Neither of us wanted to get up early enough to see the start of the race. It would have required us to get up at around 4 or so, and that just wasn’t going to happen. After all, how would we eat breakfast? 😉
We were worried we wouldn’t find parking, but surprisingly there ended up being plenty. When we arrived, we weren’t sure where we could or couldn’t go. The place was abuzz with action. Because the horses clearly don’t all go at the same speed, and we were a couple of hours into the race already, all stations had action happening at them. There were horses waiting to get the signal to start off again. There were horses coming in for their cool down. There were horses getting cooled off, horses at the vet check, horses getting their soundness tested, and horses enjoying a hearty snack. They also had vendors, but only 3 food vendors. The line for the fry truck was over an hour long.
When I filmed the clip below, I had no idea who I was filming. I just thought it would be cool to film a rider walking his horse to the resting area. It ended up being of the winner of the endurance competition! What luck!
The following are some clips of how the event went. After finishing a lap, they would come back to the main area. Here are some horses coming back.
The next step was to cool off the horses. This was achieved with ice water. It was imperative to get the temperature and heart rate down in order to pass the vet check.
If the vet check was passed, then they would head across the grassy area where the big screen that showed the rest of the competition was situated.
Then they would cross over to the rest area. That is where I saw the Sheikh and his horse. Then they would go to the resting area for a set amount of time. Here, the horses would receive food, massages, farrier work, or whatever else was needed to make them comfortable.
After the set time is finished, the horses would get tacked up again, and they would head over to the holding pen.
Once in the holding pen, they would walk around until given the signal. Then they would take off and complete the next lap.
It was a sad day, this day. A Costa Rican gelding died during the first lap. It sure made things a bit sombre. Rest in peace Dorado…