July 14-16 was the long awaited endurance competition I have been preparing for in Terengganu International Endurance Park, Lembah Bidong by Royal Terengganu Endurance Stable (RTES).
I have prepared specifically for this competition for more than a month with my coach, Abang Iskandar in Batu Arang. Here and here are some of my training footprints although I did train for average 3 times a week for a month.
We went up there on Wednesday night about 8.30 P.M.
A day before the vet check, Bang Is got me to practice trotting Jacq (the horse I was riding for competition) at the vet check zone.
Of course not forgetting to let Jacq familiarize with the area.
Vet Check Day
The actual day of vet check. Black vest is for 40 KM participant. Maroon vest is for 80 KM.
On the actual vet check day, the doctor on site was checking Jacq after trotting.
A lot of the horses got excited during vet check because there are a lot of horses gather.
Rider No.20 having a special hard time with his stallion (if not mistaken). Well, there were a lot of mares around including Jacq.
The surrounding of the site during vet check day.
The rest area where horses can cool down after each loop for competition.
On the same day we went for a briefing conducted in the open space next to office area.
We were given the following notes for the competition.
This map shows 40 KM participant need to follow Green arrow in 1st loop and Blue arrow on 2nd loop.
In the evening, I got my helmet taped with the head lamp in such artistic touch… Better be safe than be sorry!
After dinner to discuss the strategy on what is the pace to ride, we head back hostel for rest.
Ready to go Rider No.1!
My crew members (Riena and Wan) were helping me to do a final check and some gave me a few final reminders before heading off.
Warming up Jacq in the field.
Flag off was at 3.15 A.M. for 40 KM participants.
Here is a very clear video posted at the courtesy of Ramis Karymshakov, a visiting official from Kyrgyzstan. Please spot for Rider No.1 🙂
1st 20 KM Loop
I started off trotting for the first 5 KM until the 1st water point, as planned. Frankly the initial trotting 5 KM was the hardest part of the competition. It was early in the morning and doing active trot to warm up both the rider and the horse were pretty exhausting.
Water Point 1
At the first water point, I did not stop for rest, again as planned. I cantered into the direction of 2nd water point.
The stamina was much forgiving when I was cantering. Although I still have to ride in the darkness with my tiny head lamp, it was good enough for me to focus on the next 50 M and seeing the Green arrow sign ahead clearly.
Water Point 2
At the 2nd water point, Bang Is and Riena were waiting for me to cool down Jacq. I had a quick stop at 2nd water point and proceed cantering to 3rd water point.
After water point break and cool down Jacq, I could feel she was cantering much lighter than the previous round. I felt like cantering in the air. It was like yeeeehar~ moment.
Water Point 3
Cantering into 3rd water point, again Bang Is and Riena were waiting for me there to cool down Jacq and I got the chance to have drink. After a short break, I continue cantering back into flag off gate to complete the 1st loop.
In the last 1 KM before reaching the gate, I started walking Jacq to allow her heart rate to come down. In fact, the earlier 4 KM was a breeze too. I was wondering how did I got back to the gate so fast.
Once I came back, I checked my time, it was 4:43 A.M. (We started off at 3.15 A.M.). The 1st 20 KM loop took me approximately 1 hour 30 minutes – as planned. My departure time for next loop is +40 minutes which made it to be 5.32 A.M.
1st Loop Vet Check
Jacq’s heart rate came down in 9:30 minutes. We proceed to vet check once her HR was about 56.
Abang Is helped me with bringing Jacq for vet check while I can take a rest myself for the next and final loop.
Everyone (including Jacq) were resting in our tent. We fed Jacq with sufficient food and drink before the next loop begin.
Not forgetting the rider was pretty exhausted after 20 KM ride.
After resting a bit more and it was about 5.20 A.M. we started preparing the horse for the next loop.
2nd 20 KM Loop
My take off time was set to be 5.32 A.M. Wasted no time, I got myself ready prior to that and head to the gate right at the dot.
At the point of taking off Abang Is already asked for me that I was at place No. 5.
I cantered my way to the 1st water point in the Blue route. Abang Iskandar and Riena did not wait for me there.
Water Point 1
Jacq did not want to drink water at 1st water point. I believe I made a mistake there when I cantered all my way to the water point. According to Abang Iskandar, I should be slowing down Jacq in about 200 m prior to the water point so that when we got there Jacq would be relax enough to want to drink.
Moving forward, I cantered a little faster in the next 5 KM heading to 2nd water point. At this point I was able to over take a few riders ahead of me and placed at No.2. I was excited that I was going to get at least top 3.
Water Point 2
Unfortunately upon reaching water point 2, Jacq heart beat got super fast and it didn’t seem like I could continue fast cantering as I earlier did. Not even to proceed the route before her heart rate slow down.
We took a lot of time to cool down Jacq and let her rest.
The riders that I overtook earlier has arrived to water point 2 and continued to water point 3 while Jacq was still resting in water point 2. Ouch…
We knew that Jacq is not going to make it to vet check if we were to force her with the fast pace. So while moving to water point 3, I was only doing slow canter.
Water Point 3
The good news is at water point 3, Jacq heart beat appeared to be better than when she was in water point 2. While the bad news is, I did not manage to overtake any of the riders went ahead of me while I was resting in water point 2.
At water point 3, Abang Iskandar and Riena updated me with their plan. After leaving water point 3, I should walk for 1 KM, canter for 3 KM and then finally walk for 1 KM before arriving to the gate.
I continued as planned and arrived to gate at 6.52 A.M. In other words, it took me 1 hour 20 minute to complete the 2nd loop. This is way beyond the planned time which was 1 hour sharp.
Jacq took 8:22 min to cool down before heading for vet check.
Here is the health report card for Jacq after completing 40 KM.
The game was over. But we didn’t know our placing until later on the official result came out.
We head for breakfast and only came back collecting the result at approximately 11 A.M.
I was placed at No.5 out of 19 riders. Not too bad for maiden ride. Feeling highly grateful that I got No.5 while some riders were not able to complete the competition.
The rest of the results.
On the next day, I managed to meet up with some riders in the stable.
In summary, it was an amazing riding experience during the endurance competition. I couldn’t have done it without the help my coach Abang Is, and the crew, Riena who updated me with the plan along the way and get me on almost every water point. Terima kasih Abang Is, Riena!
Also not forgetting Jacq who has gave her very best to go through the journey with me. Thanks Jacq!
In total, it costed slightly below RM3,000 for the entire game. The breakdown as follows:
- RM2,500 – horse rental and training
- RM200 – registration
- RM200 – hiring crew members at RM100 each member
- RM50 – vest deposit (which unfortunately I lost it)
It has been a long journey since I first started riding in Putrajaya about 2 years back. I could still vividly remember how awkwardly I did my rising trot. I’m grateful for all the people and horses who taught me how to be a better rider.
You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
– Robin Williams