Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ride and Tie

Since we've had some rather serious posts on here lately, I thought I'd share something about a fun equine sport many of you may not be aware of - Ride and Tie!

Now obviously any equine sport can be dangerous, including this one. But having participated in a Ride and Tie (long ago, when I was younger and much more fit) I can tell you that there is a lot of fun involved, you do it with a team of one horse and two humans, and the excitement and camaraderie (not to mention the amount of things that can go wrong) is hard to imagine.

The team of one equine and two people (one riding and one running) negotiate a course of between twenty and forty miles (although you may find shorter and longer rides.) The entire team takes off together, with the horse and rider soon outdistancing the runner. At a predetermined distance, the rider dismounts, ties the horse securely and takes off running. When the runner finds the horse, he mounts and takes off, passes the runner, usually asking how much further the runner wants to go. Then he rides about that far, finds a suitable place to tie the horse and takes off running. The team progresses like this, alternately running or riding in a leap frog fashion, until all three safely cross the finish line.

What's fun about this sport is that if you can run even a little, have a calm horse that is in shape, and maybe have a friend who is a runner and can ride a little bit, you can usually partner up and with some practice, have an absolute blast trying this event. There's a lot of strategy involved, including how far each person can run, where to tie the horse, teaching your horse to relax when it is tied with other horses passing, and then stand still for the rider to mount.

As you can imagine, some mishaps occur, including runners taking off the with the wrong horse (know how many grey arabs there are out there?) horses becoming untied (and the call of 'loose horse' is heard down the trail) and even runners passing their own tied-up horse in their daze of exhaustion. Yup, it's a mental as well as physical game. But it's also a kick-ass, take no prisoners, plain fun sport that honors the old endurance slogan of 'to finish is to win.'" In this case, all three partners, two humans and the horse must all cross the finish line, so whoever gets there first usually waits for the other so the team of three comes in together.

Sound like fun? Here's the official Ride and Tie page: http://www.rideandtie.org/

Has anybody ever competed in this sport? The one I completed, many years ago, is a fond memory of some of the most fun I've ever had out of the trails.

Oh, and for you readers out there, I'm giving away a copy of a great new horse mystery called WHIRLWIND over on my personal blog http://lindabenson.blogspot.com/ Just drop by and comment to enter.

Cheers, stay safe on your horses, but don't forget to have fun out there!!


Fantastyk Voyager said...

I've heard about this but never quite knew what actually happens. Thanks for the information. It sounds very interesting.

Linda Benson said...

Thanks, Fantastyk Voyager. The Ride & Tie I competed in was only about 10-12 miles, I think, if memory serves. I did it with a better runner than me, and I probably ran less than half of it, mixed up with long-trotting the horse. I was pretty darn exhausted at the end of it though, covered with dust, but smiling. Fun stuff!

Francesca Prescott said...

Linda, I think they do these type of races here in Switzerland. Sounds like a lot of fun, if you're a good runner and have a horse with a comfortable trot. Which is not my case!!! But I do love the concept :)

Anne Coyle said...

What a great idea! I've never heard of Ride and Tie until reading your blog, but it sure sounds like a potentially riotous good time! From what you said, it sounds as though everyone keeps a pretty good attitude throughout the event. I couldn't help laughing out loud when an image of a "quick-change" booth at every stop, allowing competitors to switch out of their horse riding breeches and into their jogging suits, and then back and forth until everyone was dressed in a chaos of ratcatchers and Adidas! Not sure if anyone enjoys the image as much as I do, but I had to share it!