The 2011-2012 racing season came to a dramatic conclusion after five thrilling races.
The Beryl Cup
Seven riders made their way to Duillond to participate in the Beryl Cup on April 20th. The beautiful spring weather and bright sunlight gave the race a festive atmosphere. Besting his previous win at the Haunted Horse Race of 2011, Andeon crossed the finish line well ahead of the other riders. Black horse Ichabod was replaced by Annudir, a pale golden summer steed with great stamina. Newcomer Winterblues made her debut on Malledhrim horse Riverwind and finished in second place. Joining them on the list of riders qualified for the Bree Cup, Celthlas and Autumnfest horse Morngond galloped across the line in third place.
The Moonstone Cup
Four riders braved the cold Gondamon night to participate in the Moonstone Cup on April 21st. The route was longer than last year’s and included a dangerous cliff drop at the south tower of Ringdale. The Dourhands were none to happy but the riders galloped past before the wretched dwarves could respond to their trespass. First across the finish line by three lengths was Kiralynn riding blue roan Turion. In an incredible racing debut, Valtharon crossed the line in second place riding Mathom Society steed Silverstone. Talented rider Loviisa finished a solid third on her tundra horse Helleena. Look for Loviisa to be among the winners at the Bree Cup.
The Mathom Cup
There was a lot of activity in Michel Delving as crowds gathered for the Mathom Cup horse race. Fireworks, music and lively conversation kept everyone entertained as the riders registered and went over the rules. The excited crowd placed their wagers with Apis for a chance to win a Perlino mount.
Favorites for the Cup were racing veterans Kaleigh and Twolegs. Kaleigh’s Esteldin steed Dandelion was beautiful and in top condition. I was impressed how well Twoleg’s pony has been trained. They looked calm and confident. With a full race card of eighteen riders, their work was clearly cut out for them.
The competitors were smooth across the start line at the charge. Several horses surged to an early lead, hoping for a clear view of the checkpoints. The run up to the grain silo proved challenging for inexperienced riders whose horses balked at the fence jumps.
In the back stretch, the riders were challenged to find the shortest path to Waymeet and three ruined pillars marking the second turn. Hobbits of the Shire, familiar with the farmland surrounding Michel Delving, had a slight advantage. The thunder of hooves was more than enough to frighten away the shrews and wolves that often prowl those fields.
The final length saw Eothriel and Rynwyn make a break for the lead, but the long track proved too much for their bay and summer steeds. At the finish line, it was racing newcomer Fridfred on a Hengstacer-bred blood bay horse that galloped to an astounding finish, leading by several lengths. Aothain and Esteldin steed Kharanos crossed the line into second place, while Kaleigh brought her horse in third. These three will join the twelve other riders who have already qualified for the Bree Cup championship race.
In fourth place, Aedrec and Eglain horse Outcast made a good showing. No one in the crowd wagered on the winning horse, so Apis entered all event attendees into the drawing for the Perlino mount. Indilwing’s name was drawn from the hat with a flourish.
The Mithril Cup
Racing fans made their way to Gondamon on Friday night for the prestigious Mithril Cup. Fireworks and music were provided by the Lonely Mountain Band’s famous ensemble, “Old Winyards”. Kiralynn handled rider registrations while Lhinnthel took wagers from the well-dressed crowd. A light snowfall started just before post time, making the wintry landscape even more beautiful.
Floradine and Lennidhren acted as sponsors for young and visiting riders. Several faces were familiar from the Mathom Cup, including Varillia, Euriel, and Aedrec. These bold riders had missed their first shot at the Bree Cup but were back for another run.
Racing veterans Eryngil and Eliwren made an appearance, joining thirteen other riders hoping to win a coveted slot in the Bree Cup championship race. Many wagers were placed on Eliwren and her blonde sorrel horse Saydrie, who are known for their aggressive training techniques. Eryngil brought an untried horse, a fireworks-laden steed named Fiona Firehair. There were quiet whispers questioning the wisdom of entering with a horse carrying an extra burden.
Cheers went up as Kiralynn sounded the Call to Post. Riders lined up at the start to await the charge signal. Anticipation was high as each rider silently wondered if his horse had the courage and endurance to cross the finish line first. Many in the audience held their breath as the race master moved into position. With a resounding charge, they were off! The crash of hooves on the hard granite ground was nearly deafening.
Early in the race, several riders went wide, unable to find their path through the heavy snowfall. Dourhand dwarves challenged the lead riders at the second checkpoint but had no chance of catching their swift steeds. Several riders choose a dangerous path down the cliff at Ringdale and dropped out of the running when their horses suffered injuries. In the back stretch, Cery and Aithne turned up the heat and put pressure on the front-runners. At the finish line, it was Tarsolo on blue roan Blue Moon who claimed first place. Euriel and Grey Company horse Fire of Eternal Glory spurred ahead of Eliwren by less than a nose.
Perhaps because of his rider-in-a-box costume, Tarsolo was the only person to bet on the winning rider. In addition to his twenty-five gold prize, he proudly rode away on a Perlino mount.
The Longbottom Leaf Cup
Hopeful riders joined an excited crowd in Michel Delving in preparation for the Longbottom Leaf Cup, the final qualifier race of the season. People from all over Middle Earth were seen enjoying the pleasant weather and beautiful scenery of the Shire. Pipe weed was plentiful and given out freely, befitting a race of this name.
Race master Harperella organized over a dozen riders, explaining the race rules and escorting them on a pace lap of the course. Meanwhile, the crowd wagered on their favorites, hoping to win a Perlino mount of their own. Racing veterans Runesdaeg and Twolegs also registered. Runesdaeg is no stranger to horse racing, though he is more often a judge than a rider.
At the sound of the Call to Post, the riders made their way to the start line. Three riders prepared to make their second or third attempt to qualify for the championship race – Eryngil, Tarwing, and Amaluwen. The pressure on Runesdaeg and Aedrec mounted as racing fans continued to place wagers on them. With a shout and the drop of her hand, Harperella signalled the start of the race.
The riders galloped to the South Fields, charging across the town as hobbits cheered from behind the fences. In the back stretch to Waymeet, the challenging terrain proved too much for many of the riders. Several horses stumbled on the steep hills. Urging their mounts to greater speed, three horses broke from the pack at the windmill turn. At the finish line, there was no question who had won the day.
Twolegs on Mathom Society pony Mirth galloped past his cheering fans into first place. The determination of Aedric paid off as he rode his Eglain steed Outcast into second place. Cuilirin brought Summerfest horse Greenfield across the line in a strong finish for third. Since no one had wagered on Twolegs, everyone in attendance was entered into the drawing for the Perlino mount. One name was selected at random, and Amaluwen rode home on a fancy new horse.
The Bree Cup
As the horse parade ended, all eyes turned south toward the Woodsman’s Gate, where nearly two dozen expert riders gathered for the start of the Bree Cup championship race. Only riders who had proved themselves in a qualifier race by finishing first, second or third were allowed to participate. The first qualifier race was the Winter Derby, hosted at Thorin’s Hall in January. There were seven qualifier races in all. The final list of riders included Aedric, Alliman, Andeon, Aothain, Calatharan, Celthlas, Cuilirin, Eliwren, Euriel, Fridfred, Godwineson, Guldrion, Isaewyn, Kaleigh, Kiralynn, Loviisa, Nathandir, Tarsolo, Twolegs, Valtharon, and Winterblues.
Small groups of friends and family gathered for picnics and pipeweed, standing safely behind the low stone wall surrounding Town Hall’s courtyard. During the pace lap, daring racing enthusiasts positioned themselves on rooftops around Bree, hoping for a better view of the course. There was much anticipation as the Call to Post was played and the riders lined up at the start. Lhinnthel quickly took final wagers while Harperella reminded the riders of the racing rules.
Last year’s champion, Kiralynn of Rohan, brought blue roan Turion up toward the right side of the gate. Andeon on Annudir, second in the rider standings, and Alliman on Hearty, third ranked, also took favorable positions. There was a great deal of crowding and jostling on the line. The horses chomped their bits and showed agitation with pinned ears, swishing tails, high heads and hard stomps. Several horses bolted forward in a false start but were quickly reined in.
A moment later they were off, galloping north through the streets of Bree in a breathtaking display of equestrian power. Kaleigh broke from the post and went to the front. She was challenged by novice rider Tarsolo into the first turn. Calatharan made his move on the back stretch but couldn’t maintain the pace. Kiralynn, Valtharon and Twolegs held position in the middle of the pack, looking for an opening. The riders made the jump at the West Bree gate with remarkable ease. Several horses faded as they passed the Oldstones Gate. Sensing weakness, Alliman urged his horse and took the obvious lead.
Alliman’s horse had both heart and speed, and Hearty crossed the finish line with no signs of tiring. The day was won by two-and-a-half lengths. Andeon was next across the finish line, hotly pursued by Eliwren on blonde sorrel Saydrie. Alliman won the impressive 100 gold purse. All of the top three riders received 500 Turbine Points and account-wide Perlino mounts. Doribolger also won a Perlino thanks to his lucky wager. A spectacular fireworks show saluted their amazing run.
Thus concluded the Spring Racing Carnival. Congratulations to the race winners – Alliman, Andeon and Eliwren! Many thanks to the volunteers who make racing possible – Aldekim, Alinniel, Anarwald, Andeon, Anthemisi, Apis, Byrcha, Calatharan, Carica, Celebari, Gaiagil, Geoffroi, Godwineson, Khizli, Lennidhren, Lhinnthel, Luthmae, Mistion, Mithrilfist, Ranph, Runesdaeg, Sarasti, and Tinki. Special thanks to event hosts Floradine, Harperella and Kiralynn. We also salute the Riders of the Riddermark for their generous donation. Most of all, thank you Seraphina “Celestrata” Brennan, Community Specialist, Turbine Inc. for making our dreams of equestrian glory a reality. We hope to see all of you again at next year’s gala!
Grand Greenfields Gallop – May 6, 2:30pm EST on Laurelin
Brockenborings (Bullroarer party fields east of town), The Shire
Test your skill and mettle in the Grand Greenfields Gallop! Join the Grand Order of the Lost Mathom in Brockenborings, bring your finest pony and be prepared to outwit and outmaneuver your fellows over a challenging course. Compete for wonderful prizes and the admiration of locals and competitors alike!
An annual party, the Grand Greenfields Gallop is where northern hobbits meet to celebrate spring, dress in their finest and impress their favorite lad or lass. Traditionally, they also bring their trusted ponies with them to roam the grassy fields after the long winter. Dancing and merriment fills the day, but the centerpiece of the party is the pony race.
The race around the Greenfields takes place as a knockout competition, where the final champion has proven him- or herself to be a master of all things equine. The route itself honors the work of the local quick post hobbits, who brave both the dangerous wild beasts on the Greenfields as well as grumpy old umbrella-wielding hobbits in their line of work. Join the fun on Sunday, May 6th in Brockenborings!
Shire Riddle Run – May 7, 2:30pm EST on Laurelin
Carme, organizer of the Shire Riddle Run, has sent us information on this exciting event:
Due to the great success of the first Shire Riddle Run, we have decided to run a second game on Monday May 7th at 19:30 BST!
* Do you like competitions and winning stuff?
* Do you think you know the Shire and all its spots well?
* Do you think you are good at riddling?
* Can you run?
If you answered “Yes” to at least one of these questions, then you are heartily invited to join the Shire Riddle Run!
This is a treasure-hunt type of game. Teams will gather at the Mathom House in Michel Delving at 19:30 BST/20:30 CET for the start signal. Please make note of changes from the first run. Team size is now restricted to three players, and Carme would prefer early sign-ups to make management easier.
Walk to Rivendell – May 11, 8:00pm EST on Landroval – South Gate, Bree — Contact Laurefinde
Race in the Fellowship’s Footprints – May 12, 4:00pm EST on Landroval – The Party Tree in the Shire — Contact Mosby
This month’s equestrian feature is the Steed of the Hunter. It is a class mount available through the Turbine store.
Contact Kiralynn if you need reputation items for Bree, Mathom, Wardens, or Rivendell in order to purchase a horse. You can also request monetary assistance in purchasing your first steed. Have spare reputation items? Consider donating them to the ranch to help young riders buy new mounts.
* Clear your active title before the race. This will help the course judges see your name clearly in screenshots. Go to the Character tab (C), click Title, and then click Clear Active. You can also hide your Rank and Surname. Look for “Show Rank” and “Show Surname” at the top of the dialog window and uncheck them.
* You must join a raid group to participate in a race. To make sure the race master can invite you, go to System…. Options… Social Options and check “Enable Fellowship Requests”.
* Make sure that you have secure trade enabled if you win a race. Otherwise, the race master won’t be able to give you a prize. Go to System… Options… Social Options and check “Enable Secure Trade”.
* Taking screenshots of a race? Consider turning off graphical elements that detract from realism. Go to System… Options… UI Settings. Uncheck “My Character’s Name”, “My Fellows’ Names”, “All Player Names”, “Show Rank”, “Show Surname”, “Item Names”, “NPC Names”, “Player Titles”, “Player Kinships”, “Overhead Quest Icons”, “Overhead Non-Quest Icons”, and “Chat Bubbles”.
* To hide the user interface during screenshots, press the F12 key. Press it again to make the interface return.
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