Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, took the silver medal with Ciel Oriental in the 100-mile Endurance competition Sept. 26 at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park.
With his son Sheikh Hamdan Bin Al Maktoum taking the individual bronze, the United Arab Emirates team claimed the team title. Sheikh Hamdan joined with Sheikh Majid Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum to finish well ahead of the French that earned the team silver medal. Germany won the team bronze.
Spain’s Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton and her French-bred gelding , Nobby, won the individual gold medal and made history in the sport of Endurance today when adding the World Equestrian Games gold medal to their 2008 World Championship and 2009 European Championship titles. The hat-trick has never been done before.
Heather Reynolds of Team USA crossed the finish in fourth aboard Ssamiam. However, they were disqualified at the post-race trot out when Ssamiam came up lame.
Endurance riding is basically a marathon. The competitor must have a keen sense of pace and be able ride safely and efficiently. The race is divided into phases — at least five. After each phase, veterinarians check the horses’ fitness and ability to continue. The competition is against the clock and, at the elite level, over a distance of 100 miles. While the rider with the shortest time wins, it isn’t that simple. A fit horse that is able to demonstrate quick recovery gives the rider an advantage because it spends less time in each inspection area.