Thursday, January 30, 2014

Getting Ready for the Games: Endurance - Full Article

What does it take to prepare for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy? A top endurance rider shares her story.
By Leslie Potter | January 29, 2014

This spring will be an exciting time for the top equestrian competitors as they work to earn a spot at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM 2014 in Normandy, France. The Games will take place from Aug. 23-Sept. 7 and feature the world's best riders and drivers in eight different disciplines. Reaching this level of competition takes more than just practice. These competitors have to manage their horses' nutrition, conditioning and overall well-being in order to be ready for the challenge ahead.

Heather Reynolds and her husband, Jeremy, train endurance horses at Reynolds Racing in Dunnellon, Fla. Between the two of them, the Reynolds have four Tevis Cup wins, multiple national championship wins and best condition awards and team and individual golds from the North American Endurance Championships. Heather was the first American rider to cross the finish line at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 in Lexington, Ky. Currently, they have six horses—all purebred Arabians—that they are bringing along as prospective competitors for Normandy.

Miles of Training
Endurance horses at the Games compete in a 100-mile race, and the winning teams will finish in approximately seven hours. That kind of sustained effort requires careful conditioning, but Reynolds explains that they don't log as many training hours as people might think.

"Our horses work six days a week," she says. "We ride them three days and the other three they're on the EuroXciser [a type of hot walker]. When they're in top training, they're probably doing a total of 70 miles a week between the EuroXciser and riding..."

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