Toth Quake Rocks Tevis

By July 21, 2013
Rusty Toth and his chestnut horse Quake

Rusty Toth and Take a Break prepare for their victorious ride at the Tevis Cup race. (Photo courtesy

Colorado rider Rusty Toth and Take A Break, known as “Quake,” won the 58th Tevis Cup Endurance Ride, completing the 100-mile race with a time of 14 hours and 57 minutes on July 20. Jennifer Waitte was second on M Dash Czoe.

Only 75 horse and rider combinations, or 47% of the 160 starters, were able to complete the grueling ride from Lake Tahoe to Auburn, CA, within the time allowed of 24-hours. Although it took about 17 hours for Toth and the chestnut Arabian to make it from point A to B, the mandatory hold times at the various check points are not calculated into the race results.

Temperatures soared past 100 degrees, ratcheting up the difficulty factor. Completion rates are more typically in the area of 55%.

Toth, who hails from Durango, finished fourth in last year’s Tevis race and won the 2012 Haggin Cup for best conditioned horse with Farrabba. Interviewed minutes after he finished, Toth said he “never, ever dreamed I’d win this ride.”

Behind him, Take a Break, an 8-year-old gelding, gobbled carrots while the rider’s team sponged him off, an effort to bring down his body temperature and get his heart rate below the 58-beats-per-minute required to finish.

“He’s one of those horses that’s very chillaxed during training rides, but obviously it works during races. I didn’t get the lead until the last five miles.” Toth recounted that on leaving the final check point, two riders left before he did, and his horse was on it. “He’s got the most amazing canter ever. I knew we could catch them, so we went for it.”

Waitte recounted that as she and third-placed Jenni Smith of Moraga, CA, approached the finish line, “something blew past us, and it was Rusty!” Smith rode M Dash Stellar, a 9-year-old mare. She and Waitte crosse the finish line 17 minutes after Toth.

Eighth-place finisher Suzanne Hedgecock of Park City, UT, won the 2013 Haggin Cup, riding the 12-year-old gelding LZP Julicslastchance (Julio). She crossed the finish line at 12:11 a.m. on July 21.

W12-year-old gray Arabian gelding ridden by Suzanne Hedgecock of Park City, Utah; the pair completed the ride at 12:11 a.m. on July 21.

Race officials reported 27 horses withdrawn due to metabolic problems and 28 retired due to lameness.

One horse suffered a serious fall on the precipice known as Cougar Rock, and was later euthanized. The rider, Kathryn Williams of Penryn, CA, had done an emergency dismount and was making a saddle adjustment. “His head went up and his neck stiffened. He then staggered two steps to the right and went off the edge.”

Williams followed the horse she called Reb over the edge and she estimates the two slid several hundred feet before they came to rest and waited for help. Veterinarians attributed the incident to a neurological condition that triggers fainting spells. Williams described the horse as an exceptional athlete who had previously completed five 100-mile races in fine form.

“On behalf of the entire Tevis Family I would like to offer our condolences to Kelly Williams on the loss of her horse, Diamond Ruler L,” 2013 Tevis ride director Chuck Stalley wrote in a statement posted on the Tevis website. “Unfortunately, we all lost a beautiful, athletic animal in the course of doing what he was bred and trained for, during an event he loved to do.”

The Tevis Cup Endurance Ride is put on by the Western States Trails Foundation, a non-profit that generates funds for trail maintenance in the Wesetern Sierra.

For complete 2013 Tevis results, click here.


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