Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Arabian Silk: Horses of Endurance

Yesterday, I found out that this week is the 1st annual Duke City Documentary Film Festival. From last Sunday through this Friday, there will be films all day long at four theaters downtown. I managed to go to my first film on Tuesday night, Arabian Silk: Horses of Endurance. 

The film was showing at 5:30 at a coffee shop called Village Roaster. I googled it and proceeded to the address listed, directly from work. Alas, there was no coffee shop at that address! I called my son and he went on the internet but couldn't find any alternate address so I decided to go to the KiMo Theater where some of the films were being shown. After driving around the block twice looking for a parking space, I finally managed to find a parallel parking space on the street across from the theater. As I turned off the engine, I noticed that the building I was parked in front of was the Village Roaster! I went in to a tiny little coffee shop and then down the hallway into a large meeting room with a big screen TV set up playing the movie. It was very dark as I tried to find an empty seat and it was too bad that I had come in late because as I sat down, they were talking about a horse and rider falling off the trail during the Tevis Cup ride??

The movie was primarily about Roger DeSoi (De-swa), an Arabian horse, and his owner, Jerry Zebrak as they competed in the Virginia City 100 mile endurance race. The film said that this is the only race where the riders begin at a saloon and at a cemetery. Jerry had bred several endurance Arabians and they all carried the surname of DeSoi which means silk, Armanda DeSoi, Atina DeSoi, etc., since he acquired his first mare by that name. With all his official rides, Jerry has covered something like 30,000 miles~and much, much more if you consider the practice miles! 

Endurance riding is the fastest growing equestrian sport in the world and is currently held in 53 countries. The film also concentrated on a Japanese race that Atina raced in. It must have been very hard to set out a 100 mile course on 60+ acres of land. The competitors wore GPS units to track their paths because they had to backtrack and zigzag so much. They went up and down the one mountain four different times! It was amazing for me to think about Endurance Riding in Japan!

The film talked about the Arabian horse as the predominant breed of choice for endurance riding. It is said that Allah created the horse from the four winds: spirit from the north, strength from the south, speed from the east, and intelligence from the west. Allah gave horses flight without wings. The film covered the beginnings of endurance racing in the 60s and even discussed the Pony Express riders of the old west. Also, did you know that one of the requirements of calvary horses was to cover 60 miles a day for 6 days in a row? I didn't, until last night.

There were humorous parts, painful parts, failures, and accomplishments. The motto of the endurance rider is "To Finish is to Win". An interesting part was where they talk about how they continue to ride far into the night to finish the 100 miles within 24 hours. One of the riders mentioned how hard it is to ride in total darkness, dependent solely on the horse. She mentioned that riders sometimes get vertigo and should practice. I can relate. I have ridden in the dark and I do get vertigo. It's a very strange sensation to experience forward motion beyond your control and, at the same time, not be able to see where you are going.

I met Christine Lazzarini, director, after the movie and complemented her on her fantastic documentary about endurance riding. I was amazed when she said that she knew nothing about horses before this film because she made a great film. It is both educational and entertaining and I could tell it was well received by both horsey and non-horsey folks. 

She said that the DVD is available for purchase at her website and I promised her I would do my best to spread the word. Here are some trailers of the film.


Dunappy said...

WOW that's cool! I'm going to go check that one out! Thanks for posting it.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Endurance is fascinating. I would enjoy watching that film. I like documentaries anyway, but ones with horses are even better.

You reminded me of the rides I took with you at night. They were a little scary because the moon wasn't out to give some light, but it was exciting, too, especially riding Nadia out on the roads near our houses.


Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

I can't imagine why you picked that film? Just kidding. Sounds great and I'm glad it worked out for you.


Oregon Equestrian said...

I've heard about this movie but haven't yet had the opportunity to see it.

For endurance racers, the "best conditioned" award is valued as much if not more than crossing the finish line first.

Crystal said...

that sounds like a really cool movie!