Meg Sleeper Places First in North American Endurance Team Challenge

Meg Sleeper on Rim

Meg Sleeper on Rim

28 August 2015 – Canada ~ The 2015 North American Endurance Team Challenge (NAETC), was held 21 August 2015 at Cayuse Creek Ranch in Millbrook, Ontario, Canada. Held every two years, NAETC welcomed competitors from Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Meg Sleeper (US) on her homebred Shyrocco Rimbaud (Rim) won the Seniors 120km ride in a ride time of 6:50:34 with Jeremy Reynolds (US) on Bound for Honor coming in six minutes later. Melody Blittersdorf (US) on Synthetic finished in third with a ride time of 7:26:34. Fourth was Tom Haggis on Indian Reinman, The highest placed Canadian individual in the senior division was fifth place Robert Gielen riding 6 yo Arabian gelding More Bang For Your Buck (Doran x Forty Thieves).

The first ten riders came in within a ride time of 8:46:46. The ride finished 23 Senior riders and 9 Junior/Young Riders. The last Senior rider, Nancy Zukewich riding Nightwind’s Classic Whiskee finished in a ride time of slightly over 11 hours.

TEAM FINISH
In the senior division, the US Northeast Mid Atlantic “Menace” Team of Meg Sleeper on Shyrocco Rimbaud (Rim), Emily Stemmler on Faveur, and Katherine Gardner on AF Big Bucks took Gold. Silver was Canada East A Team composed of Wendy MacCoubrey on Am Mysterious Mopsa, Yvette Vinton on Teese, Robert Gielen on More Bang For Your Buck, Dessia Miller on Amber Kiera, and Michele Watling on Klein (DNF). Bronze went to the US Central Team and was made up of Jessica Lemmons and Show Showme No Limits, Darolyn Butler on DJB Seymora Spirit, and Melissa Coolish on Rumor SWA. Cody Boysen and Nickel and Alicia Mansuitti and Patralana did not finish but were a great help to the other riders. Only the top three rides are counted for team competition.
In Junior/Young Rider Teams – US Young Riders took Gold and Canada West Juniors won Silver.

Meg Sleeper:

“It was a really great day. Rim is a homebred, a 9 yo Anglo-Arab. My husband, Dave Augustine, actually competes him more than I do. He won the Vermont 75 with Rim last month. Rim is a hair over 16.2, so fits Dave quite well.

The weather was perfect for riding. The terrain was rolling with some steep, but short hills and some sections of rocks (smooth rocks the size of grapefruit or oranges). I think it was actually a pretty challenging trail, which I think coincides with a completion rate of @50%. They did a fabulous job marking and organizing the ride in general and I would say overall a really successful event.

Other than the first loop, I rode the majority of the day alone. I was on the Northeast team. We had 7 Northeast riders and one of the discussions was whether we entered our strong 5 member team and 2 individuals or 2 teams (of 4 and 3). Either was allowed, but of course only 3 ride times counted and that meant the 3 member team needed to finish all three to complete a team. However, most of us felt that an important part of this event is the team experience and we had a few people who had never been on a team, so we went with the 4 and 3 approach. It clearly could have backfired. I was on the team of 3 with Emily Stemmler and Katherine Gardner and we took Gold for the team as well. I don’t believe there was another 3 competitor team that finished all three riders and we won over the other teams (I think all 5 member) by a couple of hours, so that was pretty cool. Rim also took Best Condition. Also very, very cool.”

Melody Blittersdorf:

“This is a nice venue with some excellent and challenging trails. After our SE riders started to arrive, we had lots of fun times visiting with each other and riders from other zones and our great hosts from Canada.

The weather turned rainy on vet-in day, which totally made me concerned about slippery conditions for race day as I ride in boots rather than shoes.

On Race Day I woke up with some sort of stomach flu. Our first loop went well, except for one big slip behind, and a friend’s horse got loose and several horses got caught in wire. I was able to get off and catch the loose horse. My trot- out was awesome but when I went back to the hold area, I felt a knot on the inside of his right hind. I called on Scott and with his help and the hard work of Jeff Blittersdorf, Eric Dwyer and Betty Dwyer Synthetic felt and looked great all day. I found myself in 3rd place going out on my last loop with Tom Hagis only 2 minutes behind me. I had not really eaten all day but was trying to stay hydrated. I knew Synthetic needed to put in a big effort to hold on to my placing if I wanted the Bronze. He was amazing and just galloped along.I know he didn’t feel 100% but he gave me 110%. This was not his best race ever but I am more proud of him them EVER before. Thanks to everyone who helped us and a huge congrats to everyone who finished and to all the winning teams!

Saturday morning all of his legs were in full-blown scratches mode and we couldn’t stand for BC. Today he’s looking much better, with lots and lots of TLC. Thank you again Synthetic for a another great day. I always like to thank my friends Holly and Tom Sayvetz for this special horse.”

NAETC is an FEI 2* 120km ride ridden in four loops or phases. The competition was divided into Senior and Junior/Young Rider (J/YR) Divisions, with both divisions using the same trail on the same day.

Finish List:

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