American Endurance Championship Opens
Lake, WA Riders and their horses from nine countries paraded
before an enthusiastic group of fans and spectators Thursday as
the Pan American Endurance Championship officially opened. The 91
riders and their support crews have been arriving since last week,
preparing for Saturdays 100-mile race on trails winding through
the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest.
of the worlds top international endurance officials are overseeing
the race, which occurs every two years at different locations. The
head of international endurance at the Federation Equestre Internationale
(FEI), Ian Williams, noted endurance riding is one of the fastest
growing international equestrian disciplines. He said he was very
impressed with the site, the surroundings and the trail. "I
think the whole of the organization and setup is conducive to what
I believe will be an extremely good competition," he observed.
He said that the recent cooler weather in the area could be conducive
to a 60% completion rate.
her welcoming remarks PAC organizer Stephanie Irving commended the
forestry personnel and private landowners in the area who made it
possible to mark out trails that will challenge some of the sports
top endurance riders and their horses. She also observed that the
international event had doubled the population of the little community
of Trout Lake, which has enthusiastically volunteered its assistance
to ensure a successful event.
the past few days the 14 teams have been familiarizing themselves
with the trails that feature a variety of mountainous terrain with
footing ranging from volcanic rock to soft, established trails.
They have also been planning their strategy at the five mandatory
vet checks that will determine the physical well being of the horses
to complete the race. The general consensus appears to be that a
good portion of the trails will require a technical ride, though
some fast completion times are also anticipated.
the PAC 2003 website at www.endurance.net/2003pac
for updated information. On race day, follow the progress of the
riders and get complete results at www.endurance.net.