Marylanders master endurance Spalding wins division of 100-mile trail ride

EQUESTRIAN

October 21, 1992|By MUPHEN WHITNEY

Six Marylanders were among the 47 competitors in the 29th Biltmore Saddle and Bridle Club Western North Carolina 100-Mile Competitive Trail Ride last weekend at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.

The demanding event takes place over three days, and the horses and riders cover 40 miles on the final day.

The emphasis in competitive trail riding is on fitness and conditioning of the horse. Riders begin the 100-mile event with a score of 100. Points are deducted at the various vet checks, where veterinarians assess the horse's health and fitness. Measurements are taken of such things as pulse, respiration and level of dehydration.

At the end of the Biltmore ride, 40 horses and riders received ribbons that rivaled from the fanciest shows.

"I always get the biggest ribbons in the whole catalog for the completion ribbons," said ride organizer Mimi Cecil. Those who were competing in this ride for the first time also received commemorative patches.

Marilyn Miller of Woodsboro, aboard GT Tobarra, Nancy Smart of La Plata on Fr Zara Zara, Jennifer Bell Spalding of White Plains on Curundu Crakrjak and Pat Taylor of Welcome riding Theme received completion ribbons.

But the honors for Marylanders did not stop there.

The state's contingent (which also included Brenda Gaither of Mount Airy with Amberdust and Alleyne Pflum of Union Bridge on Gaither's Danza) cheered loudly when it was announced that Smart finished fourth in the lightweight division. There were more cheers when it was announced that Spalding won the middleweight division.

This was Spalding's second time competing in Asheville. She began her competitive and endurance trail riding career in California in 1980 riding a quarter horse. She switched to her 15-year-old gray Arabian gelding when she decided that she was serious about the sport.

"This is such a great place to ride," she said. "They do so much work on the trails. There were new trails and new views this year, and the weather was really nice this time."

Smart was competing in her second 100-mile ride, but it was Zara Zara's first time at this distance, so Smart was elated with a fourth-place finish in their division.

When Smart first began competitive and endurance riding, she thought the idea of riding even 50 miles was overwhelming.

"I wondered who would be crazy enough to try that," she said. "It really wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I like this sport because it is very objective, and how well you do depends on how much you and your horse put into it. It's just you, the horse and the trail."

Whitney is moving

Muphen Whitney's equestrian column and calendar are moving from Wednesday to Sunday. Look for her next column and calendar Sunday Nov. 1.

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