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Sisters make history at Ride & Tie World Championships

Michelle Andreotti and Susanne Rowland first all-woman team to take title

Special to the Horsetrader - July 16th, 2009 - Show & Event News
Michelle Andreotti and Susanne Rowland, with the horse Over Amile, win the Ride & Tie World Championship on June 20 and are also the first all-female team to win the event.

Courtesy of Ride & Tie

Michelle Andreotti and Susanne Rowland, with the horse Over Amile, win the Ride & Tie World Championship on June 20 and are also the first all-female team to win the event.

HUMBOLDT COUNTY — Michelle Andreotti of Granite Bay, Calif., and her sister Susanne Rowland of Rocklin, Calif., put the family name on a new chapter of Andreotti history in the sport of Ride & Tie and at the same time finally realized the prediction of Bud Johns, inventor of the sport: that a woman/woman team would out-race the men and snatch the Ride & Tie World Championship title. Adding glitter to their crowns, their race horse, Over Amile, was deemed Best of Condition.

The 39th annual Ride & Tie World Championship took place June 20 at Cuneo Creek, in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, adjacent to the Avenue of the Giants. Andreotti and Rowland’s winning time was 3 hours, 57 minutes to complete the 34-mile course.

Ride & Tie is an endurance race, run on trails and cross-country, involving teams of one horse/two humans and competing against 10 to 50 other like teams. The humans alternate riding the horse a mile or so, tying it to a tree, and taking off running, while the other human catches up to the horse, unties it and rides past the other human, and so on.

“There have been so many remarkable women who have been competitive in the sport since the start that it was inevitable that the right two would team up to win the whole shebang,” Johns said. “Women can be excellent runners at distances, can be superb horsemen and often are lighter on the horse which helps the equine member of the team.”

Most recently competing at the World Championship level in the mid-1990s, the sisters had drifted away from the sport. Then, last year, the family was asked to attend the 2008 Ride & Tie World Championship event to witness the induction of their father Dave Andreotti’s horse, Scooter, into the Ride & Tie Hall of Fame. They were re-bitten by the bug: by July they bought the horse Over Amile and were training for this year’s race. The sisters live about 10 minutes apart, and the horse is stabled between the two.

Rowland said she is pretty competitive and it was her idea to try the championship race this year. They hoped to finish in the top five. “The course worked to our advantage; I like to run the uphills.”

Simultaneously, Andreotti would ride up the hill catching Rowland at or near the top, where they would switch. Converse to her sister, Andreotti likes to run the downhills. They let the horse pick its own pace, which on this course was usually a canter.

Defending champions Jim Howard and daughter Sara Howard of Applegate, Calif., finished in second place overall on the horse Voltaire, with a time of 4 hours, only 3 minutes behind the winning team. The Howards were also the top-placing man/woman team.

The highest placement by a man/man team was overall 7th place finishers Ben Volk of Pasco, Wash., and Lucas King of Trout Lake, Wash., with the horse Mondart. They had a time of 5 hours, 16 minutes. The 15-year-old King was also the youngest competitor this year.

The sport of Ride & Tie combines trail running, endurance riding, and strategy. The goal is to get all three team members, two humans and one horse, across a 20 to 100 mile cross-country course by alternating riding and running. Everyone starts out together. The rider, being faster, rides ahead and ties the horse to a tree, and then continues down the trail on foot. The team member who started out on foot gets to the horse, unties, mounts up and rides past the runner, ties the horse, and this leapfrog continues the entire course. When, where, and how a team exchanges riding for running is almost entirely up to each team to develop their own strategy.

The Ride and Tie Association will be celebrating 40 years of riding and tying throughout the week of June 12-20, 2010 at Mount Adams, Wash. The 40th Annual World Championship Ride & Tie, open to all comers, will be raced on location Saturday June 19, 2010.

For complete results and information about Ride & Tie, visit: www.rideandtie.org

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