Named by TIME Magazine as one of the top ten toughest endurance events in the world, the Tevis Cup is not a race for the faint hearted! Also known as The Western States Trail Ride, this 100-mile (160km) trek through California’s scenic mountains is a test of physical and mental fitness. Most years only half of the horse and rider combinations who start the event actually end up finishing it. Only the toughest survive.
This grandfather of all endurance rides was created by California businessman Wendell Robbie, who was eager to prove that a horse could cover the rugged trail from Lake Tahoe to Auburn in just one day. This ride takes place in August each year and has been going since 1955. Earning a Tevis belt buckle (the prize for completing the ride with a sound horse) is the crown jewel for endurance riders around the world.
The challenges of the trail are severe and incredibly technical, and physical fitness is essential for both horse and rider. Many riders succumb to exhaustion and dehydration with the elements being unforgiving – temperatures range from 4 to 50 degrees Celsius over the period of the race. Riders must complete the race within 24 hours, although the winner usually crosses the finish line in the darkness at just under 15 hours.
Flexibility and ability to keep a cool head under pressure are the characteristics of a successful Tevis competitor. So how about it globetrotters, anyone care to give this one a go? One thing’s for sure, the views you will be rewarded with are truly spectacular!
Reference: Horse Network
Image credit: Gore Baylor via the Horse Network