Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Wildest Kind of Trail Running You’ve Never Heard Of - Full Article

Ride ‘n’ Tie racing was the precursor to the Western States 100, but its cowboy roots persist in a niche sport that’s thriving today.

January 26, 2023
Martha Nelson

The morning sun blazed over “Fair Hill,” a 5,000-acre fox-hunting estate built by Delaware’s famous du Pont family. The estate’s pristine wooded trails, open meadows, bubbling creeks, and 17 horse barns offered an ideal venue for last fall’s Chesapeake Endurance Ride.

On the morning of September 17, 2022, the barn was abuzz with riders and horses dodging between rows of chrome horse trailers in search of curry combs, electrolytes, and the rest of the pre-race checklist. Anxious horses whinnied across the meadow.

I arrived the night before with neither a horse nor a trailer, just a belly of nerves and a pup tent I pitched between beefy pickup trucks. I was a trail runner who, earlier that summer, barely survived my first “Ride ‘n’ Tie,” a topsy-turvy trail race where two runners share one horse and switch back and forth between riding and running. But like a moth to a flame, I kept coming back. When Chris lost his partner to COVID-19 and asked me to fill in at the last minute, I couldn’t say no...

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