Sunday, April 22, 2012

Endurance Country!

American River
When I was five years old my Grandma gave me my first camera. At that time I was already involved in my love story with horses. I loved all outdoor activities. Still my passions are horses, photography and being outdoors (especially in the wilderness).
North Folk

I was born in Sweden and lived most of my 32 years there. As an adult I began riding Icelandic horses. What I loved the most was their ability to go in any kind of terrain and just go and go and go for hours and days. Not speaking of their outstanding mentality. They also have four or five gaits which makes riding even more interesting and challenging. Tolt and flying pace are experiences incomparable to everything I tried in this life so far! Icelandic horses have a special place in my heart.
Me and my Icelandic Horse Pjakkur. He lives in Sweden.

My boyfriend is from California and he is as crazy about horses as I am. When we decided to look for a place together one of the most important criteria was that we wanted to be able to ride out on the trails directly from our home. After looking around in many different areas in Central and Northern California we fell in love with the “Gold Country” also known as “Endurance Country”. This area has everything we want: endless trails in hundreds, endurance communities, The Tevis Cup and many, many other endurance races and trail riding competitions every year. You see horses all around when you´re driving to the grocery store or running errands in town. We LOVE it here J

Our goal is to ride The Tevis Cup in 2014. The Tevis is known as “The worlds most difficult equestrian Endurance ride”. It´s 100 miles in one day. Tough, rugged terrain, steep mountains (starting near Lake Tahoe at Truckee) and rocky, narrow trails, river crossings, bridges (one of them is a swaying bridge), wilderness and a finish line in the middle of Auburn city. Did I mention that the last part of the ride is during complete darkness? Temperatures from freezing early in the morning to extremely hot in the middle of the day. It´s definitely going to be a challenge.

How are we going to do this? We essentially live at the finish line of the competition and we believe that that will give us an advantage towards other competitors from all over the world. Not many riders can train at the actual course. That will especially give us an advantage on the night portions of the event. We will know the trail like the backs of our hands and so will our horses. We’ve already started to familiarize ourselves with the trail. We divided the trail in different sections and are going to ride each section again and again and again. Starting next spring we´re going to ride the whole course from start to end several times. At first we´re going to do it very slow, mostly walking and getting to know all the different places. After a while we´re going to do it on a time schedule.

All the pictures exept the picture of Pjakkur and me, are from the Tevis course.

It´s going to require good horses in excellent condition and we have to be in good condition.. Many of the riders that place top ten run a big part of the course themselves, next to their horses. There are several vet checks on the way and you have to pass them all, otherwise you´re disqualified. After the finish line there is also a check point and it´s not unusual that horses and riders get disqualified after finishing the ride! I think all the vet checks are a really good thing. You have to know what you are doing.
My goal is to build a strong relationship with my horse and make an interesting journey with him…..and be at least in the top ten ;)

I have two good horses right now. One four year old Quarter/Mustang and one sixteen year old Arab/Mustang. Both are excellent trail horses. As different as two horses can be! The young one is bomb proof and goes everywhere. However he is a dreamer and enjoys watching all the beauty on the trails. I´m not sure that he has the speed to be in top ten. Probably not. He´s a rescue and my best friend, but maybe not a Tevis winner. Diamond on the other hand, the sixteen year old has definitely got the speed. I´m not so sure that he has the confidence to do the whole course though. He will be eighteen 2014, which might be a little old. I am currently training them both on the trails.

I am tempted to get a horse especially for The Tevis Cup. I would love it if that horse turned out to be an Icelandic Horse! I have been looking at Icelandic horses here in California, but haven´t find any that have the right potential. Icelandic Horses are not so big here as they are in Sweden. I would love to show people here what Icelandic Horses can do. Especially here in Endurance Country! They are the most perfect, safe trail horses that take you anywhere you want without any fuss. If you have the right horse for me don´t hesitate to let me know!

Love Maria


I´d love to hear what you think about todays post. Did you relate to the topic?