Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Poland: Wild Finish in Distance Equestrian Race

Heigo Rohtla with Jethro ( Photo: Külli Rohtla )

By Kristopher Rikken

A collision with a deer in the heat of competition did not keep Estonian equestrian Heigo Rohtla and his horse Jethro off the pedestal at an international endurance riding competition in Poland, although the freak accident may have spoiled a chance at first place.

Rohtla was knocked from the saddle but was unhurt, and he and his mount finished in third place, with a time of 6:34:42 over the 120 km distance - close to a personal speed record, said Rohtla.

The incident happened practically on the home stretch, when a doe emerged from the forest. Jethro and the wild animal collided literally head-on and Rohtla flew from the saddle. "It's a good thing it was a female," said Rohtla, expressing relief he was not impaled on antlers.

In a gesture of good sportsmanship, the second-place finisher Magdalena Prikrylova (Slovakia) held up until Rohtla was back in the saddle, earning her a fair play award.

Polish rider Krzysztof Czarnota and Wened won the event with a time of 6:29:13.

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