The 100 Mile Endurance event was completed yesterday at the World Equestrian Games, in Lexington Kentucky. The team Gold went to the team from the United Arab Emerites, comprised of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum ( Darley Stud), his son, the crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan Mohammed al Maktoum, his younger son, Sheikh Majid Mohammed al Maktoum, and a cousin, Sheikh Rashid Dalmook al Maktoum. The event lasted close to 11 hours, which included all the mandatory rest periods. Actual time on the course was 7 hours, 35 minutes, 44 seconds.
Out of 100 entries, 55 horses completed the course. Riders and team officials hailed the 100 mile course around the Kentucky horse Park, which crossed land owned by 26 different land owners, a great success.
The Individual Gold Medal, however went to Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton, with her 15 year old French bred horse,Nobby. Maria’s husband, is one of the Shiekh’s top trainers. And it’s a good thing too, because though Maria rode for the first 5 months of her pregnancy, her husband took over and kept Nobby fit. Maria gave birth to her daughter, also named Maria, just 7 WEEKS AGO! And she got back in the saddle just 2 weeks ago.
Maria also won the Gold at the 2008 World Championships and the 2009 European Championships. This trifecta has never been accomplished before.
Some of the Gold Medalist’s quotes after her victory:
“It’s been really difficult to train and feed the baby and everything,” Ponton admitted. “Last year when I got pregnant, I thought I could do [the 2010 World Games]. But everybody kept telling me it was impossible. I feel well. It’s like it never happened, having a baby.”
“I feel really well, I just want to go back to the hotel and see the baby”
‘[The course] was really, really difficult. Really fast for me and really difficult. People say it is flat. It’s not flat at all. It was the most difficult race I’ve won with Nobby,”
“The only difference was that I could not sleep all night because I had to feed the baby.”
Ok, let me get this straight… You have a baby 7 weeks ago… you start back riding TWO WEEKS ago… you don’t sleep the night before the big event, because, hey the baby has to eat, right?… and then you are in the saddle for over 7 hours, you ride in a 100 mile endurance race, probably the most difficult Endurance Race in the World, and you WIN, beating all the members of the Gold Medal Winning Team from the UAE, the best team in the world…. AND as you cross the finish line, you don't even look tired!
Whatever this woman eats and drinks, well I want some of that, too!
All I can say is ... WOW ! Way to go, Maria! Congrats to you and your great little horse Nobby!!!