Amid intermittent blue skies, lightning, darkness, teeming rain, sunshine, and finished off by a near tornado, a group of dedicated volunteers and determined riders with their crews from several states pulled off another annual successful Foxcatcher Endurance Ride on Saturday, April 1st, at Fair Hill. Over 100 riders competed in 25 and 50 mile rides as well as Ride and Tie races and team events. Congrats to all those hardy equestrians!

Winning the 25-miler was a big grey named Alligator Falls, a recently retired off-the-track Standardbred who had to learn to cross bridges, ride forests, and take tunnels to compete in a discipline where often it is Arabians who excel. “Gator” was ridden by Brooke Tadlock, up from South Carolina. Jennie Mae Heilman who won the 50-miler as well as the “Best Conditioned” award came up from Harper’s Ferry to ride with us. Special congrats to Junior rider Shelby Mae Payne, who finished 17th in the 50 mile ride, as well as to Corinne Hodges who finished 14th in the 25 mile ride. Junior competitors ride with a sponsor – many thanks to the adults who mentor these talented juniors!

Foxcatcher competitors, horses and crews “move in” the day before the race, camp out for the competition and have a mass start right after dawn. 25 mile rides must be completed in under six hours; riders of the 50-miler are allowed up to 12 hours but most take significantly less time. Vet checks and mandatory timed rest stops punctuate the race. This year’s event was particularly challenging with the ever-changing, sometimes frightful, Fair Hill early April weather! Endurance is also a great cross-training opportunity for other disciplines. Join us next year!

Congratulations to those who made it all possible: Ride Manager – Holly MacDonald and her husband Hugh – Parking Police; Secretary – Maile Irion and their relatives and friends; Ride Facilitator – Diane Trefry; Trail Design & Trail Marking – Susie Tadlock; Caterer – Sarah Colenda; Scorer – Alissa Norman; plus Barb and Coates Bateman, Kathie Troutman, Rita Benedict, Rupert Rossetti, Stacey Blyskal, Tanner Cebula, Brad Luff, Mary Coldren, Rick Ewing, all our vets, New Bolton Center, and other volunteers who served as timers, van greeters, and the radio crew “CARA,” directed by Andy Protigal. Thanks to our very engaged DNR Ranger Team for remaining vigilant with weather reports and timely checks. Special thanks to our sponsors Triple Crown and Ross Peddicord of the Maryland Horse Industry Board for their continued support.

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