Friday, August 29, 2014

Postcard: Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Endurance - Full Article

Time for a field trip from Caen to a beautiful and quaint section of France about 90 minutes away in Sartilly, where the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games endurance race was held.

By Nancy Jaffer | Aug 28, 2014

August 28, 2014 -- I didn't go to the WEG endurance championship for the competition; I went for the scenary. The drawing card was being able to photograph horses against the backdrop of Mont Saint-Michel, one of France's most famous landmarks. It's an eighth-century island fortress, a little more than a half-mile off the coast, topped by a monastery and an abbey. Below them are shops, restaurants and housing for the 44 residents.

Truth be told, the commercial area is basically a tourist trap, but the structure is so lovely that it is wonderful to look at, especially from a distance, where its statuesque beauty really can be appreciated.

Two loops of the endurance race were run on and near the beach, with Mont Saint-Michel as a backdrop. People turned out to see the horses canter across the sand, just a few feet from them. It was cool to look up on the dunes and see that someone brought several horses to watch.

The endurance mounts provided a contrast to the painstaking turnout of the dressage horses I've been writing about for the last three days. It ranges from scrappy to utilitarian, with tack to match. This is no pleasure ride; they're going 100 miles and doing it fast to get the medals. Unlike the dressage warmbloods, these horses are mostly Arabians or half-Arabs, without an extra ounce of fat on them. Some, frankly, look skinny.

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