We have told you about marathons on foot, in differnt and challenging environments and of those on a sled pulled by a team of 12 to 16 dogs – today it is the turn of in our humble opinion one of planet earths finest and most beautiful creations – the horse.
The Tevis Cup, or Western States Trail Ride, as it is sometimes called is a long distance ride from Robie Park near Lake Tahoe, across the Sierra high country, to finish at Auburn in California. The high point on the trail is Emigrant Pass and the Watson Memorial at 8,700 feet falling away to 700 feet at No Hands Bridge near the finish by which time, if you are successful in completing the course you will have covered 100 miles. It is said that the 100 mile route combines a total of approximately 19,000 feet of ascent and 22,000 feet of descent – a true and extreme test of stamina and skill, both for the rider and horse.
The ride was begun in 1955 by Wendell Robie and is held annually. Each rider who completes the 100 mile course from Tahoe to Auburn within the 24 hour limit and whose mount is judged “fit to continue” is awarded the coveted silver Completion Award Buckle.
There are generally about 200 entrants for the ride of which the average number to finish ‘fit and sound’ is 50%. The winner might complete the course in approximately 16 hours and has to endure temperatures as high as 100 degrees to as low as just above freezing. The winner receives the Tevis Cup and the horse with the most superior physical condition in the first ten finishers receives the Haggin Cup. The ride is recognised by the American Endurance Ride Conference.
The 2009 Tevis Cup is scheduled for August 1st, entry fees are c.$315 and for further information you should go to www.teviscup.net
Below is a video from ponyhill of the conditions you might encounter on the ride.