WEG (part 3)
Published 09-29-2010 8:32 PM | Fernanda Camargo
The endurance competition happened on Sunday. I worked at the endurance venue as an official Portuguese interpreter. I was stationed right in front of the vet check and trotting lanes. That was super cool because I was pretty much rubbing shoulders with all the competitors from around the world. My favorite one is, obviously, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum from the United Arab Emirates. He and his sons came to compete and their team won first. He placed second as an individual. His horse Ciel Oriental (Eastern Sky), a chestnut Arab, is amazing. His sons placed 3rd, 6th and 7th. The Sheikh and his sons compete in endurance 2-3 times a month. How cool is that?
Endurance is a 100 mile long race. The horses are amazing! These athletes come in for their vet checks, mind you, after galloping for 40, 50 miles, and they were not even breathing fast!!!! Even at the end of the race, these horses were not even sweaty or breathing hard. I fell in love!
At the end of the race, Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton, from Spain, crossed the finish line first. Winning is no news for her.... what was impressive to me, though, was the fact that she gave birth to her daughter 7 weeks ago. How amazing is that? And can someone tell me where her baby weight is? Sheikh Mohammed came in second, only 55 seconds after Maria Mercedes. His son Hamdan arrived in third after galloping and pretty much having a personal match race with American Heather Reynolds. Heather arrived in fourth place, but her horse failed the last vet check and she was disqualified.
The UAE team trained in Newmarket, England, because of the grass trails and climate, which resembles our climate more closely than Dubai. One interesting fact is that one of the UAE trainers, Jaume Punti-Dachs, is actually the husband of Maria Mercedes, the Spanish rider who won the race. This means that the same trainer won 1st, 2nd and 3rd places! WOW!!!!