After working with her Arabian gelding for about five years, Pocatello’s Laura Yost saw the opportunity for her horse to “open up,” earning ninth place in a nationally esteemed endurance race.
Yost, 36, competed with her horse, O.T. El Din RSI, in the Tevis Cup or Western States Trail Ride on Oct. 8. The race is 100 miles across the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Truckee, Nev., to Auburn, Calif., fluctuating in elevation from 8,700 feet to 700 feet.
“It was a dream come true,” Yost said. “This year I changed his conditioning and workout to cater to the Tevis to handle the elevation change and faster pace. I decided this was the year to let him go.”
Yost said she was on “cloud nine” after the experience. She said the morning following the race, the top 10 winners showed their horses to judges and an audience as veterinarians inspected the animals with a “fine tooth comb” for metabolic and physical soundness. Yost said El Din was quite energetic.
Yost has competed in more than 3,000 miles of endurance racing. She has been doing endurance riding for the past seven to eight years. She said El Din will rest during the winter season and in November, Yost will take on her first Ironman competition in Arizona.
She said endurance riding is something the whole family does together. During the Tevis, Yost was joined by father-in-law, Chris Yost, and husband, Gentry, who placed 24th.
One of the more nerve-racking parts of the Tevis was the last 10 miles of the race that were done in the dark.
“We had pulled back for about 20 minutes to see if my husband’s (horse was okay),” Yost said. “They (horses) have night vision and it is very intimidating to be on a small trail and you’re overlooking cliffs and riding above the American River. It’s very cool and very intimidating and the horse is wanting to go with turns and switch backs.”
Yost has four successful competitions on the Tevis. This was El Din’s first Tevis ride. She plans to continue working with El Din to see how well he will do in the future.
“It takes years to develop tendons, bone and ligaments to handle the stress of endurance,” Yost said. “If you let a horse run to early and too soon, they are done with their career. My goal is to have El Din running many years healthy.”