The first time I read this and prepared to write I was thinking show as in television program. I had nothing to write about because we don’t have cable, Netflix, Hulu, a fire stick or any other such device. Reading it again though perhaps it is talking show as in competition. I’ll go with that.
I’ve been to only two shows since changing disciplines and well neither would be a favorite. However I did go to numerous endurance venues and have a favorite there so I’m going to run with that.
My favorite place for endurance is Biltmore for a lot of reasons although if I go back it won’t be to the large FEI dual sanctioned spring event. Instead I’ll stick with the infinitely more friendly fall AERC only ride
What makes Biltmore so fantastic? For me it has to be the fact that while this is not a point to point ride, there are enough trails that in 100 miles you don’t repeat anything. Each time you go out it is to tackle a new challenge, see new sights and enjoy a change of pace. Having a central ride camp makes self crewing a breeze as well as you can just stroll over to your camp spot for the hold and you are never that far from help should the need arise.
The trails themselves are what make the ride. It is such a great mix of open, flat access roads to make time on and twisting, winding single track in the woods. While there is a ton of gravel (I decided to show Gem for the 100 although we had completed a 25 there barefoot no issue) there are enough places to move over and get off that you could go barefoot if you wanted that hassle.
It is deceiving in it technicality as well. With no single steep climb it is easy to assume that the ride is relatively flat however this assumption has cost a completion to many a rider. The total elevation gain and loss is just shy of that if the Old Dominion ride which is The Beast of the East. Biltmore is no flat race track and has a high number of pulls for tying up compared to other rides. People don’t take those small gains seriously enough. The ride is almost always going up or down a hill.
The fact that it is at the historic Biltmore estate is the icing on this proverbial cake. The house can be seen on a few different loops and riding it always sends you back in time.
Access to Biltmore is getting harder each year. They used to host two hunter paces each season but have pulled out as well as banishing the ride and tie event that was there each fall. Last year they canceled the fall endurance ride and I am not sure if they will allow it back or not. I don’t know if something happened or if they got a new manager who doesn’t want the horse presence there, but it is a real shame to lose access to those trails. You can always purchase a day pass for an obscene amount of money or a $250 year pass but I live just far enough away to make a day trip not viable on a routine basis.
I’m looking forward to getting Gem our to more jumper shows to learn the venues around me in this sport.