Upcoming Tevis Cup to Include Missouri Fox Trotter
The 2022 Western States 100-Mile One-Day Trail Ride kicks off July 16. The MFTHBA office received the information below about a rider that will be riding a Missouri Fox Trotter at this year’s Tevis Cup. We wanted to share this information with our followers. Nyah and Foxfires Little Britches are number 110. There is a second Missouri Fox Trotter in the race. Danney Joe’s Prime Time Lady is listed on the 2022 Tevis Cup ride list as competing with junior rider, Kinley Thunehorst. This team is number 57. We wish both these teams a safe trip July 16 and encourage all Missouri Fox Trotting Horse enthusiasts to cheer them on as they compete in this historic race.
The following information was submitted by JayaMae Gregory.
The Tevis Cup Ride (formally known as the Western States 100-Mile One-Day Trail Ride) traverses 100.1 miles on the historic Western States trail, which runs from Tahoe to Auburn. It is considered the most difficult endurance horse event in the world and Time magazine named it one of the Top Ten Toughest Endurance Events, alongside other tough races as The Tour De France and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Horse and rider teams begin at an early 5:15 am on the day of the ride and have 24 hours to complete the ride, covering rugged terrain which includes 14,800 feet of elevation gain and 20,900 feet of elevation loss. Horses must pass veterinary inspections along the route and less than 50% of those who start will actually finish the ride.
This year, young rider Nyah Hawkins of Chico, CA will be attempting the Tevis Cup ride for the first time. Nyah was 2 years old when she first rode a horse and she’s been hooked ever since. Horses have helped her overcome some very difficult times in her life. When Nyah was only 5 years old, her 5 month old sister, Mia, went into complete kidney failure from a rare genetic disease called Primary Hyperoxaluria Type 1. Nyah accompanied her mother and sister to all of her sister’s hemodialysis appointments until Mia finally got a combined liver and kidney transplant at 16 months of age.
Several years later, Mia’s kidney failed. In 2018, at only 19 years old, Nyah donated a kidney to save her sister’s life. Because Nyah was so young, she had to convince a panel of transplant surgeons, social workers, and psychologists that she understood the gravity of the decision she was making donating her kidney and leaving herself with only one functioning kidney. She also had to pass a battery of tests to make sure she was healthy enough to be a donor for her sister. She did all this within 5 days because Mia’s health was rapidly declining and she needed a new kidney immediately.
Nyah had been home less than 3 months, adjusting to life with only one kidney, when the devastating Camp Fire struck her hometown in Paradise and destroyed her family’s home, leaving them displaced and destroying their community.
As if this wasn’t enough, Nyah’s youngest sister, born 8 years after Mia, was battling childhood leukemia.
Nyah found healing in a horse named Lady, an older skittish polish Arab who had lost trust in most humans after being mishandled. Nyah used to sit in a round pen and read aloud to Lady so that she would get used to her voice, her smell, and her presence. Eventually, Nyah was able to ride Lady and the two were inseparable, until Lady’s passing 4 years later.
This is when Nyah found a friend in a Missouri Fox Trotter named Asali.
Foxfire’s Little Britches, or Asali as she’s known around the barn, is owned by a woman named JayaMae Gregory. JayaMae is a Registered Nurse, as well as the owner of Lightfoot Horse Farm. She began as Nyah’s riding instructor 7 years ago and quickly became a friend and mentor. Nyah has been leasing Asali from Lightfoot Horse Farm for the last few years, solidifying a beautiful bond with her. When Nyah began competing in 50 mile races with Asali and showing interest in attempting the 100-mile Tevis Cup ride, it was decided she should ride Asali in the Tevis this year.
Asali may seem like an underdog — she is, after all, a Missouri Fox Trotter, in a sport dominated by Arabs. She is also 22 years old, not in her prime. But, Asali has been competing in endurance for more than a decade and is the only Missouri Fox Trotter to have completed the Tevis Cup more than once. She has 3 Tevis buckles to her name — two with JayaMae and one with JayaMae’s son, Jakob. She is also the only Missouri Fox Trotter to have ever completed six 100-mile races. When she crosses the finish line this year, it will be her seventh 100-miler, earning her a silver medal with the American Endurance Ride Conference, the governing body for the sport of endurance in the United States.
On July 16th, there will be somewhere around 138 horse and rider teams at the start in Tahoe, all of them hopeful to make it 100 miles to Auburn in 24 hours or less. Asali will be one of only two Missouri Fox Trotters in a sea of Arabs and other horse breeds, and it’s pretty likely Nyah will be the only rider with one kidney, riding for one simple reason — because it is what she has always done, and horses have healed her in some of her toughest times.