My photo assignment on opening weekend of the World Equestrian Games (WEG) was Endurance. A 100-mile race, the Endurance course had six different loops that traversed through the Kentucky Horse Park and farms in the area. After each loop the riders and horses returned to the start/finish area where horses were cooled down, inspected by veterinarians, and rested before resuming the next loop of the race.

WEG 2010 endurance start

I followed a similar routine through the day. After photographing the pre-dawn start at 7:30 am, two vans took 20 photographers and their gear onto the course loops where we photographed the race. We would return for the cool down and vet inspection and then repeat the cycle.

WEG 2010 endurance scene

WEG 2010 endurance scene 2

Fans filled the stands in the start/finish area and cheered on their favorites as they returned after each loop. Other fans followed in cars to watch as these amazing athletes raced through the countryside. Farm owners held parties to watch the race wind through their properties.

WEG 2010 endurance veterinary check of horse

Cooling down an endurance horse at WEG 2010

Crossing the finish line first, Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton of Spain (#1) aboard her horse Nobby was the individual gold medal winner of the Endurance World Championships, presented by Meydan.

WEG 2010 endurance individual gold medal winner Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton of Span aboard Nobby

Team gold was won by United Arab Emirates (team members #3, 5, 10) shown below with Ponton and Nobby as well as Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (#7).

Team gold was won by United Arab Emirates (team members #3, 5, 10) shown below with Ponton and Nobby as well as Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (#7). The winners crossed the finish about 7 pm. The race ended at 10:30 when the final competitors finished.

Meet and Greet

Tim Smith, WEG shuttle bus driver, Mobile, Alabama

Tim Smith

Working the first shift from 5 am to 3 pm daily, Smith drives the Route 5 Spectator Shuttle. The owner-operator of Kingdom Coach, Smith works major events around the country. The affable and courteous Smith is an SEC fan and happy to talk college football.