Toth secures Haggin Cup

Fourth-place finisher gets high marks for horse health
By: Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer
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Rusty Toth, of Durango, Colo., was awarded the Haggin Cup after last weekend's Tevis Cup.

Toth rode Farrabba, otherwise known as Stoner, an 11-year-old Arabian, to a fourth-place finish Saturday night. After the 100-mile ride, Farrabba was not only deemed able to go on by veterinarians at the finish, he was also determined to be in the best condition, securing the Haggin Cup.

The Haggin Cup is reserved for the one horse in the best condition out of the top 10 finishers of the Tevis Cup, which is an annual endurance ride that draws competitors from around the world.

Kathie Perry, president of the Western States Trail Foundation, said vets look at how the horse has recovered throughout the race and evaluate if it would be able to continue riding.

"The key thing is the horse's soundness, if you could get back on that horse and go another 50 miles," Perry said.

During this year's Tevis Cup, 98 of the 205 riders that started the ride crossed the finish line and 40 of those finishers received their first ever completion buckles, according to the Tevis Cup website.

Garrett Ford, also of Durango, Colo., finished first this year with his wife, Lisa, in close pursuit. Kevin Myers, also of Durango, finished in third place with Toth right behind him.

Shannon Constanti, of Auburn, came in at fifth place a little more than an hour after Toth. This was Constanti's fifth Tevis Cup and has placed in the top 10 three times.

Constanti rode her first 55-mile endurance ride when she was just 5 years old and most recently rode in the 2012 President's Cup in Abu Dhabi.

"I'm so fortunate to have been born and raised in a show horse and endurance horse family," Constanti said.

This year she rode Blaze, a 9-year-old Arabian. Blaze is one of six of her horses that rode in this year's Tevis Cup, all of which were marked with the Auburn Alehouse logo.

Constanti also sported an Auburn Alehouse T-shirt throughout the ride in support of her family friends, Brian and Lisa Ford, who own the brewery.

This was Blaze's first Tevis Cup, so Constanti was pleasantly surprised by his stamina.

"Clearly he more than exceeded my expectation. We started nearly last and steadily made our way up to the top 10, passing nearly 200 riders either on the trail, as well in vet checks because we pulsed faster," Constanti said.

Shellie Hatfield, a member of the Western States Trail Foundation's Board of Governors, fell in at eighth place last weekend. Hatfield has finished in the top 10 five times and even tied for first place in 1992.

This year's ride was much more comfortable for Hatfield, who said she has struggled with dehydration in the past.

"I would say no matter what Tevis is difficult on any level any day, but it went rather well for me this year because I typically deal with a lot of dehydration and this year I changed up my personal nutrition," Hatfield said.

Alyssa Stalley, of Williams and the daughter of ride director Chuck Stalley, came in this year in 10th place on Toby, a horse she had never ridden for the Tevis Cup.

Stalley had to change up her horse from her nine previous 100-mile rides because her previous horse, Tiki, broke his leg. Despite losing Tiki, Stalley said Toby was a positive change.

"Sometimes you wonder if these things come together for a reason because I had an awesome ride on Toby," Stalley said.

Despite the overall success of her ride, Stalley said she did feel unlucky, especially when she had a stirrup break and eventually lost two horseshoes on the trail.

"So it was pretty awesome we ended up doing as well as we did, it turned out Toby had a lot of go in him," Stalley said.

Contact Amber Marra at Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.