Just shy of 40 equestrians and their mounts tested their stamina at the Cariboo Gold Rush Endurance Ride, which was held over the Canada Day long weekend on Ed and Cheryl Monical’s ranch south of Lac La Hache.
The two-day Endurance Riders Association of BC event attracted riders from Montana, Alberta, Vancouver Island, Fort St. John and 100 Mile House. Ride manager Joanne Macaluso said it was great to be hosting the event again after it was cancelled by COVID-19 and last summer’s wildfires.
“We usually hold distance riding events once a year, and our management team has been hosting riders for over a decade in the South Cariboo,” Macaluso said. “The event was excellent. It was very well-received, and people are looking forward to next year. Our group loves to share what the Cariboo has to offer. It’s a beautiful, scenic place.”
Macaluso said that endurance riding is a distance event that tests the partnership between a horse and its rider. Competitors completed either 25-mile or 50-mile routes and were judged based on how long they took to complete the ride within the allotted time frame and the health of their horse before and after the trek. The horses’ well-being was monitored by ride control judge/head vet Dr. Glenn Sinclair, from Manitoba, with the assistance of Dr. Stefanie Krumsiek from the Williams Lake Veterinary Hospital.
“It’s all about how you care for your animal, care for yourself and complete the set course in the time frame,” Macaluso said. “The first rider across the line is the winner, but the winner still has to be vetted by the veterinarian. If there are any lameness issues then they don’t win the race.”
There were 39 riders who participated on Saturday, while on Sunday 19 riders took to the trails, including five junior riders. Several participants rode both days, with 100 Mile House’s own Mike Day riding 100 miles on his horse Lynna.
Vancouver Island’s Sacha Edgell took home best condition awards in the 50-mile category on Saturday and Sunday, as well as the highest vet score on Sunday, with her horses Gabby and Blitz. On Saturday, Carrie Schier and Amira, up from Langley, took the highest vet score in the 50-mile category.
In the 25-mile category on Saturday, Jan Marsh and her mount Ginny B cleaned house, winning the highest vet score and best condition awards.
On Sunday, junior rider Saylor Maye, riding Beau from Kamloops, won best condition, while Stephanie Marsh-Knight and Nightwinds Classic Whiskee claimed the highest vet score.
The CGRE also offered a “fun/trail ride” of 10-15 miles, Macaluso said, as an “introduction” to the sport of endurance. She said this introduction did not have the pressures of a time limit or a long distance like the regular events.
Macaluso said she’d like to thank her fellow volunteers who helped prepare for the event, including Katrin Levermann, Elisa Marocchi and Nicola Maugh. She said the time spent clearing trails, flagging them and organizing prizes is a “daunting task” and that the event could not have been a success without them.
Anyone looking to learn more about endurance riding is invited to visit the Endurance Riders Association of BC at www.erabc.com.