This photo was taken at the Bear Valley Springs 50 miler. This is a very tough ride due to the lack of flat ground. The trail is historically all single track with climbs and descents. This particular photo was shot as we left the mid-morning vet check. It was a very steep climb. I like that my heels are down and my weight is off of Montoya's loins. I am leaning forward, maybe a bit too much. If you look carefully, you can see the give-away that she was pulling to do the climb faster: her running martingale is fully engaged.
Montoya was very headstrong and wanted to run every race balls out. A popular endurance expression, speed kills, is a very true statement. Most endurance riders know that each horse only has so many miles in them. Speed reduces the number of miles they can ultimately do. Endurance riders "ride a fine line" between fast and too fast. We always go as quickly as the terrain allows, knowing that a misstep at the trot or canter can mean a career ending injury. Our horses don't know this however, and frequently question the speed that we determine is safe. Another expression, never hurry, never tarry, illustrates the best way to finish a race.
We finished this particular ride 24th out of 45 with a ride time of 9 hours and 27 minutes.