Interview with Melinda Guice after riding in the 2015 Tevis Cup
13 year old Don't Ya Know I Dazzle (Dazzle) has been doing endurance for 8 years. She has completed over 2,000 miles in competitions including distances of 25-75 miles and several multi-day rides with a couple Best Condition awards and numerous top 10 placings. This year we decided to tackle the biggest endurance challenge of them all, the Tevis Cup.
Sadly Dazzle and I took a bad fall early in the ride and began to feel the effects of it as the day progressed and we had to slow our pace. At the halfway point (50 miles) we came into one of the vet checkpoints a few minutes past the cutoff time.
Riding the first half of the Tevis was an amazing experience I will never forget. Climbing up the Sierra Nevada mountains, looking down on the picturesque Squaw Valley and seeing the sun rise over Lake Tahoe in the background was just breathtaking.
This is an intense and very difficult ride. Each section has its own unique beauty and set of challenges. Narrow trails winding along steep cliff sides, slick rocks and boulders to negotiate, streams and bogs, tough climbs, heat and humidity and carefully managing the clock are a few of the biggest obstacles.
This year only 45% of starters completed and of those half finished in the final hour, narrowly escaping several of the cutoff points along the way. There are veterinary checkpoints at numerous points to ensure the horses are fit to continue on the arduous journey.
Next time around I will feel better prepared knowing what I have learned through this first time experience. Luck is a big part of the equation at this ride, and hopefully we won't be slowed down by any mishaps early on.
I love trail riding, and especially endurance riding, for the breathtaking trails and the amazing people and friends I have made doing it. I have ridden endurance rides in 4 different states and hope to see many more and perhaps do a Canadian ride as well some day.
Dazzle has taken me everywhere from ocean shores to high mountain peaks, deep forests and open deserts. I cherish every moment I have been lucky enough to spend in the saddle on the back of this amazing mare.
Thank you Melinda Guice for sharing your 2015 Tevis Cup experience with us. We wish Dazzle a speedy recovery and both of you luck next year!
Photo by Bill Gore