Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Endurance Rider Kathy Brunjes (USA) Blogs About Spring Training and the Upcoming 2010 Games Endurance Selection Trials

Training in the NE going along nicely - weather has been phenomenal, with temps in the mid-70s. April in Maine usually means icy trails, 2-3 foot snow banks and temps around 40 degrees. With the mild weather, we are not only able to get out on trails usually blocked until mid-May, but we're also getting some good "heat" training in for the more southern competitions coming up. Southern, of course for those of us in the NE, means anything south of Massachusetts!

The weekend of April 10-11 was an FEI endurance "qualifying" event in Inyokern, California - I was scheduled to attend this, flying out to San Francisco, to compete on a young horse belonging to fellow WEG nominees (and friends) Heather and Jeremy Reynolds. Unfortunately I had to cancel due to a death in my family. We'll try to get together in mid-May outside of San Jose for another qualifying event for both riders and horses.

Our major training attempts are focusing on the prestigious Biltmore Challenge (first weekend of May) in Asheville, NC. The course winds around the Biltmore estate. All FEI endurance events are qualifying events for riders and horses working up the FEI mileage "ladder" and the (formerly called) certificate of capability required in the qualification process.

Since I was unable to go to California, I'll be away to increase mileage in our training; 15-20 miles per horse per day over the weekend. All endurance riders on the ERRL (endurance rider ranking list) met (by teleconference) with our Chef last evening to touch basis and go over use of our GPS units during our training sessions. You can feel the excitement in the athletes' voices as they ask questions and respond to our Chef's questions.

Selection trials are in another month, and athletes and horses are continuing their quest to complete their qualifications. The Biltmore Challenge was held in Asheville, NC during the weekend of May 1, an important FEI ** and *** event for endurance; with near-perfect weather conditions (although there had been predicted thunder storms/storm cell to arrive mid-day, the weather held off until later in the evening, when most riders/horses had completed the course) and no mud on course this year, it proved to be a challenge, never-the-less for many athletes. Yours truly did not complete the course on my alternate horse prospect, being eliminated at the end of the fourth phase (at 70 miles) for left front lameness. Running out of time to qualify this particular horse - my primary mount will be my nominated horse for the selection trials.

There should be between 50-60 horses/athletes at the three zone trials; Central Zone will host the first of the three trials from June 18-20 in Danville, IL. East Zone will be held at Fair Hill in Elkton, MD during June 21-23 and the Selectors and Chef and veterinarians will conclude their marathon evaluations on the West Coast from June 24-26 (Prineville, OR). Footing for all three trials should be very close to what is anticipated in Kentucky at WEG and although the West Coast trial may not be as humid as Kentucky could be, the Central and East trials should come pretty close to what we can expect in Kentucky.

Athletes and Chef are "meeting" monthly via telephone conference call, going over expectations for both the trials and the WEG. Everyone is getting pumped!

This past weekend I took Theatric to a local (4 hours away) endurance event (a 30-mile Limited Distance and a 50-mile open) as a small tune up ride. We entered the Limited Distance (30-mile) due to weather conditions - unexpected cold spell with rain, snow flurries (yes, in May!) and 40 degree temps. Theatric's 3/4 brother, Synthetic (ridden by my good friend Melody Blittersdorf - also a nominated WEG contender who has just received her invitation to attend a selection trial as a "Wild Card" invitee) was also at this ride, so Mel and I decided to ride together as a team and let our boys have some fun. Both horses breezed the 30 miles and averaged a nice 10 mph speed over the hills and through the bad weather to finish tied for first place. It's always fun to win - especially with such great team mates. We were able to put the horses up, shower and have lunch before noon! There's something to be said about Limited Distance!

I'm off to California for the Shine and Shine Only endurance events (May 14-16) in San Jose, California. I'll be riding another team mates horse (Heather and Jeremy Reynolds of Los Gatos, Calif.) on his first 75 mile event. I'm looking forward to seeing all my West Coast friends, and our Chef this weekend. The next East Coast 50-mile endurance event will be held in CT/RI at the Escoheag Park (hosted by the New England Arabian Trail Organization - NEATO). A good many of the East nominated riders and horses will be using this 50-mile event as a final warm-up/tune-up for our selection trial in June.

More news to follow - I'll report on the West coast riders after the SASO events this coming weekend.


  1. Que complicado es que un caballo de Raid, esté apto para la competición que queremos que compita.
    Hay que seguir probando y entrenando, esperemos que los juegos Ecuestres Mundiales sean un buen espectáculo para el mundo entero.
    Saludos de Gabriel.

  2. please keep our WEG endurance fans posted as to progress /so glad you are able to enjoy some success amidst the all the trials of life and death cycles and may the blessings happen during the WEG for our endurance teams & guests. My hopes for the WEG is all equestrians & spectators get to enjoy the excitement first hand of endurance sport & horses and see our riders caring for the sport in ideal & optimum settings with very positive conditions for all!