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Bethlehem II, 21st May 2011 - Another good 80
Posted by Ross Malcom on 5/26/2011 to Rides

On Friday 20th May, I joined Peter Ward and headed up to the Bethlehem Endurance race in the Freestate.  Arriving at the Bethlehem show-grounds at about 2:30 pm we immediately got the horses settled, and then set up camp.  It was not long and we were ready for the initial vet check.  Both Buddy and Legend passed the check with flying colours and were bedded down for the evening.


Bethlehem Endurence Race - May 2011 (7).JPG

 The campsite we shared with the Liebenberg family

We arose at 4:00 am on Saturday morning to a light frost, and had our horses warmed up and ready to ride at 6:45 am when the first of the step ladder groups left.  We had a very pleasant and relatively fast first leg, over a distance of 38 kmís, and towards the end we were joined by Ina, who turned out to be an inspiration in her mentorship and guidance Ė what a remarkable lady she is, and what amazing insight into this great sport she had and was prepared to share.  This lady has the world record for the most completed 100 milers, and has completed over 17 000 kmís in endurance racing.  She is a major asset top this sport and in her very humble way is prepared to share her wisdom with those prepared to listen.


Peter, Ina and I passed the first leg vet check relatively easily and set off for the second leg of 28kmís, and it was at this point that our entire strategy changed.  Unfortunately, my horse Legend, was breathing hard at the halfway point, and Ina advised us to use the trot more effectively and we made the change, and what a difference this made to the horses.  Peter was using is Easyboots and was covering the rough terrain as easily as the smooth, and we finished the second leg and passed through the vet check again with minimal effort.  Had we not changed our strategy I do not believe that Legend would have made the distance.


Bethlehem Endurence Race - May 2011 (32).JPG

Ross preparing to go out on Legend 

The final 14km leg was done at a trot the entire way, and what we thought would be fairly uncomfortable for us and the horses, turned out to be a very controlled and comfortable way of eating up the miles.  Before we knew it, we were back at the finish line, and our horses had passed through the vet checks Ė the race was completed, and the horses could enjoy their extremely well deserved rest.


Bethlehem Endurence Race - May 2011 (40).JPG

Legend & Buddy putting in some well deserved R & R the morning after

Peter Ward had officially qualified for Fauresmith, and I had successfully completed my second 80km race.  Thanks again to the Liebenberg boys for their willing and able help when needed while trying to get the pulse rates down.


Ross Malcolm

Midlands Veterinary Wholesalers




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