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Ten facts about The Tevis Cup endurance ride

Here are some interesting facts about America's most well-known endurance ride.

By Leslie Potter | October 7, 2011

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Endurance riders at the World Equestrian GamesOn Saturday, Oct. 8, approximately 200 riders will embark on a 100-mile ride for the Tevis Cup. Riders will attempt to journey from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, California in a single day. Here’s an overview of this landmark event.

  1. Although most of us know it as The Tevis Cup, the ride’s official name is The Western States Trail Ride.

  2. The ride has been held annually since 1955, except when it was canceled in 2008 due to wildfires in California.

  3. The Tevis Cup is usually held in July or August, but was postponed this year due to unusually heavy snow along the mountainous route. This is the first time the ride has been held in the fall, and will bring cooler temperatures and have fewer hours of daylight than usual.

  4. To successfully complete the ride, riders must finish the 100 miles in less than 24 hours. Riders begin the race at 5:15 am and the first riders typically cross the finish line around 10 pm. This finishing time includes mandatory rest stops and vet checks throughout the course in addition to the actual time spent on the course.

  5. All riders who successfully complete the course and whose horses are judged “fit to continue” at the end receive the Completion Award belt buckle.

  6. This year’s Tevis Cup start list includes riders from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.

  7. The majority of American riders in this year’s Tevis Cup are from California, but there are entrants from as far as New York and Hawaii.

  8. In addition to the Tevis Cup, which is awarded to the fastest finisher whose horse is deemed “fit to continue” after the final vet check, the Haggin Cup is awarded to the finisher whose horse is judged in best condition at the end.

  9. 84% of Tevis Cup winners have been purebred Arabians. Another 11% were Arabian crosses. Two Thoroughbred crosses and a Mustang are the only non-Arabians to win the Tevis Cup. One Thoroughbred cross, one Appaloosa and one mule have been awarded the Haggin Cup while the rest have been Arabs and part-Arabs.

  10. No horse? No problem. Ultra marathoners compete on much of the same route as the Tevis Cup in the Western States Endurance Run, held annually in June since 1977. The run was inspired by Tevis Cup competitor H. Gordon Ainsleigh, who decided to complete the race on foot after his horse did not pass the vet check 29 miles into the 1973 ride.

For more interesting facts about the Tevis Cup, visit www.teviscup.org.

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Reader Comments

sandra    Lexington, KY

4/23/2014 12:48:44 PM

Jennifer, horses do not have to be 'papered' or of any particular breeding (Obviously, since a mule has won the trophy...) to compete in this endurance ride. But they must have successfully completed other AERC sanctioned endurance rides before entry is approved. There are many other 25, 50, 75 & 100 mile endurance rides that you can enter. Just google 'AERC' to find one near you.

'To Finish is to Win'

Briana    Honey Brook, PA

1/28/2014 11:19:28 AM

That sounds fun :)

Jennifer    International

2/18/2013 7:43:46 AM

If my gelding had been papered or 'qualified' I so would have ridden him in these kind of races.

Kelsey    Macedonia, IL

10/15/2011 7:22:12 PM

Sounds like fun!! I wish my horse and I could enter..if nothing else it would be fun to just ride it and not try to win!!

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