Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kentucky Cup: Weather shortens endurance ride
McGunigal wins in cold and mud

By Jennie Rees • • October 14, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Danielle McGunigal, a former world champion in endurance riding, has competed in conditions as challenging as the cold, daylong rain and mud that defined Wednesday's Kentucky Cup Endurance competition at the Kentucky Horse Park.

But having that experience doesn't mean slogging 75 miles — shortened from the scheduled 100 because of safety concerns — on horseback in 40-degree weather wearing thin riding pants and not much more than lightweight rain gear is just another day at the office.

“No,” said McGunigal, from Fort Valley, Va., who won the world championship in 1996. “It still sucks.”

This from a competitor who was, at the time, second halfway through the competition, which served as a test event for next year's Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

“I'm thinking this is more fun than I can stand,” she joked while eating Ramen noodles and getting a neck message before going out on the third of the four loops that wound up constituting the race. “I'm thinking those dressage people have it good. They're a lot smarter than me.”

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