An exciting sport, started in 1971, has today begun to capturing America’s passion for public personal challenge. It comprises one horse and two runners in tip-top shape because winning this race is more complex then it first appears.
When Arthur Hammons, retired Unitarian Church minster mentioned last month he would be doing a foot race, involving a horse, it was a real attention getter. That is what makes this event intriguing, and so much fun to both viewers and participants.
Joining in this event is fairly inexpensive, requiring the horse for each person be examined by a qualified veterinarian before and after each race. PETA would be proud of the R&T organization. It basically has a two person team, man or woman, running to ride.
As the game goes – One team member begins running on foot, the other rides a horse to wherever he or she thinks the partner can reach along the trail. At that strategic point the rider dismounts, ties reins to a tree, post, or log, then continues on foot.
When the running team member reaches the horse, that person mounts and rides until reaching the partner. At that time the team can exchange riders or leave the runner to continue further on foot. Up the trail some distance the horse is again tied awaiting a ground bound team member while its most recent rider runs on ahead. How running teams choose to trade travel methods are a series of decisions in constant play all through the race route.
Weather can sometimes be as much a factor of who runs and who rides as are human weaknesses and strengths. Two runners, one horse is dependent on mental attitudes as well as physical abilities. This obviously explains why a growing number of runners and riders are joining this rough-terrain, run and ride swap sport.
Arthur, a true novice to R&T was not new to running regularly. He often enters marathons with his avid runner wife Virginia, In the race Arthur paired with team member Oceanside California Fire Chief Glen Morgan. As a brand new team they proved R&T is a almost any-man’s sport, they won 3rd place in their Descanso, California competition.
Well, maybe not any-man’s race, any person who has tried to trod Descanso knows this three hour races is not over 18 miles, 3 hours of barefoot beach terrain. Some race distances are longer, between 20 to 100 miles.
Like many sports, a huge part of the fun run is commodore. People, horses and lots of horse trailers assemble a day or so prior to a race to meet, greet, and dine together, sharing good will.
It also offer a healthy horse, simply a form of welcome exercise, something not necessarily true of the runners I’m guessing. In Arthur and Glen’s case their 3rd team member is Glen’s quadruped, a rescued, once-wild mustang attained through BLM (Bureau of Land Management. Art and Glen found the race finish as humbling as it was reaching their goal was gratifying.
For all interested, and the many more charmed by this fascinating competitive sport, info on future events is available online at “Ride & Tie Association” headquarters in Orange, CA where everybody’s welcome. http://www.rideandtie.org/