PONCE DE LEON -- An international equestrian competition will be held at a local farm this weekend. While race entry closed Friday, the public is invited to watch the competition throughout the weekend.
Rocking Roll 2017 Endurance Ride will be held Friday through Sunday at local equine boarding facility Bermuda Farms, 2298 Bermuda Lane. The first race begins Saturday at 5 a.m. Riders will have until 11 p.m. to finish the 75-mile distance.
"Most of the riders are competing in this event to qualify for the World Equestrian Games -- it's like the Olympics for horses," said Kim Williams, the event's ride manager. "It's a national and international event. We will have riders there from Japan, Kuwait, Brazil, Ireland and Dubai. They are coming from all over."
Rocking Roll riders are qualifying for the endurance class. An endurance ride is a type of long-distance riding in which the winning horse is first to cross the finish line after passing periodical health screenings along a trail up to 100 miles.
The event, which is held in many different locations each year, was moved to Bermuda Farms in a last-minute decision after the Georgia location fell through, organizers said. However, the 150-acre farm meets the standards to host the competition, such as its large open pastures and an arena for vetting.
“Being offered the option to host this internationally sanctioned endurance ride is a fantastic opportunity for our farm to become directly involved with this amazing sport,” said Melissa Hinson, who owns Bermuda Farms with her husband John Hinson. “We have a small horse boarding business and this event has provided us with some great publicity to other horse-people who have similar interests.”
“I've been lucky enough to get to compete in a few of these rides, and it's really neat to be involved with all the preparation that goes on behind the scenes to make these event happen,” she added.
There is no entry fee for spectators. It is important to note that most horse-viewing will be done in vetting areas where horses are screened along the 25 to 75 mile trails.
For more information about the event, follow Bermuda Farms on Facebook or visit American Endurance Ride Conference's website at aerc.org.