May 4, 2013, Asheville, North Carolina ~ Nicki Meuten riding Not Tonight, aka, Nellie, has won the 160k ride and Best Condition (BC) at this historic event in the time of 9:59:03. Her finish time bettered the last two years finish by almost an hour. (2012 winning 160km ride time was 10:53:19; 2010 winning 160km ride time was 10:19:12) Nicola Gilbert, riding Cleopatrah came in 2nd by 16 minutes.
Don & Nicki Meuten, veterinarians by trade and avid endurance riders, are doubly proud, as their home-bred, FYF Dutch (LS Zand Grey x Lateef Zeda) with Young Rider, Sara Jack onboard, was first and also took BC in the 120km. Sarah Jack is working to qualify to ride in the FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) to be held July 17-21, 2013, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
Meuten’s Winning Strategy
Dawn Osborne, Don Meuten and Sarah’s father, Blaine, crewed the Meuten horses. From Don Meuten: “They came in together off of their separate loops at the last check for (120km) 75s, second to last check for (160km)100s. Both got through great, Nellie out 1-2 minutes in front of FYF Dutch, so we decided that Nicki would just keep up a steady trot to wait for Sarah and Dutch. We told Sarah just to take off (after her release time); to catch Nicki and Nellie was a piece of cake. Dutch can handle it; he is a 100- miler too.”
Sarah was instructed to cross her vet check finish line, let her dad get her finish slip, and then go find Nicki and Nellie, and ride with them to her finish. Great plan, but it cost Nellie and Nicki about 10 mins.
“We went from similar out times with two excellent Reynold’s horses to eight minutes back,” said Nicki.
“We knew Jeremy would keep pushing; he would not back off,” said Don. “Then buzzard eye Nicki noticed that both Reynolds horses had rechecks; then we saw only one Reynold’s horse go out. Now that they only had one horse to run, there would be no pulling one another along”.
Nicki said,”The rules just changed.” Nellie loves the hills of Biltmore and Nicki knows the course. At this point, Nicki made up 20 minutes on the front-runner in the last 13 mile loop. “Our main goal was to complete and get a COC time, if weather cooperated,” Nicki admitted. “But Nellie felt great, so I let her run. The mare felt strong all day.”
“The weather held great for horses but was miserable for crews, and of course crew is the key, and we had the best in Dawn Osborne and Blaine Jack, Sarah’s, father,” continued Don.
The story of the name, Not Tonight (McZoulou x FF Carrera) is really simple, according to Don. “Truth be told, two vets (Nicki and Don) looked at the mare in the evening and agreed she was not ready to foal, not tonight. We went to bed and the next morning when I went to feed, there is this chocolate-brown filly bumping her momma’s butt and hocks in the mud and drizzle.” That was 11 years ago to the day of her 2013 Biltmore win of May 4 (the Meutens missed Biltmore that year due to the foaling).
According to ride manager, Cheryl Newman, even though footing was not affected on the trail, the rain swollen French Broad river had overflowed the camping areas by the end of the 160k race. “The lead 100-milers made it in before dark, and before the serious rain. But most of the 100-milers got drenched, with all but one finishing by around 1am. That last rider gutted it out, leaving on the 15-mile last loop around midnight, and slogging through increasingly unstable footing to complete around 4:30am.”
160km rider loops, all holds in base camp
|White – River||14.9||14.9||40|
Winners in each category:
78 riders started/63 completions
Young Rider: Rae Shumate-Tysor riding Super Sonnic. Time 5:18:35
Senior: Amy Wallace Whelan riding Mahummad Shazam. Time 5:52:58
44 riders started/35 completions
Young Rider: Sarah Jack riding FYF Dutch. Time 8:21:58
Senior: Jennifer Townes riding Best of Kin PW. Time 8:21:58
29 riders started/19 completed
Senior: Nicki Meuten riding Not Tonight (Mc Zoulou x FF Carrera). Time 9:59:0
Full FEI finish:[gview file=”http://www.horsereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/2013-FEIaerc-100.pdf” save=”1″]
More information: http://www.biltmoreendurance.com/