The 59th Annual Tevis Cup is set to kick off this weekend and is one of the most incredible displays of endurance athletes in the country. Are you ready?
Top photo of Pam Bailie and Macy during the 2011 Tevis Cup. Photo via the Tevis Cup Picasa photo album.
Can you imagine riding 100 miles in one day? ONE day? Neither can I. I may be an equestrian, but I’m not sure my old bones are cut out for more than a handful of hours of saddle time these days. Add in some tricky terrain and I’m sure I’d be done for.
Which is why I have loads of respect for endurance riders. They don’t call the sport endurance for nothing. These horses and riders are among the toughest out there, and the Tevis Cup puts this talent on display on the Western States Trail Ride.
The Tevis Cup is the oldest modern day endurance ride and is held annually. Begun in 1955, the ride has attracted some of the best endurance riders from around the world since its inception.
The course is 100 miles long, and riders are given a 24 hour window in which to complete their ride. The Tevis Cup trophy is awarded to the rider who completes the ride in the shortest amount of time and whose horse is judged as “fit to continue” upon completion.
Not only is the trail 100 miles long, but horse and rider must also deal with elevation changes. According to the Tevis Cup website, the ride was originally calculated to have 17,040 climbing feet and 21,970 descending feet. With changes having been made to the trail over time, the numbers have changed but are estimated to be roughly the same as before. That’s a whole lot of up and down — all the more reason to have a fighting fit horse and rider ready to tackle the trail.
After watching the video above, I’ve concluded that this ride simply must be added to my bucket list (to watch!), as it really looks like it would be extremely interesting to see how the horses and riders adapt to the terrain and intensity of the ride.
I mean, look at that! I tip my cap to you, Tevis riders.
Fleeceworks rider Pam Bailie has two top 20 finishes in the Tevis Cup to her name – not an easy feat when considering the sheer number of starters. On average, the Tevis Cup has had 180 starters each year for the past four years – to earn a finish anywhere near the top 20 is a feat in itself. Pam is also on the Governing Board for the Tevis Cup, so she brings much expertise to the table in organizing the ride each year.
What about equipment for the endurance horses? Fleeceworks has two particularly wonderful products that cater well to endurance riders: pads with Therawool technology as well as the Contour Sheepskin Pad (pictured below). Both of these pads provide options to ensure the horse’s comfort and ventilation during a demanding ride.
We’ll have more from Pam next week as well as a recap on the Tevis Cup 2014 — stay tuned for much more! In the meantime, if you’re interested in watching or volunteering at this year’s ride, check out the Tevis Cup website for more information.