The FEI Endurance Young Rider World Championships are rapidly approaching. As the first ever to represent The Bahamas at this event, Reine Pagliaro and her mount Beautiful Knightmare (known as Beau) are training, refining, and doing all the research necessary to represent The Bahamas to the best of their ability. The competition will be held September 6-10 in Ermelo, The Netherlands.
To put it simply, Endurance is a cross-country marathon on horseback. An FEI 2* event, the Young Rider World Championships distance is 75 miles (120 km). The qualification process has been grueling: first Pagliaro and Beau had to complete a certain number of qualifying races before moving up to the International, or FEI, level. After achieving FEI status, the pair then had to finish two 120 km races which was accomplished in March 2020.
Reine rides with the Stiyu Endurance Team at Muscogee Farms in Eatonton, Georgia. The Stiyu research team has been scouting competition venues with weather and footing similar to that of The Netherlands. Luckily, the weather in middle Georgia where the pair train is almost identical to the weather in Ermelo. To ride a course with footing similar to the Worlds course, Reine and Beau headed off for the Broxton Bridge Plantation Endurance Races in South Carolina, held January 29-30, 2021.
“Endurance isn’t just running as fast as you want to,” explains Peggy Clark, owner and manager of Muscogee Farms. “That leads to injury, mental fatigue, and physical problems. Endurance racers know that you increase speed, or distance, not both. Reine and Beau have achieved the distance element many times. Now they are working on increasing the speed element.”
This was the plan at Broxton Bridge. Along with Mary Kathryn Clark, her trainer and Beau’s owner, Reine left the start line for the first loop of 15 miles (24 km) at a crisp pace. They were back at the first checkpoint in 90 minutes…a pace of 16 kph/10mph, perfectly on plan. After a thorough veterinary exam and a mandatory rest period – all regular procedures in Endurance races to ensure horse welfare – the riders were back on the trail for the last segment of their race, 16km/10 miles. It was time to kick up the speed a notch, and Reine and Beau finished the last loop in 44 minutes at a pace just over 12 mph. The pair tied for second place.
Not content with the great performance at Broxton Bridge, Reine is continuing to train every weekend with Beau, overcoming the elements as for the past weeks Georgia has been inundated with wave after wave of near-freezing rain!