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By Kirsten Le Roux
Special to The SUN
Mike Le Roux dismounts his horse “Big Shooter” and, clad in his Lycra jogging pants and running shoes, he’s unlikely to be mistaken for a local cowboy or rancher. In fact, it’s just as possible that you’ll see him running alongside his horse on the gravel roads in Pagosa than you will see him riding the horse. That’s because Mike has set his sights on endurance horse racing and more specifically, the pinnacle of endurance horse races, the Tevis Cup “100 miles in One Day.”
The Tevis Cup, with a 59-year-old heritage, is a technical point-to-point trail from Squaw Valley to Auburn in California. Described as an event of distinction, the Tevis Cup is recognized as one of the world’s best tests of true horsemanship. Riders and their athletic steeds have 24 hours to cross the 100 miles of trail in a combination of running with the horse and riding. The pair that wins the race is not necessarily the first to cross the finish line, but the first to cross the finish line where the horse is “fit to continue’,” which ensures that consideration for the horse’s wellbeing and care is paramount throughout the race.
The full version of this story is available in the print edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100.