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Endurance at the World Equestrian Games


It was a foggy morning start for the Endurance riders. (Photo FEI/Martin Dokoupil)
The first equestrian competition to begin the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) was Endurance on September 12. Led by Chef d’Equipe Mark Dial, the team of Gwen Hall, Cameron Holzer, Kelsey Russell, and Cheryl Van Deusen set out on the five-loop, 100-mile test early on Wednesday morning, September 12. The planned course would start and finish on the Tryon International Equestrian Center main property and included mandatory veterinarian checks and rest periods to ensure horse and rider safety. The competition will also determine individual medalists. But a mishap at the start required restructuring the event and heavy rains eventually led to cancellation of the event.

According to this FEI WEG 2018 bulletin, September 12:

As some teams were unfortunately misdirected at the start of today’s Endurance ride, the competition will be stopped at the first vet gate and re-started as a 120 kilometre championship.  …The restart of the ride will take place 45 minutes after the last horse has been inspected at the vet gate, as there is no possibility to reschedule the ride tomorrow…

 Then heavy rains came in the afternoon and officials decided that the remainder of the Endurance competition had to be cancelled “due to a potentially dangerously high combination of heat and humidity, and the conditions out on the trail following heavy rain this afternoon.” The decision was unanimous with the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate and President of the Veterinary Commission, and the Organizing Committee. “This was a difficult decision to make…” President of the Veterinary Commission Thomas Timmons said.

Sadly, on Friday September 14, one of the endurance horses had to be euthanized: a 20-year-old Anglo-Arab gelding Barack Obama, ridden by Team New Zealand’s Jenny Champion. He was taken to the Endurance Treatment Clinic after being transported back from the second loop of the 120-kilometer ride. He was treated for kidney problems onsite at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and then transferred to the Tryon Equine Hospital for further treatment.

US Endurance Team members were:

Gwen Hall of Woodland Park, Colorado riding SizeDoesntMatter, a 12-year-old Arabian gelding

Cameron Holzer of Houston, Texas riding Kong, a 9-year-old Shagya Sporthorse gelding

Kelsey Russell of Williston, Florida riding Fireman Gold, an 8-year-old Arabian gelding owned by Wendy MacCoubrey and Valerie Kanavy

Charyl Van Deusen of New Smyrna Beach, Florida riding Hoover The Mover, a 14-year-old Arabian gelding

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