Journey to the Tevis Cup
Annick Pasquet from France talks us through her journey so far to the 2019 Tevis Cup ride in the USA
This all began back in the 1980s, I was at an endurance ride at Rambouillet (FRA) and heard some of the French riders talking about their experience at the Tevis Cup ride.
I made a promise to myself that one day I would go to America and attempt this ride. Fast forward 30 years and here I am, about to fulfil a life long dream.
I had to find a horse to ride for the event, so thanks to FaceBook, I was able to get in touch with endurance riders in America and several of them contacted me to offer horses to use. I had a choice to make!
In April 2019 I went to America to meet and try the horse that I had chosen. It was really important to me to get to know him and to see if we would be compatible. I was thrilled to finally meet Bernie (Bernini Dream) who is a 17-year old chestnut Arabian gelding. He has already completed the Tevis in 17th place in 2009 and has participated twice since unfortunately, he was spun for lameness on both those attempts.
I spent some time with him to build up a relationship and we entered the 50 mile (80km) American River Classic Ride as it would be a great opportunity to learn more about endurance riding in America and gave me a taste of the Tevis Cup as some of the trails were the same.
The American River Classic was very different from French endurance. The course was marked with ribbons pinned to the trees, three ribbons mean a change in direction.
The vet gates were also a new experience for me. Out on the trail, there were "trot bys" which is where the vets are at a certain point on the trail and they watch you ride past at a trot. If your horse is lame, then you get eliminated. They also had some vet gates on the ride which were similar to the ones we have in France.
During the 50 miles (80km) there were just 3 assistance points where we could be crewed. There were two other places that had water troughs, that we could use to water the horses. The ride was technical.
The trails were beautiful and we crossed a lot of bridges.
There was a small section that was on a tarmac road, all the horses were ridden at a walk on the road. I asked if it was a compulsory walk section, and the reply was 'No, but the horses can slip on the tarmac so we ride them at walk here'.
Due to the terrain, the ride pace was a lot slower than a French endurance ride, the atmosphere was a lot more relaxed and I had plenty of time to take in the amazing scenery.
It was a real experience to take part in the American River Classic ride and Bernie and I completed in 11th place, with an average ride speed of 11.38 km/h.
This journey to the Tevis Cup would never have seen the light of day if I didn't have some great people to help me. So I must say a massive thank you to my husband William, who is supporting my crazy dream, along with Evelyne and Jean Jacques my French friends who will all be crewing me at the Tevis. Devoucoux Saddles who have very kindly lent me a saddle for the Tevis which we fitted to Bernie when I was in America in April and we trialled it at the American River Classic ride. Monin Sirops who have personalised all of my equipment, the CRE Centre Val de Loire and the Association Endurance Equestre Vallée de Germigny.
Of course a big thank you has to go to Shannon and her team for allowing me the use of Bernie.
I can't wait to go to the States again in August, this time to compete in the famous Tevis Cup ride.