Cold rain and slippery terrain forced many horse and rider teams — including WCVM's Dr. Trish Dowling and her horse Mocha — to bow out of the 2009 Kentucky Cup CEI3* on October 14 in Lexington, Ky.
"I did get some glimpses of beautiful scenery but most of the time it was raining so hard that I couldn't see anything," said Dowling. "I've never been so cold and wet in my life." View video and still photos taken during the October 14 endurance race.
Dowling and Mocha were among the six riders and six horses representing Canada West at the "pre-ride" for the 2010 World Equestrian Games endurance competition. Canada West did not finish a team of four horse and rider pairs (two others from Canada West rode as individuals).
The Canada East team did not fare any better, but one horse and rider team, Bob Gielen and his horse F.C. Galaxy of Norton, N.B., finished fourth overall in the endurance race.
Mocha was pulled during the race's second veterinary check after wrenching her left front fetlock in the mud, while two other Canada West pairs — Tara MacLeod riding Cairos Summer Romance and Ariel MacLeod riding Driftwoods Bellanca — were forced to quit because of injury and fatigue. The remaining three Canada West horse and rider pairs managed to finish the race: Elroy Karius and Apache Eclypse; Gail Jewell and NL Temptation; and Terre O'Brennan and Koszaar.
One day after the race, Dowling reported that there were many sore and tired horses on the grounds. Only six of the of top 10 finishing horses came to present for the race's Best Condition award; three of those horses had slight lamenesses. As for Mocha, Dowling hopes that her injury is minor: "Her fetlock blew up, and I wrapped and poulticed it overnight. She appears sound today, so hopefully it's just a sprain and nothing serious."
The fourth test event for the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the Kentucky Cup was supposed to consist of a 120-kilometre (75-mile) race and a 160-km (100-mile) race. However, because of the slippery conditions caused by the pouring rain, organizers decided to limit the 100-mile race to 75 miles (120 km) for the safety of horses and riders. Competitors completed a series of loops on and off the Kentucky Horse Park, frequently returning to the veterinary station on the Horse Park for required vet checks.
For more background about Dowling and Mocha, click here to read "Mocha Brewing," a story about the pair's success in the endurance riding field.