Tevis 2009: Dr. Marcia Smith Leads into Robinson Flats

With crew and volunteers crowding the forest road, Marcia Smith, DVM, of Loomis, Calif., (rider #12) appeared around the bend at the Robinson Flat vet check and crewing point.  First to arrive at Mile 36 of the 100-mile Tevis Ride, Smith and her mount, AM Sands of Time (Sandy) were making excellent time. The 12-year-old gray Arabian mare moved easily and Smith's proficient crew began sponging cool water on her and offering alfalfa hay.

Although sweating, the mare's appearance did not indicate the effort she must have expended earlier today climbing 2,250 feet to cross Emigrant Pass.  Smith stayed close to the mare during the one-hour mandatory rest period. Smith tore handfuls of mountain meadow grass to encourage a steady intake of nourishment. Smith won the Tevis in 1992, 1997, and 2002 riding different horses.

Tevis Cup

Marcia Smith, DVM and her twelve year old gray mare Sandy with only 32 miles to finish the Tevis.

Only two minutes behind Smith, a group of three horses belonging to Potato Richardson arrived.  Christopher Baker, from London, England led the group.  Baker was attempting his first Tevis and his first 100 mile event.  Richardson's son, Stuart also traveled from England to crew for his father.  The English family had planned on attempting the ride in 2008, but for the first time in the ride's 54 year history, officials cancelled the ride due to wildfires.  Baker spent his time in the United States last year riding and generally getting to know Zoltann, his mount today. 

Tamara Stewart, followed by Richardson rounded out the group. 

"I bred and raised theses horses," Richardson said as he looked over the three horses.  "I carried them in my arms when they were born," he added with obvious pride and affection in his voice.  None of the Richardson horses wore pads on the rocky terrain. 

As Richardson ran his mount, Filouette, for the trot out inspection, one of the veterinarians yelled out, "Oh yeah.  You are looking good."  Richardson's entry number, 20, signifies that a finish this year will be his 20th. 

With the rest time dwindling, leader Smith's crew softly called out the minutes left until she could depart for the hot California canyon part of the ride.  "Four minutes," murmured the crew time crier.  When the count reached the perfect time, Smith mounted.  "Ride like a champion," called her crew.  "We love you," simply stated another. 

Smith turned her mare to the cross the small bridge near the timer, but paused to call back, "Thank you everybody." 

Results from Deadwood 
Nineteen miles later at the Deadwood checkpoint, Smith relinquished the lead and was five minutes behind the new leader, farrier Sarah Engsberg from Georgia.  All three members of the Richardson group remained just off the leader.  With 45 miles to go, and some treacherous trail in the dark, the placings will undoubtedly change.  Most just want to arrive with a healthy, sound horse in Auburn, Calif., the finish line.  Asked if he wanted to win, Baker hastily said, "No, no, no.  I just want to finish. Anything else would be a bonus."

About the Author

Marsha Hayes

Marsha Hayes has been covering endurance, trail, and other equine topics since 2005. She believes every horse has a story.

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