Green Mountain Horse Association to host Annual Distance Days

Featuring 80th Anniversary of the Historic 100-mile ride

SOUTH WOODSTOCK, Vt. – Home of the longest continuously running 100-mile ride in the country, Green Mountain Horse Association will celebrate its trail heritage with its annual Distance Days held September 2-4, 2016. Trail rides will range from the 6-mile long pleasure ride to the flagship 80th Anniversary 100-mile ride along with banquets, BBQ’s, and other unmounted fun for all to enjoy.

The 80thAnnual 100-mile ride is the centerpiece of the weekend’s activities. The ride will traverse 40 miles on the first day, 35 on the second, and the final 25 on day three.  It will cover terrain in the towns of: Woodstock, Reading, Hartland, West Windsor, and Hartford, while visiting such historic and classic Vermont landmarks as the Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park and the Taftsville Covered Bridge. Spectators are welcome and encouraged to cheer riders on at several scenic look out points along the route.

For horses (and riders) not quite up to the challenge of the three-day 100-mile ride, GMHA is offering the inaugural “100-Mile Team Relay”.  There are several ways to participate—teams of 2-3 riders can get together, with each rider responsible for riding only one or two days of the 100 mile trail; alternatively, one rider could ride two or three different horses at each of the shorter distances.  Each team members’ final score for their leg or legs of the ride will be averaged together to come up with their relay total.

A trail rider and her mount negogiating  the Goldsmith River.
A trail rider and her mount negogiating the Goldsmith River.

Competitive riders may also choose to compete over several shorter rides that will be held over the course of the weekend, options are available at 60, 40, 35, 25 and 15-mile distances.  And all riders are invited to participate in the extremely popular pleasure rides that are held concurrently with the competitive distance rides.  Pleasure rides will be offered at short (6-8 miles), medium (12-15 miles) and long (20 miles) distances on Friday and Saturday, with 6 or 10-mile ride options available on Sunday.  Pleasure riders looking for an extra thrill can sign up for the 50- Mile Pleasure Horse Challenge—these riders will cover 20 miles on Friday and Saturday, and 10 miles on Sunday, all at their own pace.  Horse and rider teams that complete the fifty miles will receive a special prize during Sunday’s awards ceremony.

Special events over the weekend include the 100-Mile Banquet, to be held at the Woodstock Country Club and chaired by longtime Woodstock resident Mrs. Nancy Lewis, who rode in the 1946 100-mile ride. A special presentation by historian and author Dale Johnson at the banquet will spotlight the role of the historic Woodstock Inn Stables in the early years of the ride.  Riders will also have a chance to thank landowners for their support at the catered BBQ on Friday, allowing a fun and informal opportunity to share memories and fun. Between the finish and awards ceremony on Sunday, 100-mile alumni will gather for a Longtimer’s Reunion.  Finally, Sunday’s awards ceremony will follow the traditional catered brunch.

Distance Days is a fun and unique opportunity for trail riding equestrians to celebrate friendship, sportsmanship, horsemanship, and love.  Organizers hope that all equestrians who love the challenge of riding out of arena boundaries through the breathtaking terrain of the Kedron Valley will come out to participate in this year’s event.

Founded in 1926, the Green Mountain Horseman’s Association is the oldest continuously operating horse organization in the country. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, GMHA is dedicated to holding equestrian events, educating equestrians of all ages, and preserving trails and open space.

For more information, please visit www.gmhainc.org , or contact Chelle Grald, Trails Manager, at michelle@gmhainc.org or 802-457-1509

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