Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Horse honored for winning the triple crown you probably have never heard of

ABC News - Go here for Video and article, Heraldic and John Crandel

For many endurance athletes, the marathon or the Ironman in Hawaii rank as the pinnacle achievement; the ultimate sacrifice and accomplishment in endurance.

Now, imagine running four marathons (104.8 miles) or running nearly the entire length of an Ironman. That is exactly what one horse has done, several in one day times, to claim the top prizes in horse endurance races around the world.

Heraldic and his rider John Crandell are pretty friends since they spend 10 hours or so and a hundred miles together. They do endurance racing; a marathon for man and horse over long distance. So long, in fact, the horse is checked several times during a race to make sure he can continue. And surprisingly, this isn't something foreign to a horse.

"Their niche in the world is for this," explain John Crandell. "They can cover long distances in a short amount of time to migrate for survival."

And Heraldic may be the best in the world at endurance racing. Heraldic was the only horse to win the triple crown for endurance racing in 2006.

"In the 50 years of endurance racing, no one has had the same horse win the triple crown and we did it together," says Crandell. "Nobody has ever don that."

No only does the horse have to be share, but the rider does as well. The jockey has to be in the saddle for 100 or more miles.

However, in 2008 Heraldic suffered a life threatening injury to his back leg. What could equate to a professional football player blowing his knee out. And injury like that could end any horse's chances at the U.S. Triple Crown, which features The Preakness. However, Heraldic recovered and came back strong. He and John just took the silver medal in an endurance race in China.

To imagine how far that race was, imagine climbing on board a horse in Annapolis and racing all the way to the beach in just over 6 hours.

"It's all about doing these series of marathons and getting a perfect 'A' from the veterinarian to continue," says Crandell.

John and Heraldic will lead the U.S. team in the World Endurance Championships in England next summer. The championships will be held simultaneously with the 2012 Olympics in London.

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