Idaho Falls

East Idaho Outdoors – April 2020

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56 IDAHO FALLS MAGAZINE APRIL 2020 Today, Cobbley and her husband both compete in the sport. The couple has seven horses, three of which are used for the dif- ficult endurance races. Endurance equine racing requires immense dedication, determination and focus. The events involve one rider and one horse riding 50, 75 or 100 miles in one day. Cobbley has completed the longest divi- sion of racing – a full 100 miles. The days are long and start at 5 a.m. The races often take horses and riders through rugged ter- rain. But the real focus of the race is the work a rider does to take care of their horse through the literal ups and downs. "One of the best things about endur- ance as opposed to showing horses is that nobody cares what kind of horse you have, or how shiny it is, or how your tack matches, or what kind of rig you pull up in," Cobbley said. "All they care about is how well you take care of your horse before, during and after a race." Competing horses are examined by a veterinarian before, dur- ing and after a race. If a horse looks unwell, the rider is asked to stop. This happened to Cobbley on her second, and most recent, 100-mile race through the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. After 85 miles with 17,000 vertical feet of uphill riding and 22,000 vertical feet of downhill riding, the veterinarians deter- mined that her horse's back was too sore to continue, and she was pulled from the race. While there are placement awards for fin- ishing these races quickly, "The big award everyone really wants to get is best condi- tion, which is entirely based on your horse and how he looks an hour after he finishes," Cobbley explained. The connection between a horse and its rider is paramount to endurance riding. And it's something that can be enjoyed at all ages. "It's a very family-friendly sport. We have lots of awards for juniors," she said. "We have people out there riding thousands of miles a year that are 70. It's about horsemanship. As long as you can hang with your horse and not be a burden, you can keep doing this sport." She also uses her passion for endurance riding to expose others to the great Idaho outdoors. Each July, Cobbley organizes a three-day ride outside of Spencer, Idaho. Participants have a chance to connect with their horses while they enjoy scenic Idaho. In line with the family-friendly nature of the sport, kids ride free. And like Cobbley's favorite activities: It's sure to be a great ride. IF Cobbley and her horse have been on rides up to 100 miles that cover 17,000 vertical feet of uphill riding and 22,000 vertical feet of downhill trails. (Photo by Lori McIntosh of Gore/ Baylor Photography) Jessica Cobbley is an e-learning technologist at INL's Advanced Test Reactor Complex

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