Yes, I am a RAT champion!
RAT is short for Ride and Tie, my favorite new sport combining trail running and horseback riding! This is a fun group of slightly crazy athletes that find it invigorating to race down a rocky hillside trying to avoid being trampled by the hordes of race brain crazy equines pounding down the same trail. My fifteen year old son (a track and cross country runner and equestrian) and I joined this sport just this past year yet managed to be 2020’s man/woman national champions! If you love horses and trail running, this sport is for you. Held all across the country, Ride and Tie events are usually in conjunction with endurance racing with distances ranging from 15-100 miles per race. You alternate running and riding, tying your feisty and hopefully speedy mount to a tree or post to wait for your partner while you race on ahead. At the start of a race my highly opinionated paint pony Leo takes exception to this tie part, until eight to ten miles in he becomes grateful for the short rest and possibly grass snack while he waits for his other rider. I’ve raced through sand, swamp, mountains and grasslands, feeling my muscles unwind from riding as I run, then throwing tired legs happy for a rest back into the saddle. My pony thinks my son is his brother, laying his ears back and nipping playfully at him as he passes by. The three of us love to run, and I am thankful to make forever memories with my son and fellow RATs. We get dirty and tired but it’s worth every mile to finish the race and celebrate together by an evening campfire. I finish a race already looking forward to the next one!