December 18, 2011~The Goeth Challenge Endurance Ride, the last FEI ride of 2011, was also the first ride of the 2012 United States Equestrian Federation year. Held at the Goethe State Forest west of Ocala, Florida, the December 17 competition included 80,120 & 160k divisions. Many endurance trainers from the cold north are taking their winter barns to this area to condition and compete in the temperate Florida climate.
160K CEI 3*
On a day that saw temperatures at 75F (24C), 21 horse/riders took the trail in the 160K, 9 riding in the FEI Division. Ride Camp was located at the nearby Black Prong Equestrian Center.
Taking a break from her training position in Qatar, Ellen Olson took home the winning time and Best Condition on the Shagya, SA Belshazzar (Bayram x Jay El Tongafarah ox), in the 160 CEI3* with a ride time of 9:33 and an average speed of 16.80kph.
“Zar had a fantastic day,” said Olson. “This year he is the strongest yet of his career. We were near the front all day. Darolyn Butler and Valary Kanavy were in front positions as well. The trail was deep sand and very concussive road. There was actually a big turnout for each distance, over 100 riders for a one day ride.”
Number two in was Alisija Zabavska-Granger riding for Lithuania on Dixieland Dude. They finished over an hour after the leader with a ride time of 10:46. Five FEI riders finished in the first five, number three being Stephen Rojek on Beaujolais in a ride time of 10:59 alongside stablemate, Soho, ridden by Kyle Gibbon. Last of the FEI riders to complete, number five was Cheryl Van Deusen on Precious Beaunita in 11:51. Kanavy on LM Parys was eliminated on loop four for lameness and Butler on DJB Santanas Chief was eliminated for metabolics. Six more Open riders completed, the last with a ride time of 15:20.
Helen Koehler, the president of Goethe Trail Inc., remarked about the 50 percent completion rate of the ride: “Some riders thought it might be easy because Florida is relatively flat, but they did not account for the toll taken on the horse by going through sand.”
Heather Reynolds riding nine year old, TA Tiran (Algonkwin x Tiranda) finished first in the 120K 2* with a smooth six hour ride. To get Best Condition in her first competition after relocating the Reynolds Racing winter barn to Florida was a huge plus. Canada’s snow bird, Robert Gielen, finished only two minutes behind Reynolds on FC Galaxy, while Meg Sleeper on Syrcocco Harmony finished eight minutes later. The twenty-six riders that started included 11 in the FEI category which had a completion rate of 73%. Reynolds talked about her third loop on the trail: “Loop three was 10 miles. We rode with the lead group for the whole loop. Tiran was the first to recover so I had a few minutes lead. It was about 75 degrees out and decently high humidity. Tiran was doing great. I didn’t have crew to meet me for cooling so I would strip my saddle while the in – timer wrote on my card, throw the saddle down and then run on foot with Tiran to our crew area and pour two buckets on Tiran and then he would be down.
120 2* FEI Results:
1. Heather Reynolds, TA Tiran RT, 6:00; 2. Robert Gielen, (CAN)FC Galaxy, RT, 6:02 ; 3. Meg Sleeper, Syrocco Harmony, RT, 6:10;
4. Kim Orr, FYF Dutch; 5. Nicki Meuten, Cashin In; 6. Lynn Kenelly, Fury; 7. Amy Atkins, Magical Mikada; 8. Mustafa Tehrani, (IND)Mister K, RT, 9:02
Jaber Al Marri of Qatar, riding in the Open came in with Tehrani. This was Al Marri’s first visit to the United States.
The 80k 1* had forty-five riders start, eleven of them riding FEI, of which seven finished the ride. Cody Boysen owned the lead in this ride, finishing on Viktory Banner with a ride time 04:06. Jason Stasiuk on CJS Maverick was second in a ride time of 04:18 and won Best Condition, while Jeremy Reynolds riding Chanses finished with a ride time of 04:34, for third.
The CEJY2* 120K started six riders. The first in was Katherine Gardner on Reach for the Gold, finishing in 06:53. The number two finish, Mauricio Evans on Torpedo Masterpiece, completed in 08:23. Four riders did not finish the ride including two who had just returned from competition for the USA in the Abu Dhabi Young Riders Endurance World Championship, Kelsey Kimbler and Mary Katherine Clark. The owners who support these young riders with excellent horses are to be congratulated.