Lexington, Kentucky—The Canadian Endurance Team comprised of Elroy Karius of Kelowna, BC; Gail Jewell of Kelowna, BC; Robert Gielen of Norton, NB; and Ruth Sturley of Owen Sound, ON finished in seventh place out of 21 starting teams on September 26, 2010, at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) held in Lexington, KY September.
Under ideal weather conditions for both horses and riders, 108 riders took part in the 100-mile competition, which saw only 55 individuals finish.
Only eight nations finished three riders, and first place went to United Arab Emirates in a combined time of 23 hours, 53 minutes and 36 seconds. France finished in second with a total time of 24:49:46, and third place was awarded to Germany with 25:34:16. Canada finished in 33:05:34 for seventh place overall.
“It was a wonderful team effort. Robert Gielen, Gail Jewell and Ruth Sturley rode smart and rode safe to bring their horses through in great shape, making all of us very proud to be a part of the WEG 2010 experience,” remarked chef d’équipe Kay Melvin. “The crew worked really well together. Today was a real team effort, and a real team success. When we talk about our team, we are referring to the riders, grooms, crew and our team officials, which includes team veterinarians, coach, chef d’équipe and assistant chef d’équipe.”
Individually, Gielen was the top placed Canadian rider, with a time of 10 hours, 13 minutes and 55 seconds for 37th place, with his horse FC Galaxy, a 13-year-old bay Arabian gelding.
“It is always nice to finish with a nice sound horse. There is a little room for improvement, but that makes two world championships, 2010 WEG and the 2008 World Endurance Championships, and one North American Championship that FC Galaxy was the top Canadian horse,” remarked Gielen.
In 52th spot, in a time of 11 hours, 21 minutes and 23 seconds, was Jewell and NL Temptation, Elroy Karius’ 12-year-old Arabian mare. Close behind were Sturley and her long time partner RBF Super Sport, a 17-year-old Arabian gelding, in 54th place. “The thing that made the day was all the riders and crew stayed focused on our goal of not getting caught up in any races, but really riding each stride on the trail. We did it and we completed a team,” said Jewell.
“It just feels so great. I can’t believe that I just completed my third World Equestrian Games with my 17-year-old boy. My crew was so awesome and they helped me get through it,” added Sturley. “It is pretty special to finish a team at the World Equestrian Games.”
Maria Alvarez Ponton of Spain, who completed the course in an average speed of over 20 km/h during the entire race, rode Nobby, a 15-year-old Arabian gelding, in a time of seven hours, 35 minutes and 44 seconds.
For more information on the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, including live results, please visit www.alltechfeigames.com.
About Endurance Canada
Endurance Canada is a committee of Equine Canada, and the National governing body of the sport of Endurance Riding in Canada, from the grassroots to the international level. Endurance Canada is responsible for the growth and pursuit of excellence at all levels of the sport, providing support and guidance through various programs and committees: veterinary; rules and sanctioning; athlete and sport development; education and coaching; communication and awards. For more information, please visit the Endurance Canada section of the Equine Canada website.
About Equine Canada
Equine Canada is Canada’s national governing body for equestrianism. A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry. Equine Canada is recognized by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organization representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit www.equinecanada.ca.
Photo: Robert Gielen was the top placed Canadian rider, with a time of 10 hours, 13 minutes and 55 seconds for 37th place, with his horse FC Galaxy, a 13-year-old bay Arabian gelding. Photo Credit — Kalina Rutledge, Equine Canada