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Endurance.Net Home Uruguay: 2007 La Rocha CEI***160
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Rocha Paraíso Natural

La Paloma

Event Program (PDF)

2007 Rocha Internacional
Images by Steph Teeter

2007 Rocha CEI*** 160km


Uruguay Story - part I || Uruguay Story - part II (more to come...)

Beach 120km, 160km

Trail 120km, 160km

Vetgate scenes

Saturday Finishes


Sunday Trail (Cidinha Franzao)

Sunday Awards (Cidinha Franzao)
Uruguay to host 2009 Pan American Championship!
Results 160km CEI***
1 Claudio Silveira- Avestruz 09:21:01
2 Concepcion Fernandez- Halim 09:23:13
3 Alvaro Garcia- TBO Renegado 09:41:20
4 Mohd Shuaib Ishak (MAL)- Pescado 10:21:30
5 Ignacio Ospitaleche- Lyon's Malena 10:39:38
6 Clarisa De Wit. (GUA)- Horus 10:46:33
7 MD Rino Abd Rani (MAL)- Bilad Al Arab 11:07:47
8 Diego Ott- Baraka Sharjah 11:24:38
9 Juan Cruz- Caceres 11:34:36
10 Sofia Fernandez- Norteno 11:48:02
11 Flavia Fernandez- Count Spot 11:48:03

Results 120km CEI***
1 Hugo Mundo- Denenshak 05:42:30
2 Pedro Sosa- Merlin 05:49:16
3 Magdalena Odriozolo- Rio Negro 05:50:33
4 Gervacio Gari- Lugone 06:20:33
5 Pablo Perez- Moonlight Hab 06:20:34

Results 58km Promocinal (open)
1 Oreana Ricca- Buen Peon
2 Faustin Fort- Rania
3 Ana Sommer- King
4 Carolina Rose- Muneca
5 Teresa Sanchez- Napoleon
6 Diego Corbo- Peligrosa
7 Juan Manuel Blanco- Indeciso

Results 58km Caballo Joven 1 Valentin Silva- Patito
2 Pilar Hernandez- Invasora
Results 87km CEI**
1 Julio Machado- Batovi Dorado
1 Fabricio Folgar- Lady
3 Marcos Pereira- Beautty Boy
4 Joaqin Gambetta- AS Chala
5 Federico Garcia- EO Rawin
6 Gabriel Farias- TBO Faisan
7 Fernando Silva- Llamarada LP
8 Sofia Fernandez- Colegiala
9 Samuel Torres- Jazmin
10 Oscar Prieto- Soy Mas
11 Julio Olascoaga- LR Cicatriz
12 Lucia Olascoaga- EF Gun
13 Diego Sanchez- Preta

Results 87km CEI** Young Rider
1 Sofia Capurro- EL Raqqeb
2 Paula Saravia- Inocencia
3 Ignacio Ospitaleche- JQ Beauty Teruel
4 Juana Bacot- Estrella del Alma
5 Mark-Van der Ouw- Teinto Mentada

Results 87km CEI** Menor
1 Pablo Viana- Baraka Bint Shalimar
2 Santiago Viana- Baraka Karim

Results 56km CEI*
1 Alejandro Fernandez- Medallita JT
2 Federico Sodano- Lyon Rock
3 Camila Furtado- Melunuda
4 Ruben Da Silva- Nico LP
5 Pedro Sosa- EO Duyu
6 Luis Vigorito- EF Lord
7 Adrian Rodriquez- RO Horus
8 Javier Lasarte- Impa
9 Raul Ibarburu- Chaitan
10 Carolina Neves- Tin Tin
11 Sofia Garcia- El Pinta
12 Macarena De Soto- Crin Blanca

Results 56km CEI* Menor
1 Carmela Bacot- Sultan

Results 56km CEI* Young Rider
1 Simona Furtado- Lola
2 Diego Gimenez- Princesita
3 Rodrigo Suarez- Dora Del Alma
4 Richard Real- Regueton

Uruguay Story, Part 1

Well the ride is over. This is a lovely country! I only saw a bit of it- starting from the coastal town of Punta del Este and then a 100km drive east to Rocha - La Paloma. Beautiful rolling green countryside - eucalyptus trees, palm trees (the low scrubby type that is native here), poplar, lots of grasslands - cows, horses. Somehow I expected flat, like the Buenos Aires province of Argentina. And the people are very friendly, very easy going, down to earth. Punta del Este is a very modern resort town - gorgeous coastal scenery - rocky points, sandy beaches. Shops and restaurants, trendy stores. The 'Punta' - is a spit of land - narrowing to a rocky point where one can see the Atlantic Ocean to the south and east - with crashing waves and easterly winds, and the mouth of the Rio del Plata River to the north and west. The Rio del Plata River defines the border between Argentina and Uruguay - and is so wide at it's mouth that one can't see from side to side.

Martha Moya (Argentine veterinarian) took the same flight from Buenos Aries on Firday morning and were picked up at the airport by Ketty Friedman. Ketty is one of the few (only?) FEI 4* judges in S. America, and devoted to the sport of Endurance in Uruguay. She came from the world of jumping, but was recruited to be the Chef d'Equipe of the Uruguya team in the 1998 Dubai World Championship. The sport was still very young in Uruguay at that time (their first FEI Endurance ride was in 1997) and they wanted somebody who was familiar with FEI - rules and procedures - to help them take a team to the WEC. Since then Ketty has become principal in building the sport in Uruguay. Ketty took Martha and I to lunch at a cafe in Punta del Este - she loves the town, and lives there during most of the year, when the weather is good (it can get damp and cold and windy in the winter). We had 'chevito' - a very typical Uruguay food - a sliced steak sandwich with all variety of stuff (meats, cheese, olives, eggs, bacon, etc ) and a short tour of the town - little beachy shops, trendy galleries - very nice. It's not officially tourist season yet, so it was pretty quiet.

Ketty then drove us to the venue at La Paloma, taking us along the coastal route. Through the charming town of Jose Ignacio - an interesting town - quaint, picturesque, shops and restaurants in artsy style, fantastic beautiful coastline, and mostly owned by wealthy transplants from Argentina. We drove through rolling countryside - grassy fields, eucalyptus groves, coastal bluffs, small farms and villages, very pretty. We arrived at the venue late afternoon - the greens and golds of the little horse camp overlooking the ocean, combined with the smell of campfires and the hustle of preparations for the next day's race - very lovely. A wonderful first impression of Uruguay endurance. The officials and OC were doing last minute preparations and getting ready for the ride briefing.

The Malaysian contingent had already gone back to their hotel. They had vetted horses and were given a special briefing in English - all was ready for the 6 riders to start the race on 'lease with option to purchase' 160km horses. Grooms, owners, support crew, etc. The Malaysian government is funding an effort to qualify a team for the 2008 WEC. Malaysia is going to be allowed 12 starting riders, in keeping with the FEI 'host country' tradition. This will be the last WEC that will make this allowance though, future WEC's will allow host countries the same number as all other competing Federations.

Raja Mahmood Raja Hussein is spearheading the effort. Raja Mahmood is a member of the Malaysia National Federation, and chair of the Endurance discipline. The funding is coming from the Malaysia National Sports Institute, under the direction of Dato Dr. Ramlan Abdul Aziz. Also part of the team are Dr. Bashir Ahmad (project veterinarian) and Mohamad Din Mat, the Project Manager. Mahmood, Dr. Bashir and Mat Din are on a 'world' tour during the month of December - taking riders to rides in Uruguay, Chile and USA (New Mexico) in hopes of earning a CoC on a horse that can be purchased, and also touring the countryside looking at other horses for sale. The riders to travel on the horse tour are selected based upon Malaysia's ranking system - those riders with the highest points, a reflection of their ride achievement during the 2007 season. 15 riders (and 3 alternates) made the grade and will be on the quest for horses and CoC's.

Rueben Parra from Chile is their host while in S. America - making travel arrangements, horse tours, and arranging horses for the riders. I met up with Ruben and the Malaysian group later that evening for dinner. They all looked tired, but happy. It's a loonnnggg flight from Malaysia to Uruguay. But everybody was excited about the next day's ride, and excited to be here. Mohd Shuaib Ishak, MD Rino Abd Rani, Faizal B. Ismail, Abhamil Husain, and Daud Nik Sabarudin and Roslan B Osman would ride.

-more later -


Uruguay Story - Part II The history of Endurance in Uruguay is actually fairly complex - and quite interesting. They didn't begin Endurance as we know it until fairly recently. The 1998 Dubai WEC was the catalyst for FEI - International Endurance. With the introduction of FEI Endurance, Uruguay created their own Endurance organization - Asociacion Uruguaya De Enduro Ecuestre- commonly called 'AUDEE'. They developed a set of rules, similar to FEI's but with additional 'common sense' rules similar to USA's AERC rules. Until this time most of Uruguay's Endurance sport was the 'Raid' - a 100km (60 mile) race with one veterinary check (rest stop) in the middle. Speeds were typically very fast - 30+ km/hr were typical ride times. Crews would often drive along beside their horses (most of the races were along dirt roads, or on the grassy sides of paved roads) - crewing beside the horses as they ran, hosing the horses with water, etc. One rider told me of a very special horse that was a winning Raid horse - he would actually drink from a hose as he raced, and he would indicate to his crew that he wanted a drink as he was running! From what I hear this sport was pretty hard on horses - more than a few fatalities - but the result of decades of this type of race was a breed of 'Endurance Horse' - a mix of Arabian, Thoroughbred, Criollo and 'what not' blood. It didn't matter what the horse looked like, a pretty face didn't improve the speed, but it mattered very much how fast, and how sound the horse was. Rangy looking, strong backs and stout legs, high withers, thin necks, medium height, short loin coupling, smooth hips, fairly long croups - they look like racing machines.

Given this history, it is no wonder that Uruguay has become among the top performing countries - winner of Individual and Team Gold at the 2005 Pan American Championship, Silver Team and Individual Bronze at 2007 Pan American Championship, Individual Gold and Silver and Team Gold at World Championship for Young Riders... the list goes on. Uruguay horses are known for speed and toughness. (and maybe a little bit of wildness). The world has also discovered Uruguay, with USA (Kanavy) and UAE (Maktoum) owned training stables on the coast between Punta del Este and La Paloma... and sales of Uruguayan Endurance horses are big business.

And the people I met are very very passionate about their sport. It is a small group, but a very dedicated core of riders, trainers, officials and volunteers. Uruguay being a small country, it is no problem to drive from one side to another to attend a ride, so every ride is attended by more or less the same group of people. They have around 12 - 15 rides per year, and each ride will draw at least 100 entries. There are around 4 FEI rides each year, the rest are AUDEE rides. They have a points keeping system, and year end awards for several categories - overall senior, junior, young rider, mileage, best condition, etc, etc. The Raids are still being held, but Endurance is becoming more prevalent. (like many other places - the UAE driven market for horses is fueling the business - fueling the sport).

This ride was being staged at a new venue - the Club Hippico outside of La Paloma - perched on a hillside overlooking the ocean. A small cafe which worked double time (triple time) to keep up with all of the hungry people. This is the very beginning of tourist season, so most hotels are just barely opening, and places are not fully staffed yet. An old man in the back room of the cafe kept his asado coals hot, roasting beef and sausage, adding the smokey rustic smell of the place. Quite charming actually. The people here are very very friendly and patient.

Saturday would be the 120 and 160km events, and Sunday would have the 40 and 80km rides. All distances had FEI divisions, as well as open, as well as senior, junior (14-18) and young rider (16-21). Many families, quite a few kids. There are several big trainers in the area - EO (El Oasis), xx (need to get the name from the sticker) are two that come to mind. Generations of horsemen (and women).

Cidinha Franzao (Brazilian journalist) and I shared a hotel room at La Palma de Mallorca - a cute, aging, hotel set right on the beach - small cafe, swimming pool, humble rooms - and WiFi (go figure!) - it was actually delightful. And the first loops of the 120 and 160km rides went right along the beach. We slept in just a little, had a cup of coffee with first daylight, and stepped out onto the beach just in time to photograph the riders in morning light. Galloping and galloping - I rarely saw horses trot in these rides - rhythmically pounding the sand along the tidal waters, hands loose as the horses were allowed to gallop and seemed to easily find a fast efficient pace. The riding style of most of the Uruguay riders is very 'gaucho' - legs forward, back rounded, taking the rise and fall of the horse's backs in their lower back rather than seat bones. Not exactly classical riding position, but it looked natural, obviously this was the way they learned to ride and the riders looked like they could stick to anything. I saw several non-competition horses on the beach too (warming up for Sunday's ride) - bareback (just a pad) , barefoot, sandals in stirrups, relaxed and 'one with the horse'.

I took many many photos on the beach - truly enjoying the morning, the crashing waves, the galloping horses. It was hard to leave, but eventually we walked along the beach, a couple kilometers and then up over the dunes to the venue. Riders were coming and going, crewing ares set up, all the activity of an Endurance ride! I met up with the Malaysians - very organized, Mat Din and Mahmood and Dr. Bashir keeping track of everybody, everything, every horse. Paces were analyzed - trying to stick to a 15km/hr pace, placement DID NOT matter, only finishing with a ride time of 12km/hr or faster. One of the horses was eliminated fairly early but 5 horses were still in. Quite a few problems keeping shoes on... but eager and competent crewing. And a very friendly atmosphere. Mat Din is a very friendly fellow, always laughing and making others laugh. Even while concentrating very hard on the task at hand, he can keep those around him relaxed and in good spirits. It seemed that strong friendships were being formed between the riders and the local grooms and crews. There was no obvious tension - just focus and good energy and everybody working together. Riders were pleasant, willing, eager, trusting of their grooms. Grooms were efficient, friendly, eager... it was a very nice situation.

-more later -