A respected American endurance horse, a 27-year-old Icelandic called Remington, has rescued two troubled runners in the Santa Barbara 100-mile marathon.
Remington and his owner John Parke have patrolled the final 30 miles of the marathon, through remote and rugged parts of the Santa Ynez mountains, every year.
Usually there are few incidents, but this year John reacted to two—finding the first at the 75-mile mark.
“I told him to just hang onto the mane and the horse would continually rebalance underneath him to keep him on,” John told Horse & Hound. He delivered him to safety four miles away.
With barely enough time to eat, they went out again and found a dehydrated and hallucinating runner: “I asked him if he could walk,” John said. “He did not make it 10 feet. We were nowhere near where a vehicle or helicopter could get to him.
“So I asked if he had ever ridden a horse. He said no. I told him, then this is your lucky day. I wrapped the space blanket and formed a tent over Remington’s back. The idea was that the considerable heat Remington was generating would funnel up the space blanket. It worked like a charm.
“Five miles later, we walked into the aid station while it was still dark.”
Remington was inducted into the American Endurance Ride Conference’s Hall of Fame last year for longevity, having accumulated 11,300 career endurance miles. He has completed 10 rides of 100-miles length.
Parke says that some people think Remington is too small or too old, but says he was a hero to two runners that night. John Parke bought Remington for his family in 1994.