At the conclusion of the 2019 Tevis Cup, head ride veterinarian Mike Peralez, DVM, named ninth-place finisher Monk, ridden by Lindsay Fisher, DVM, of Napa, California, and owned by Chris Martin, of Penn Valley, California, the recipient of the Haggin Cup. The Haggin Cup is awarded to the finishing horse with the best condition during the Tevis awards banquet, in Auburn, California.
Peralez, who practices at Foothill Equine, in Arcadia, California, explained how the entire Tevis vet crew evaluated the Top 10 finishing horses. Each horse trots out and back, and then the rider or a designated handler runs alongside the horse around a chalk outlined 60-foot circle, allowing veterinarians to judge their impulsion and gait. The setup allows for spectators to view the judging, as well.
“We looked at soundness, metabolic recovery, and condition, and then we gathered and discussed our findings,” Peralez said The panel relayed their opinions to members of the Cup Committee. Committee members had also observed the horses and riders in action along the 100-mile trail.
Monk finished one hour and one minute behind Tevis Cup winner Sanoma Blakeley on RA Ares Bay. After trotting a small section of his first circle, Monk increased his speed and attempted to outpace his presenter, Ann Hall.
“I am definitely surprised and overwhelmed,” Fisher told the cheering crowd. She thanked Martin for pairing her with Monk back in 2008 when she was still in veterinary school. “I will always remember the first time I saw Monk, tied to the trailer, head down,” she recalled. “I had no way of knowing Monk would carry me all over the world competing in FEI endurance events.”
Now 17, Monk has completed five Tevis events in a row, always finishing in the Top 10. Monk’s ride time in 2019 was identical to his time in 2018, when he finished fourth. “Monk is a really special horse,” Fisher said. “I can’t describe what he means to me.”
The 2019 Tevis ended with a 53.8% completion rate, slightly better than most years. Peralez theorized that the ride’s later date this year might have given riders more training time, especially in a year with erratic weather.
The 65th Tevis will take place Aug. 1, 2020.