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Records Set at Ride & Tie World Championship

San Diego woman Rufus Schneider, and partner Tom Johnson, repeated a feat accomplished only once before in the history of Ride & Tie when Schneider became the second woman ever to win the Ride & Tie World Championship since the sportís inception in 1971. The 34-mile race, which combined two runners taking turns riding their team horse across a rugged hilly course, took place June 16, 2007 in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park in northern California.

At the tail end of the race another record was set when Madison Trocha became the youngest runner to ever complete a Ride & Tie World Championship at nine years of age. Madison partnered with her horse Barbie and her father Bob Trocha to best the previous youngest record, set by a ten-year-old girl in 1983. The oldest person completing this yearís Championship race was 72 years of age.

Schneider refused to say she had her eyes on the prize going into the race. In fact, she had warned ultra-runner partner Tom Johnson that she was probably cursed: in all her years racing the Ride & Tie World Championship, she had never placed higher than 2nd in her division. Winning overall would break that streak and garner the team $1000 for top M/W team, and "Patís Purse" equaling another $1000 for the fact Schneider has no previous Championship race wins to her name. Johnson has won the Worlds previously, first in 1991 and most recently in 2000. As a runner, he has also won the 100 mile Western States Trail Run.

"We had a flawless race where everything clicked. The horse was amazing," reports Schneider who didnít think Johnson would partner with her for the Championship even after they won a smaller event last fall. "Heís Tom Johnson. I didnít think I could compete at that level." Explaining their race strategy, Schneider reports they ran into a common situation: closely chased by top teams, she spooked and wanted to ride Koona faster in the first half. Johnson held steady and kept her on pace, preserving the horse for later in the race. Everything ran according to plan. "Tom is a great strategist," reports Schneider.

Century in the Saddle (combined runnerís age of 100 or more) went to last yearís World Champions and this yearís second place team brothers-in-law Jim Howard and Tom Gey riding Magic Sirocco. Howard made news last year winning a record ninth World Championship mere months after nearly being killed by a falling tree that put him in intensive care for a week. As the first M/M team, Howard and Gey earned a $1000 win.

Also in the money was fourth place team Mark Richtman and Mary Tiscornia, the top team in the M/W category. Richtman is a former Ride & Tie World Champion with seven titles to his name. Richtmanís 1994 world title is shared with the only previous female world champion, Debbie Wagner. Tiscornia is well known on the Ride & Tie circuit as the only person to have started all 37 Championship races. This year her daughter Jennifer Tiscornia walked away with the top horse honors. Jennifer Tiscornia teamed with Heidi Clare Lambert for sixth place overall, and their horse Lakota Mare was awarded the veterinariansí prize of Best Condition. Lakota Mare had to significantly impress the vet staff to win the honor, as the elapsed time between her finish and the first horse finish counts against her in the judging.

The footing for the 2007 Ride & Tie World Championship was kind to the equestrian athletes with very good trails, but the course profile wasnít easy. There were two climbs of over 1000 feet each. In between the climbs was a drop of 2200 feet in less than four miles. Twisting single-track trails through the giant redwood forests favored the sure-footed. At the top of the first major hill it began to rain lightly on race day, cooling human and equine athletes. Hail was reported by some. With the cool temperatures, the event was run faster than expected. While each Championship is designed to see top teams finish in approximately four hours, this course was completed and the race was won in 3 hours and 11 minutes. Per tradition, and regardless of completion time, each runner whose team successfully completed the course and passed the final veterinarian check went home with a handsome commemorative belt buckle engraved with the event, date and location of their huge achievement.

Courtesy: The HorseTV Channel News, http://www.horsetv.com


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