Saturday August 25 2012
It was epic. Not just the race, but the weather, the horses, seeing dear friends from around the world that I haven't seen for a while.
Here are a few pictures from the day.
Before the start: USA's Valerie Kanavy (previous 2-time World Endurance Champion) and Reach for the Gold. They finished 20th.
Watch out for photojournalist extraordinaire, and crazy driver, Brazilian Cidinha.
Spain's Nobby getting doused at one of the vet checks.
Water crossing on trail.
A friend Miguel from Argentina. He rode a beautiful horse! But he didn't finish.
Maria Alvarez dousing Nobby while cantering through a crew point. Riders don't slow down a bit, they grab water bottles from their crews, pour it on their horses and toss the water bottles down, never missing a hoofbeat. Nobby and Maria are the previous double World and European Endurance Champions. No matter what team you supported, you probably also rooted for Maria and Nobby. They finished 4th this ride, but I am quite sure they got the biggest cheers of everybody, all day.
I believe these are Omani riders. Oman got the team bronze medal.
Mine and the Raven's friend, Alexandra Toft. Somewhere I have a picture of the two of them when we had breakfast Friday morning. Alexandra finished 51st - she was caught out in the big storm that stopped the ride.
Another friend Yvonne Ekelund from Sweden. She finished 44th.
Three of the three Portuguese riders finished. This is 14-year-old (yes! 14!!) Joao Maria Moura. He finished 47th.
I don't know where these 2 gentlemen are from, but they seemed to be having fun every time I saw them during the day!
One of those quick British heavy rain storms that dump for 2 minutes and move on.
Steph's friend, the King of Malaysia. He finished 38th - his first World Endurance Championship completion!
Valerie Kanavy and a Malaysian rider going out on the 5th loop.
This is Japan's Kyoko Fukumori - that's her up top also. This gal had the biggest smile on her face all day! Her horse looked great all day but was pulled at vet gate 4, at the re-check. She STILL had the biggest smile on her face. She was so happy just to be there participating.
USA's John Crandell and Heraldic. It was a big surprise and blow when he was eliminated at the 5th vet gate.
USA's Riverwatch, being trotted out by Heather Reynolds' sister. Heather and Riverwatch finished 36th.
This is the storm that ended the ride about 6 PM. Huge deluge, big wind, and wicked lightning. Riders got whatever placing they were in at the time - those unfortunate enough to be caught out on course had to carefully make their way back; those fortunate enough to be in a vet gate when it hit did not go out again. As long as the horses passed their last vet check, it was a finish for them. Luckily nobody got hurt in the storm!
Tragic news not regarding the weather: on the first loop, Netherlands' Donna Oudshoorn's Karrihm fell and broke a shoulder and had to be put down. That's Donna and Karrimh on the left before the start. RIP, Karrimh.
There will be more to come, stories and videos! Now we're on our way home!