TheCityPaperBogota.com - Full Article
June 27, 2016
Cristina Mutis chuckles at the fact she never made it to her Sweet 16 party, prom, and high school graduation. While other teenagers were busily picking out dresses and sashes, the young endurance horse racer was harvesting trophies at prestigious equestrian events across South America.
Cristina, fondly known as “Tata,” is Colombia’s ambassador of a high-intensity sport. Although this country has specialized riding clubs and many serious amateurs, few have traveled so far on horseback and risen to the challenge of long-distance endurance. For those who know horses – and Cristina grew up surrounded by them – endurance is far more than an outdoor riding experience, but an extreme challenge in which horse and rider must cover rugged terrain of 80, 120, and 160km. The endurance features rigorous veterinarian checkpoints in order to ensure the welfare of the horses.
Horses average a speed of approximately 20 kpm, and regardless of weather conditions and the trail, riders and horses are subject to the same physical and mental challenge in a competition that can last more than 24 hours. At the finish-line exam, horses are once again carefully examined in order to receive a completion certificate and placing. Exhaustion and stress are common obstacles that can lead to elimination from a race.
Cristina has never known a day in which she has not mounted a horse nor been in a stable caring for one. On her family’s farm in the hills near Bogotá she learned about nutrition and how to psychologically bond with the animals.
A childhood passion turned into a professional career for Cristina and riding required her to undergo home schooling. Even though her parents unconditionally supported her ambition to ride in equestrian events across the hemisphere, the process that led to en- durance began with a “good horse” and hours-upon-hours of training...
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