Tevis Volunteer Rescues Fallen Mare

Jack Meyer, a Tevis volunteer and an ultra-marathon runner from Foresthill, Calif., went beyond the call of duty when he rescued a black Anglo-Arab mare that had fallen into a ravine. Christoph Schork's 9-year-old Castle Country Karahty ("Kat"), ridden by David Shefrin, slid from the Western States Trail July 24 during the horse and rider's attempt to complete the 100-mile Tevis Cup ride.

Tevis Cup

Tevis volunteer Jack Meyer rests with rescued mare, Kat, during the Tevis Cup 100-Mile Endurance Ride.

The accident occurred around 4 p.m., nearly 50 miles into the journey that began near Lake Tahoe, and extended to Auburn, Calif., and at the same site where a mare died during the 2009 Tevis Cup after sliding from the trail and striking her head on rock.

Meyer, one of the 800 or more volunteers credited with making the event possible, had finished his shift at the Last Chance checkpoint and had decided to go for a run. Running the switchbacks into Devil's Thumb, he stopped to snap a picture of the steep canyon below when he heard Shefrin call, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa," followed by the sound of sliding rocks.

"I ran right back down and saw a rider sitting on the edge of the trail with his head on his knees," recounted Meyer. Meyer ascertained the rider was not hurt and saw the mare lying on her back on top of a log at the bottom of the ravine. "Her neck was cricked around but I thought to myself: 'This horse will not die on my watch,'" He descended about 50 feet to the side of the moaning mare.

After he calmed the mare, he straightened her neck, and helped her roll over and stand upright. At first agitated, Kat danced and reared, but Meyer, not a horseman, instinctively talked soothingly to her for another 10 minutes.

Working alone, Meyer could not get the mare to scale the ravine wall and with each attempt the pair slid farther down the canyon.

Tevis competitor Ken Keele, from Greenwood, Calif., stopped and descended to assist Meyer, and together they pulled, pushed, and urged Kat back up to the trail.

Rescue personnel arrived and the shaken horse and rider walked into the next vet checkpoint. "Kat ate two pieces of hay and drank like a fish," reported Meyer. She suffered two small scrapes on her lower legs, but veterinarians found her to be in excellent shape before she was hauled out by horse trailer.

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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