Saturday, Apr. 13, 2024

Green Heats Things Up At Fun In The Sun Endurance Festival

Not even frigid weather can keep Green and her young horse from leading the pack in the 100-mile ride.

When Lisa Green moved to Star Tannery, Va., four years ago, she had no idea she’d be embarking on a new hobby. A lifelong equestrian, Green had little knowledge of endurance.
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Not even frigid weather can keep Green and her young horse from leading the pack in the 100-mile ride.

When Lisa Green moved to Star Tannery, Va., four years ago, she had no idea she’d be embarking on a new hobby. A lifelong equestrian, Green had little knowledge of endurance.

Then, she met her new neighbor, John Crandall III. The Chronicle’s 2007 Horseman of the Year, Crandall won the AERC National Championship in 2006 and ’07. And at the Fun In The Sun Endurance Festival in Ocala, Fla., on March 8-9, Green started following in Crandall’s winning footsteps, as she rode her LR-Amana Tabi to the top of the 100-mile AERC/FEI competition.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have seen myself as the winner. I have to pinch myself every once in a while just to make sure I am not dreaming,” said Green.“John introduced me to the sport and has been an inspiration. He has allowed me to follow him around for years, learning the dos and don’ts of the sport. He
has shared a lot of information that has helped me get to where I am in this sport.”

Green’s horse, a 7-year-old, gray mare by Crandall’s stallion Bold Soldier, is an inexperienced but talented mount.

“Amana is very willing and bold,” said Green. “She has wonderful recoveries, which allows her to make time when she gets to the vet checks. I am excited about her future as an endurance horse. She
has proven herself worthy in her very first rides.”

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While the weather for the finish of the FITS 100-mile ride ended up bright and sunny, the start of the weekend wasn’t much fun in not much sun. Thirty hours of continuous rain, beginning Thursday night and lasting until Saturday at about 2 a.m., changed the sandy trails into swamps. Winds gusting up to gale force throughout Saturday’s 50- and 30-mile competitions kept some horses on edge and riders tensed. Sunday’s 50- and 100-mile rides began in 30-degree weather that had crews scraping ice off windshields and breaking ice in water buckets.

FEI officials were observing the 100-mile nominated horses and riders for eventual selection to go to Malaysia for the World Championship in November. Observer Vonita Bowers said, “Some of what I observe is how the horses perform and the care the riders give their horses. I also look for confidence and professionalism of the riders.”

Though 31 riders started the 100-mile event, with 25 of them cross-entered in the FEI division, only 13 FEI riders completed and only two of the six AERC riders finished.

By the halfway point in the 100-mile competition it appeared that Valerie Kanavy, riding Gold Raven, had the FEI as well as the AERC win in her pocket as she was leading by 40 minutes.

But Kanavy mistakenly took the orange 15-mile loop instead of the 20-mile yellow loop and had to re-ride the course in the correct order, which caused her to ride an additional 15 miles.  While Kanavy pulled off an amazing accomplishment last year when she missed a vet check and rode the first loop twice and still won the race, it wouldn’t be so this time.

Fifteen miles from the finish line, Green had a 7-minute lead and in the last loop, she gained another 3 minutes, completing the course in 10:39.

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Texans Darolyn Butler and her daughter Cecilia Butler-Stasuik tied for second place in the AERC competition and, since no ties are allowed in FEI, were second and third, respectively, for FEI results.  Their course time was 10:39. Butler was riding DJB Mercy Merci and Butler-Stasuik was on DJB Sombreiul.

Completing fourth in the AERC and FEI was Guy Worthington on Fast William MBN with a course time of 12:17. Fast William also earned the best condition award.

Kanavy poetically finished in 13th, the last FEI competitor to complete. She struggled to complete despite getting quite cold and ill on the trail. Her ride time was 16:04. Two AERC competitors, Mary Lambert and Candy Barbo, were the last riders to finish.

Of 14 starters, 13 completed in the 50-mile division on Sunday. AERC competitor Karen Cummings, riding
PF First Knight, had tied for first with Christina Phillips in Saturday’s 50-mile ride. She had to duke it out in another race to the finish on Sunday, but lost by just 1 second to Christina Phillips on Lana Wright’s horse, Mind Of His Own.

In Saturday’s 50-mile AERC/CEI competition, there were 38 entries and four of these riders were also entered in the CEI division. AERC division riders, Steve Cummings on Khruzin N Style and his wife Karen Cummings on PF First Knight from Indiana set the pace along with Kara Thomas, riding Sambet.

Steve’s horse wasn’t up to the pace and was eliminated before the final loop, leaving Karen and Kara to battle it out. However, in the best interest of the horses, the two riders agreed to tie and completed the course in 4:13. PF First Knight claimed the AERC best condition award.

Genie Stewart-Spears

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