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RE: [RC] Presidents Cup: fast fast fast - Potato

Steph,.. This is an excellent over all synopsis.
However I still would like to know what happened to
rest of the US rides.
Well done.
Potato Richardson
Sliger Mine Ranch
Greenwood, California

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-----Original Message-----
From: ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:ridecamp-owner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Steph Teeter
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 9:19 AM
To: ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx; pner@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [RC] Presidents Cup: fast fast fast

Winning time was 7:20, for real. I didn't see the winning horse at the
finish, but at the last vet gate he looked very good - strong, lively. Truly
amazing. I look at the palaces and tree plantations and grand mosques and
super-highways and think: this is the best that money can buy. Well, I think
the same applies to their equine athletes. The UAE is able to purchase 'the
best' and from this pool they can then determine 'the very best' and voila,
you have a 7:20 100 mile winning time, with a horse that is most certainly
fit to continue. Plus the best trainers, the best training facilities, the
best veterinary care, the best farriers, etc, etc.

There was actually a pretty good showing by some off-continent riders as
well. I think that Virginie Simon, 11th place, was the top off-continent
horse/rider combo. Several of the other top finishing non-UAE riders rode
UAE horses. It's an enormous challenge to ship a horse during the winter to
a different continent, and ride a fast/flat race in summer temps.

It was very foggy at the start, and very dark. I had the great job of
following Leonard on the course (dune hopping at it's best :) and decided
that I'd let most of the rigs go before I joined the fray. It wasn't always
clear where the horses were allowed, and where the rigs were allowed, and it
was dark. So I tried to keep a set of tail-lights in sight and tried to
follow them as best I could. I did eventually realize though, that the
tail-lights I was following were most like just following the rig in front
of them, and since the true locals were probably already miles down the
road, this was a classic case of the blind leading the blind.... but it
worked. mostly. The fog was thick, and hung around till almost 10:00, cool
but very humid (water dripping off my hair). As the day dawned though and I
could actually see where I was going, I began to notice several rigs stuck
in the dunes in various positions. I think caution was a good call...

Leonard started after the pack, but set a good pace (around 18kph) and
maintained it most of the day. His horse had incredible recoveries, he'd
come in at a canter and within a minute or two would be in the 50's. But, at
120 km (around 75 miles) he was pulled for lameness. The vet clinice
couldn't pinpoint the source of lameness, we're thinking it's probably foot
related, but the ride was over. We had a chance to eat something, let Arazi
eat and relax, then packed up and went back to the barn. Leo's son (8 yrs)
had the classic line "all that, for that?" (in French).

None of the US riders finished. Heather's horse Master Mostion was
eliminated at VG2 for lameness (cramp), Valerie's horse at VG3 - metabolic,
and Alyx got sick and pulled herself. A little sad at the US camp...

I haven't really decided exactly how I feel about 'this' sport. It is so
very different from our local rides - it is so intense, so fast fast fast,
and without the challenges of varied terrain it is a very monotone event.
Right now, the UAE is setting the standard for endurance. In terms of speed,
training-conditioning, horse selection and competition. I believe they could
run circles around most of us, in any terrain, any ride, because
physiologically these horses are phenomenal... Because of this I find it
fascinating, and awesome. But there is a high price to pay. For every
success, there are 4 failures. The UAE can afford to buy and train more
horses, but can we? Do we really want to play in this yard? The obvious
answer is yes, because FEI is the elite - and our Federation - USEF- is
dedicated to competing successfully at the International level. Endurance at
the FEI level is generally acknowleged to be the ultimate competition in our
sport, and there are always many who aspire to being the best at their
endeavor. But, even though I would probably jump at the chance to compete
over here, there's a persistent feeling that it is folly. To attain those
speeds, one must start with a physiologically superior horse, and then train
very very hard, always one training ride away from 'one too many' and
ensuing soundness issues.  I think it might be better just to go and enjoy
the food...


The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse`s ears.
~  Arabian Proverb

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Prudence and focus will carry you a long way on a horse. 
~  Frank Solano

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[RC] Presidents Cup: fast fast fast, Steph Teeter