbank Rocker, as it is called, was attended by 70 riders, with three of them hailing from Hope.

Local riders Shelly Taylor, daughter Danielle and fellow rider Denise Pascucci, saddled up for the 22 mile ride through the telemark skiing trails of Crystal Mountain. Although billed as a 22 mile, the trails ended up amounting to 25 miles in total. After getting the all clear from the vets on Friday, all three horses settled in nicely for the night to prepare for the long haul the next day.

The first loop consisted of 16 miles of up and down terrain, a few good mud holes and some spectacular scenery overlooking Westbank and Okanagan Lake. With an 8 a.m. start, the trio completed the first loop by 10:15 a.m., vetted in to make sure all was well with the horses, had their mandatory 45 minute break, then headed out again at 11:35 a.m. The second loop of nine miles proved much more gruelling and technical, having to follow small trails, going through lots of mud and enduring several climbs.

Danielle Taylor, at the young age of 13, maneuvered her horse Sierra, like a seasoned pro, through the ever-changing terrain. The trio returned to base camp at 13:21 having completed the race in 4 hrs, 46 mins. With the final vet in, giving all three horses the clear, the race was complete, the horses unsaddled, fed and groomed and the riders happy with their results. Danielle placed 19th out of 32 riders and 6th place in the junior category, while mom, Shelly, placed 20th and Denise placed 18th overall.