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Dynamic duo races through endurance rides


Graham says she has to ride to stay in shape.

"I try to ride Monk once or twice before an event. I pay close attention to equitation and make sure I'm a balanced rider so the horse doesn't get sore."

She was also quick to point out that the endurance races are well regulated by the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC).

"The AERC puts together the endurance rides and establishes rules and regulations," she says.

While most endurance rides are 50 miles, Graham says they can also be 25, 75 or 100 miles, and occasionally they are 35 or 65 miles.

"It's a really fun sport," she says. "You go on a Friday and check your horse in. There is a vet inspection to make sure the horse is metabolically sound enough to compete in the ride."

Then both horse and rider camp out overnight. The ride begins early the next morning with mandatory stops throughout the day for the vet to inspect the horse.

"It's a highly regulated sport," Graham says. "Sometimes you are traveling steep trails, while other times you are on jeep roads. Most of it is out in the middle of nowhere. You definitely see parts of the country you would never see otherwise."

While most endurance rides are AERC rides, some competitions, like the World Equestrian Games, are Federation Equestre International (FEI) events.

Graham's goal for the Lake Almanor ride was to finish first among the FEI riders to get the highest amount of points possible.

"When trying to go to the World Games, they look at the points you have," she says. "More points put me higher on the ranking."

Despite training and weekend endurance events, Graham manages to balance her hobby around work.

"It would be difficult if I didn't have the most amazing bosses in the world," she says. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to do it. They encourage me to do it, and they're some of my biggest supporters."

As for future events, Graham is making sure to choose wisely.

"There are rides all the time," she says. "With AERC, I'm just going out to have fun. With Monk, I want to try to go to the world endurance championships, an FEI-sponsored event, next August in Great Britain."

Martin also hopes Monk and Graham can represent the United States in other international rides.

"You have not heard the last of this dynamic duo," he says.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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