He bought me a ticket to the Dressage Finals on October 1st so I can watch my idols ride. I am so excited!! I know I'll be tired because I'll be coming back from an 11 day road trip for work and going straight from the airport to the arena but I don't care! Matt has a photo credential (we could only get one) so he'll be there too.
Also, my husband received a call from his cousin who lives in California. Turns out that his step daughter was selected to ride on the U.S. Endurance Team!! Matt and I know very little about endurance riding except that it's one of the FEI competitions at WEG.
We are learning quickly! The riders compete in a 100 mile race that will have several vet checks. The winner of the race is the rider who crosses the finish line first AND the horse recovers as "fit to continue" the fastest in the vet check. Wikipedia has a great explanation (considerably better and more concise than what I could write) of the competition - Click Here to Read.
Matt contacted his cousin's step-daughter and we met up with the team at an undisclosed location near the Kentucky Horse Park. They were training at this farm.
Without further ado, let me introduce to you the U.S. Endurance Team!
The riders are Lindsay Graham, riding the chestnut with a big blaze named Monk; Jan Worthington, the oldest athlete at the World Equestrian Games at the tender age of 70; Heather Reynolds who rides a pretty gray arabian; Ellen Rapp who also rides a pretty gray arabian and she's wearing a black shirt in my photos; and Meg Sleeper who has a beautiful bay arabian. Debra Reich is the alternate selected for the team. She is wearing a yellow shirt in my photos.
I aspire to be as active as Jan Worthington at her age
The team was working out across the hills of central Kentucky and galloping around the pastures. It looked like a ton of fun!
The team has a strategy for cooling out their horses as fast as possible and they practice that as well.
At the end of their training session, the horses are cooled out the same way they are cooled out in competition and their heart rates are monitored just as they will be in the vet checks during the competition.
It was fascinating to watch and you can see how the horse and riders communicate with one another. It's obviously important for the rider to know her horse well and be in tune so that they maintain a pace for the long race.
One of the things that stuck out most to me was how lean the horses are kept. Once I realized that these horses are the marathon runners of the equestrian world then I understood their being lean. I bet these horses could eat a lot and they would still be lean! They certainly can keep on going like the energizer bunny.
The Endurance Competition is on Sunday, September 26th. I highly recommend going if you can. Regrettably, my work schedule has me out of town but we will be cheering for Lindsay and her team mates that day!
GO TEAM USA!