EH Ahmose finds his happy place at the front of the 100-mile ride.
Claire Godwin is two-thirds of the way to achieving a major goal she set for herself this year.
She wants to complete three different 100-mile rides on three different horses, and winning the Old Dominion 100 aboard EH Ahmose on June 13 in Orkney Springs, Va., let her check No. 2 off her list.
Crossing the finish line first came as somewhat of a surprise to Godwin, since the Old Dominion was just the first 100-mile ride for “Moses.”
“With this horse, I really look to find the pocket where he’s happy,” Godwin said. “He frequently likes to be up front, so I was just trying to keep him happy and within his ability. He felt strong all day, and out front was where he felt happy, so that’s where we were.”
Godwin and Moses traversed most of the trail with 2008 Old Dominion 100-mile winner Stagg Newman on Jayel Super and Ruth Ann Everett on Royel-T Razz Matazz. “We rode together all day; we were very civilized. Stagg’s horse had to slow down at the very last loop, so Ruth Ann and I were on our own and we had a friendly race to the finish,” Godwin said.
Godwin bought Moses, a 10-year-old Egyptian Arabian, from fellow endurance rider Cia Reis three years ago.
“He does well, but he just needs a lot of mental attention to keep him happy all day long,” Godwin said. “He gets nervous, but he’s very athletic. He’s the type of horse who will go into a collected canter and go all day long. It’s effortless. His pulse rate is slower at the canter than the trot. He’s a pretty good athlete. Cia does a lot of dressage work with her young horses. I would be lying if I said I spent a lot of time working on flatwork. It comes so naturally for him, so I don’t have to worry about it too much.”
Moses completed six 50-mile rides in 2007, finishing in the top 10 in five of them, and prepped for the Old Dominion with three top-10 finishes at 50-mile rides in the spring of this year. Godwin had completed the Old Dominion 100-mile ride once before, finishing 12th in 2002 on SKF Kadance.
A Way Of Life
Godwin started her quest for three 100-mile completions at the Biltmore Challenge (N.C.) in May, where she rode her daughter’s pony, PL Mercury, to 12th place. For her grand finale, she’s packing up her homebred Sundown Reveille and heading out to California for her first attempt at the legendary Tevis Cup ride on Aug. 1.
“It’s been my 20-year goal to go to the Tevis Cup,” she said. “It’s a grueling ride, and I like hard endurance rides better than flat races. I just hope to get through it—I’m not going out there with any expectations whatsoever.”
Godwin has been riding endurance since 1991 and now averages 1,000 miles a year. “It’s quite an addictive sport. It’s a way of life. It’s a great family sport—my daughter has ridden and done well as well. You get to see a lot of beautiful countryside,” she said.
As a veterinarian, she also serves as ride vet occasionally.
While she’d shown as a child, Godwin first heard of endurance during her senior year of vet school at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.