Photo courtesy of Becky Pearman.

A 27-year-old horse currently holds the record for being the oldest equine competitor to finish the Tevis Cup race. Will he hold his title for another year?

The Tevis Cup is a challenging endurance race held annually in California. Riders train their horses intensively to prepare for the 100-mile course, and many still aren’t able to complete it. In 2018, only 64 of 149 entrants crossed the finish line. Among the victors were veterinarian Dr. Claire Godwin and her horse, PL Mercury. Affectionately known as “Merc”, he’s 27 years old, and the oldest horse to complete the Tevis Cup.

This isn’t the first time Merc has set a Tevic Cup record. The 14-hand Arabian gelding became the oldest horse to complete the race in 2017 as well, finishing in just under 22 hours. Last year, he and Dr. Godwin crossed the finish line in 13th place, four hours and 19 minutes sooner than his previous time. Merc broke his own record, and secured his position as the oldest equine finisher for another year.

When Dr. Godwin first purchased Merc as a hobby horse for her kids, she never imagined he would become a record-setting endurance champion. “I’m so glad I was able to finish, especially so strongly, on this wonderful ride with Merc,” says Claire. “It meant everything to me.”