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Strenuous racing in Decatur Texas due to tough weather conditions

Valley View Campground, Decatur Texas, USA. 20, 21 and 22 April 2017.

The idea of Lone Star Express was dreamt up early last fall with the intent to offer FEI and AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) riders with a new venue and three days of endurance fun.

Once the ride received approval from the AERC Board and Central Sanction Director, massive amounts of planning started. The Lemmons family, who very graciously managed the ride, spent countless hours and weekends at the Valley View Campground in Decatur Texas trying to make sure the trails were in good shape for the large crowd that was expected.

Endurance World Decatur Texas a rider in full race moodA week before the ride over 180 riders entered over the three days with riders flying in to compete from Israel, Chile and driving in from as far away as California, Colorado and Florida. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not completely on our side as the campground received over 3 inches of rain on the Monday before the ride making the trails rather slippery and muddy in places.

Thursday, first day in Decatur Texas

Both an AERC and FEI 100-mile ride and AERC and FEI 50 ran on Thursday, April 20. There were 12 starters in the 100 with 6 of them being cross entered. The high was well over 80 degrees with high humidity and the temperature along with the trail conditions made it rather difficult to complete. Meghan Dunn riding WHR Sleak Streak led the way until 76 miles when they were eliminated for hind end lameness. Only two of the six entries in the FEI division passed with Hilda Donahue from Ireland on DJB KD Komanchi receiving the win. The AERC/FEI 50 had 17 starters with 5 of them being cross entered. Three of the five pairs finished the ride. Alisija Zabavska from Lithuania crossed the finish line in first place in both AERC and FEI divisions.

Endurance World Decatur Texas action during one of the loopsFriday

By Friday, the trails were drying out well but the heat and humidity still made it tough. There were 16 starters in the 75-mile event with 11 of them being cross entered.  There were 6 finishers out of the 11 that started. Young rider Ragan Kelly from Waco, Texas on Kharismas Grace were among the first to enter the vet gate after the twenty-four mile first loop. The pair stayed up from all day and crossed the finish line first. They also received the Best Condition award. The 50-mile event had 17 starters and 8 in the FEI division.  Gwen Hall of Woodland Park, Colorado on Sizedoesntmatter cantered across the finish line in 2nd place overall and 1st in the FEI division.

Endurance World Decatur Texas a rider during the raceSaturday

A cold front over Decatur Texas blew in late Friday evening which brought in some rain, hail and much cooler temperature. At the start of the 75-mile ride temperatures were in the low 40s which was a welcomed change from the heat and humidity the two days prior. The rain would make the trails once again slick and muddy in places. Fifteen riders started the 75-mile ride with 8 being cross entered in the FEI division. Erin Lemmons-Innes and Roxi Welling led early and stayed up front. Coming into the last check Alisija Zabavska had caught up and all three had out times 30 seconds apart. A crowd gathered at the finish line for what was expected to be an exciting finish. Erin Lemmons-Innes and Ogee cantered across the finish line in first place with Alisija Zabavska and Silver Gazal coming across 7 minutes later. The 50-mile ride on Saturday had 19 starters and 6 cross entered in the FEI division. Devan Horn of Humble, Texas on Scunc crossed the finish line tied for first place in the AERC division and first in the FEI division. The pair also received Best Condition.

By Meghan Dunn

Photo credit: Vanessa Moreau-Sipiere

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Strenuous racing in Decatur Texas due to tough weather conditions

Valley View Campground, Decatur Texas, USA. 20, 21 and 22 April 2017.

The idea of Lone Star Express was dreamt up early last fall with the intent to offer FEI and AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) riders with a new venue and three days of endurance fun.

Once the ride received approval from the AERC Board and Central Sanction Director, massive amounts of planning started. The Lemmons family, who very graciously managed the ride, spent countless hours and weekends at the Valley View Campground in Decatur Texas trying to make sure the trails were in good shape for the large crowd that was expected.

Endurance World Decatur Texas a rider in full race moodA week before the ride over 180 riders entered over the three days with riders flying in to compete from Israel, Chile and driving in from as far away as California, Colorado and Florida. Unfortunately, the weather gods were not completely on our side as the campground received over 3 inches of rain on the Monday before the ride making the trails rather slippery and muddy in places.

Thursday, first day in Decatur Texas

Both an AERC and FEI 100-mile ride and AERC and FEI 50 ran on Thursday, April 20. There were 12 starters in the 100 with 6 of them being cross entered. The high was well over 80 degrees with high humidity and the temperature along with the trail conditions made it rather difficult to complete. Meghan Dunn riding WHR Sleak Streak led the way until 76 miles when they were eliminated for hind end lameness. Only two of the six entries in the FEI division passed with Hilda Donahue from Ireland on DJB KD Komanchi receiving the win. The AERC/FEI 50 had 17 starters with 5 of them being cross entered. Three of the five pairs finished the ride. Alisija Zabavska from Lithuania crossed the finish line in first place in both AERC and FEI divisions.

Endurance World Decatur Texas action during one of the loopsFriday

By Friday, the trails were drying out well but the heat and humidity still made it tough. There were 16 starters in the 75-mile event with 11 of them being cross entered.  There were 6 finishers out of the 11 that started. Young rider Ragan Kelly from Waco, Texas on Kharismas Grace were among the first to enter the vet gate after the twenty-four mile first loop. The pair stayed up from all day and crossed the finish line first. They also received the Best Condition award. The 50-mile event had 17 starters and 8 in the FEI division.  Gwen Hall of Woodland Park, Colorado on Sizedoesntmatter cantered across the finish line in 2nd place overall and 1st in the FEI division.

Endurance World Decatur Texas a rider during the raceSaturday

A cold front over Decatur Texas blew in late Friday evening which brought in some rain, hail and much cooler temperature. At the start of the 75-mile ride temperatures were in the low 40s which was a welcomed change from the heat and humidity the two days prior. The rain would make the trails once again slick and muddy in places. Fifteen riders started the 75-mile ride with 8 being cross entered in the FEI division. Erin Lemmons-Innes and Roxi Welling led early and stayed up front. Coming into the last check Alisija Zabavska had caught up and all three had out times 30 seconds apart. A crowd gathered at the finish line for what was expected to be an exciting finish. Erin Lemmons-Innes and Ogee cantered across the finish line in first place with Alisija Zabavska and Silver Gazal coming across 7 minutes later. The 50-mile ride on Saturday had 19 starters and 6 cross entered in the FEI division. Devan Horn of Humble, Texas on Scunc crossed the finish line tied for first place in the AERC division and first in the FEI division. The pair also received Best Condition.

By Meghan Dunn

Photo credit: Vanessa Moreau-Sipiere

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