CONOVER - Normally when you think of horse races, you think short sprints, but that wasn't the case in Conover on Saturday.
The Northern Highland Endurance Ride brought riders from all over the Northwoods together.
"Often you're out there alone and it's just you and your horse," said longtime rider and veterinarian Taryn Lindbeck.
She says riders and horses share a bond that's strengthened with each mile of long distance endurance riding.
"It's really a partnership. It's not just the person competing on a horse. It's really the two of you competing together," said Lindbeck.
Lindbeck and other vets make sure the horses are healthy enough to compete. Each horse is checked before, in between, and after each endurance ride.
"They have to pass everything or they don't get to continue," said Lindbeck.
Vets make sure the horses are moving smoothly and can physically handle the length of each race. Several horses have already been pulled from competing in this event.
"Anything can happen. You can pull a muscle, you can step in a hole, and you can throw a shoe," said Lindbeck.
A horse named Beno originally planned to run the 50 mile endurance ride with her owner Pam Cotton. After several miles of riding, Cotton said her horse's injury became apparent.
"It sounds like she has a pulled muscle high up in her groin and I talked to the vet for a little while about it and what she thinks happened, was she probably slipped in the field perhaps a few weeks ago and it's just aggravated by a lot of riding," said Cotton.
Since 2003, Cotton has been riding and training horses. Her passion for the sport comes from the relationship she builds with each gentle giant.
"It's a lot of time to reflect and enjoy nature and be in touch with them," said Cotton.
That same feeling is what has kept 14-year-old Ana Holder riding for almost four years and it just so happens that Cotton was the one who got her into endurance riding.
"You just hear the birds and all of the stuff you really don't hear when you're around a lot of other people, but when you're with your horse, you're just connecting," said Holder.
A connection that has brought riders young and old together this weekend.
The Northern Highland Distance Ride will also take place Sunday at the Pioneer Creek Ranch.
Riders of all levels with horses are encouraged to attend.