Rain takes sting out of endurance track

September 26, 2010

The track for the 160km endurance race at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky tomorrow morning weaves through several properties neighbouring the Horse Park venue.


New Zealand endurance rider Debby Worsfold polishes her boots before this morning's trot up.

The course consists of six loops, varying in distance from 18 kilometres through to 39.9 kilometres.

Rain last night has taken some of the sting out of the 160km track - much to the delight of New Zealand's endurance team farrier Rodney King, who has been based in Kentucky at the Rood and Riddle veterinary hospital for several months.

All three of the Kiwi horses passed the morning's veterinary inspection, and Alison Higgins and Twynham El Omar, Jenny Chandler and Lace and Fineness, and Debby Worsfold on Bradley McGregor will line up for a mass start against 105 other combinations from all over the globe.

For endurance vet Nick Page and chef d'equipe Madonna Harris - along with riders, grooms and supporters - it was an anxious wait at the vet check, despite knowing all the horses were in peak condition.

Not all teams looked to be so lucky in getting through - some getting the lenience of a re-present and others sent back to the stables, heads down. But there were no such problems for the Kiwis.

With just three in the New Zealand team, there is no room for error, with no chance of any team accomplishment if all don't finish the race.

The race marks the start of the World Equestrian Games for New Zealand. Next up will be the eventers Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Caroline Powell, Jonathan Paget and Clarke Johnstone, who face their trot up and vet check on Wednesday (US time) followed by the start of the dressage on Thursday.

Thousands packed into the main arena at the games tonight to watch a rather spectacular opening ceremony. The New Zealand team was led in by Andrew Nicholson.


New Zealand endurance riders (left) Jenny Chandler, Alison Higgins and Debby Worsfold.