Buckskin Challenge

Bart Wride, front, and cousin Wayne Wride, of Aberdeen, ride the last part of the course on their 10-mile ride in the Buckskin Challenge on Saturday in the hills of Buckskin canyon outside Pocatello.

    A brief downpour of rain cooled horseback riders as they proceeded to finish the first loop of the Buckskin Challenge Saturday morning.

    Event coordinator Kara Yost said the weather was ideal for horses involved in the 25-mile or 50-mile endurance races west of Pocatello that started in Buckskin Canyon.

    “We don’t have a lot of endurance races around here,” Yost said. “We’re hoping to build up interest.”

    Participants came from Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Montana and Oregon. Yost said 20 people competed in the 50-mile event and about 20 competed in the 25-mile event.

    After losing her horse, Firth’s Peggy Taysom abstained from endurance riding for several years. This year she participated in the 25-mile event with her gelding, Maynard.

    This was her third endurance race.

    “It was hard. It was really hard,” Taysom said. “These are not hills, they are mountains. I got lost twice. ... It’s just something I wanted to do since I was a little girl — the oneness with your horse. It’s physically demanding for you and the horse.”

    Taysom led the first round of riders down the hill to a veterinary station, where horses were watered down, given victuals and a health checks.

    Volunteers checked for the horses’ pulses to reach 64 beats per minute before the horse’s “hold” time would begin. Horses would rest between 45 minutes and one hour — depending upon the leg of the race — before they could move on to the next leg.

    There were three trail routes used in the endurance ride; 10-mile, 15-mile and 25-mile loops.

    For the past three years the event has been sanctioned by the American Endurance Ride Conference.

    Matt Dredge, an instructor for Brigham Young University-Idaho veterinary technician programs and former Alpine Animal Hospital veterinarian, said they check the horses “soundness” — including heart, respiratory and metabolic functions — before and during the race.

    “If we notice any of them that are lame or having problems compensating with the demands of the race then we might pull them from the race,” Dredge said. “Most riders and owners are just fine with not having their horse continue because it is not just about winning the race today, but being able to race again another day.”

    It was Karli Walker’s first endurance race. After the 17-year-old Star Valley, Wyo., resident saw the movie “Virginia’s Run” she wanted to work toward competing in an endurance race.

    Walker said her horse, Lady, handled the trail well and the only challenge was that “the rain was pretty cold, but I’m kind of glad it came. It probably felt good for Lady.”