May 7, 2011 ~ The trails of the Biltmore Challenge Endurance Ride CEI/CEIY are over the historic grounds of George Vanderbilt’s picturesque estate in Asheville, North Carolina where 150 entries took part in both the Open and FEI divisions. In the CEI 3*Hot Desert Knight ridden by Fazard Faryadi finished first in a ride time of 10:19:12. Meg Sleeper and Syrocco Cadence took second in 10:38:44, barely edging out Ceci Butler-Stasiuk and DJB KD Fantasia, who finished in 10:38:46. In the CEIY3* 160km, Kyle Gibbon was the only rider to finish, taking the win in 12:55:47.
In the CEI2* 120km, Valarie Kanavy and Reach for the Gold set the pace and won handily in a time of 7:14:56. Natalie Muzzio and Laconic were second in a time of 8:19:22 and Lithuanian rider Alisija Zabavska-Granger rounded out the top three. Kelsey Russell and My Wild Irish Gold came in for the win in the CEIY2* 120km in a time of 7:14:54, and hot on their heels was Cassandra Roberts with Destiny Gold, taking second in a time of 7:14:55. Coming in third was Steven Hay on Khalil Asam in 8:19:24.
The Biltmore mansion is the largest privately-owned home in the United States. The actual building of the mansion drawn by architect Richard Morris Hunt started in 1889, took 6 years to complete, is 175,000 square feet and features 250 rooms, 34 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. During the build out, the estate boasted its own brick factory, woodworking shop, and a three-mile railway spur for transporting materials to the site. The original estate covered 125,000 acres and had acres of gardens and parkland and a managed forest. Today’s estate, owned by the Biltmore Company, controlled by Vanderbilt descendants covers approximately 8,000 acres (32 km²) and is split in half by the French Broad River. George Vanderbilt brought his new bride, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser came to live at the estate.