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Re: [RC] 1908 Endurance Horse Race - Barbara McCrary

Was this the race that was the basis for the movie "Bite the Bullet"?
In the film, as I recall it, the purpose of the race was to see who could do the distance faster, the train or the horses. The end was quite comical to the endurance rider's eye, as the winning horse was wearing a heavy western saddle and was always shown galloping.  Yet when he crossed the rail line at the end, he was wheezing and wobbly (2 cc of Rompun) and covered with shaving cream on his flanks (of all places).  When the rider pulled the saddle, the horse was bone-dry under the saddle pad!  I laughed out loud in the theatre and many people turned around and glowered at me.  OOOPS.....
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 8:18 PM
Subject: [RC] 1908 Endurance Horse Race

In 1908 there was a 600 mile endurance ride (race?) from Evanston, Wyoming to Denver, Colorado, sponsored by the Denver Post. The purpose seemed to be to see which horses were better--hot bloods or cold bloods.  There were 15 cold bloods and 11 hot bloods. There were regular veterinarian check points and humane society officers at all of them.  Minimum time at them was one hour. They also had "Condition Awards"...the horse in the best condition of the top ten to finish.

Teddy, 1025 pound bronc, carrying 160 pounds, led most of the way. (He did the first 192 miles in 36 hours.)  However, giving him a run for his money was Sam, of unknown parentage, but a range horse.  Sam weighed 911 pounds and was carrying 193 pounds.  The race ended in a tie on the 7th day. Teddy and Sam were side by side.  The riders had enough respect for their mounts to not race them in. Little Sam, a smaller horse carrying much more weight, won the Condition Award and was considered the one most fit to continue if the ride were longer.

Only one hot blood finished, proving, according to the records, that the cold bloods were more fit for endurance than hot bloods.  Who knows how much hot blood ran in the range bred broncs?  But they all had heart which is the essence of an endurance horse, the one defining factor.

I thought it was interesting that over a century ago there were endurance rides with vet checks and Condition awards.

My information comes from the book
The Great Endurance Horse Race by Jack Schaefer.

Julie Suhr

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[RC] 1908 Endurance Horse Race, Marinera