| Heathers Blog |
Thursday, 30 September 2010
I am currently in New Mexico. Yesterday we were going up a hill and lost power and then Jeremy saw something smoking from behind us. Our trailer bearing melted and then melted the brakes on the rear right. After calling US rider and figuring out the details we unloaded the horses on the highway and Jeremy started to take the wheel off when we realized that Smitty was choking.
Smitty probably had been choking for a while as Sam had green slimy spit on his side that was nearest to Smitty. We gave Smitty some water and he was able to drink a bit but he was still not right. After some magnesium being syringed to him and not letting him eat he came around.
Jeremy went back to removing the tire and then we limped our three tired trailer to the town behind us. They had all of the parts except for one, of course! The part was ordered and would be there in the morning.
We got directions to an arena on the edge of town. We unloaded the boys and as we were getting settled it became clear that Wednesday nights in Santa Rosa NM were the team roping night at this arena.
There were only about 6 riders. They loaded the steers into the shoots and chased them down. Jeremy decided to saddle up Kingley and play around a bit. Kingley was great. He ran out of the shoot and chased the steer that weren't going to be roped. Kingley was fast to chase them down, he would even snake his head down at them. Jeremy and I also rode one of the cowboys quarter horses, good times.
We are off to get the repair done and hit the road.
PS Sam looks great!!
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Wow and damn all at once. Sam was totally great today, amazing to say the least. We ran with the big dogs today and it almost worked. I was 4th over all but then failed my last trot out for a mild but consistent hind end lameness. I am proud as hell of what Sam did today.
He finished in 7:40 and was 5 min behind the reigning world champion, who is now the 2 time world champion. Sam's fastest 100 before this was his only 100, which he did in 9:57 at Git R Done. That is right, this was his 2nd 100. Jeremy and I are very excited in spite of the pull.
At the finish I was with a French rider and I decided to take the risk and race in just in case one of the first 3 riders got pulled. Sam ran like the wind and was so cheerful about it.
I really feel that the hind end lameness is due to his lack of 100 mile experience and that he has one hell of a bright future as a world class endurance horse. Sam is only 9 years old so I can look forward to many future World Championships with him in mind.
I am totally exhausted but I just wanted to let you know how it went and I felt about what happened today.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Wow, I am soooo tired right now. It is 10 pm, we have been going non stop since 7 am so sorry if this is brief. The USA team is: Lindsay Graham, Heather Reynolds, Jan Worthington and Meg Sleeper. Our individual is now Deborah Reich. All 5 horses vetted in and we are all set to go.
It was about 82 degrees today and it looks like it could rain tonight. Then it should be warm again. Good for us, hopefully it will be hot and muggy.
I do not know how many horses vetted in, there were a few that did not pass the vet in. Originally there were supposed to be about 109 starters, so now there are less.
Today we did too many things to rehash. It ended with us marching in the opening ceremonies. It was great to march with all of the other USA disciplines. We all walked grouped together as one nation rather than by discipline. Jan walked just behind the flag bearer with the 14 year old vaulting competitor, they represented the USA's youngest and oldest competitors, very cool.
All of us, including the dressage riders were sporting the western theme. We had Ariat jeans, black pointy cowboy boots a western shirt, black belt, red white and blue ascot ties and big cowboy hats on. We also were all holding USA flags that we waved. The stadium was packed and they all went wild when the USA came in. Pretty amazing feeling to have all of that support. It is the most support that the USA has ever had, as we are finally on our home court.
We cut out almost right away so that we could get to bed. Too bad we have to race right after that because it would have been cool to watch.
I have to sleep, I will try to tell more details after the race for sure.
Wish Sam and I luck as well as the 4 other USA riders. We are going to do great!!
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Sorry, I have not had internet until now. We had to move out of the hotel for the second time right before they decided who would make the team so I have not written since.
Our team which you have probably heard by now is:
Ellen Rapp on Berjo Smoke
Meg Sleeper on Syrocco Harmony
Jan Worthington on Golden Lightening
Heather Reynolds on Ssamiam
Our individual is:
Lindsay Graham on Monk
Deborah Reich on DJB Juniper
We were all on pins and needles to hear who would make it. After our final trot out for the selectors we were all relieved because at that point we had done all we could and it was now up to the committees to decide.
We were waiting from about 10 am until 4:30 pm. A long day to say the least. Then when they did announce the team they did so in alphabetical order and started with Ellen Rapp so poor Lindsay thought she had not been selected, then they announced the individual after that. She was overwhelmed.
That night we went out for Mexican and had many pitchers of Margaritas. Roger Yohe was pouring and he even had the same color shirt on as the wait staff. As a joke Lindsay told a waiter that it was Roger's birthday and the whole staff came out and plopped a huge sombrero on Roger's head and sang happy birthday very loudly in Spanish. It was super funny.
The days are now starting to move more quickly. Today we went to the horse park and got our uniforms and credentials. It was really fun, this is the best s.w.a.g. (stuff we all get) we have ever gotten! The jackets are really cool too. We did not get all of the clothes that we will be getting as some of the things hadn't arrived yet.
We also got our tack that the Distance Depot donated. It is very classy and nice to look at. We will look sharp.
More and more crew are arriving each day. Today we had a lively bucket brigade and bottle hand off session. The horses are liking it too I think. It is warm enough for sure to appreciate the water!
The horses are also starting to get massage work done and they are liking that as well.
I am off to bed.
Thursday, 16 September 2010
Well today was the last day of waiting, sort of. Tomorrow, sometime between 4 and 5 pm we should know who the 5 riders will be.
Last night was not a good sleep night. There is a mouse (there seems to be a personal mouse for each room, they come standard at no additional fee) that keeps visiting us at night. Last night the mouse was feeling very much at home. He was crinkling wrappers. I threw a towel in his direction at one point. This morning I saw what he was up to. He had taken the Coconut M&M wrapper and carried into my sheepskin lined boots and shredded it inside the boot,making a super cozy nest. Bastard. It was almost cute except for that my boot smelled like mouse!
Today was a bummer for us. About a week ago Smitty hurt himself somehow either in his stall or in his turn out. It was a hind end lameness. We noticed a small lump on his hind end that was never there before. It is up in the large muscle area of his hamstring.
Smitty seemed to be doing better day by day and the vet was not too concerned about it so we waited for it to get better. Jeremy iced, lasored and even took Smitty to the hyperberic chamber two times to try to help it heal up the best we could.
Yesterday the horse looked perfect before, during and after his ride. It was the first day since it happened that Jeremy was feeling better about it.
This morning when we trotted Smitty he was just as bad as the day it happened. Jeremy knew that he could make Smitty sound with warming him up but he also knew it would not be fair to Smitty, the team or himself to do this for our final trot out on Friday morning. It was very improbable that Smitty would be able to go 100 miles in 10 days looking the way he does.
Jeremy went to Becky and formally withdrew Smitty today. There is no point in hoping for soundness, making the horse appear sound and then having a very questionable horse at this level, especially at the speed that is needed here.
After this we did our barn chores and headed back to the hotel for our Ariat fitting. We all had to try on jeans for the opening ceremony uniform. After this we took off to hang out alone.
We decided to see a movie that Jeremy had been wanting to see, The Sorceror's Apprentice. Jeremy also was craving ribs so we went to Tony Roma's and had great ribs.
After that we headed back to Shaker Village. When we got back Dan, the grounds manager was getting ready to go out running. Instead of sulking in our room Jeremy went with him at the last minute. I ran down to the barn, literally, and pulled Sam's mane.
While I was at the barn I hung out for a bit with Grace, Michele and Jan. Then I helped Lindsay and Susie bring in the horses for the night. I am now back at the hotel getting ready for bed. Hopefully the mouse doesn't show up tonight.
Keep your fingers crossed for Sam tomorrow.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Above you will see Sam's dinner, now you can see where he gets his goofy side from:)
We have been keeping busy. This past weekend Jim Bryant came here again and trotted all of the horses. I think he was happy with the over all group.
On Saturday morning our group was asked to be the guest speakers for the annual Al Khamsa (SP?) convention. At the last minute the speaker that they originally had could not make it so we became the show. Their group was very nice. The club is based on having horses bloodlines that go back to Bedouin blood on all lines of their pedigree, or so I understood it, sorry if I have it wrong.
After our speech about the WEG endurance team we headed out and had brunch at Cracker Barrel. After we were all fed we headed over to Spy Coast.
Spy Coast is a hunter jumper barn. It is a stunning facility. The barn was immaculate, airy and state of the art. We all admired the barn. Spy Coast arranged for the USA team to park our trailers on their property which is great, as it will be the closest possible place for us to park next to the crew area for ride day. We were also able to view the crew lay out from their property.
While we were there we saw Ivanhoe, Michelle Roush's mount. Spy Coast is the proud owner of this mare.
On Sunday we were all doing drills with the horses so that they were prepared for any loud or surprising things going past them on ride day. That was fun, Sam thought it was a good time, running past his friends.
After the drills we headed out for a ride, practicing bottle hand offs and bucket brigade when we returned.
In the late afternoon we went to the Al Khamsa's annual barn tour and dinner. This was held at Nancy Bliss's place. We saw 13 Al Khamsa horses. It was a fun evening and we couldn't have asked for a more gracious host.
Yesterday was the riders day off. We all headed off to the Horse Park to see the "Gift of the Desert" Arabian exhibit. It was really great, there were things in there that were so ancient. I liked one decorative plaque that was over 4500 years old and it looked almost new, the colors were so vibrant.
We also went to Vonita's office at the USEF building. We saw the desk that moves our paperwork! I finally met Shirley Kostka who is Vonita's stunt double when she is away.
On the way back to the barn Lindsay, Suzy, Chris and I went to Sam's Club to get some WEG apparel. Another day down.
We only have to wait until this Friday until we know where we stand as far as being a rider or a crew member.
Friday, 10 September 2010
Well we have moved out of our rooms for the weekend and we are staying in our trailers. We have been practicing a lot of bullet hand offs on the fly and the horses are getting better.
Yesterday we had a radio interview. Sam was the sound bite for hooves clopping in the background... his moment of fame.
All of the horses are looking good. We did have another horse move into the barn, a cart pony. The good news is that the grounds manager was made aware of our health concerns for our horses and he has put a freeze on any future stall rentals for the rest of our stay. Thank God, or thank Michelle Roush:) We also now have big Quarantine signs on the outside paddocks.
Last night we all went to a Mexican restaurant to have dinner and watch football. It turned out to be Tex Mex. When we opened the menu we had trouble locating the Mex part. After looking for a while we found some items. It was the first time that I had Spanish rice that was white rice with bits of veggies in it. I almost ordered the "Classic Burrito", thinking that would be Mex for me. Then I read that it involved eggs and bacon in the burrito and I thought again.
Skip got here last night and he has been handing off bullets today.
Deborah told us that in her new hotel room, that she went to after Shaker Village, has a rag in the bathroom with a sign that reads something about "Use this rag to clean your gun..." That is a first.
Later today we have more media training and then tomorrow we are speaking at an Arabian Horse Conference first thing in the morning. Our team vet also gets in tonight so tomorrow we will be examined again, our horses that is.
Sam has gotten better at the bullet hand offs. He was getting too smart as he would try to swerve to the left with the person handing water to our right. I would put left leg on and a tight left rein and at the last possible second, when I would let go with my right hand to grab the bottle he would try to swerve to the right, around the person handing us the water. It was the like he was saying "What? I did what you said, I went right!" Damn him. He can be so goofy. Today he was cooperating.
It looks like rain today. I am a bit tired, maybe I will get to take a nap.
Kingley is progressing as far as becoming more interactive with me. Yesterday he came to me when I called. I am sure he was thinking "oh good, my grain person/ groom has arrived".
Tuesday, 07 September 2010
Today was pretty tame. We all met for a 7:30 breakfast at the dining hall of Shaker Village. There were candles on each table as well as pitchers of juice. It was a buffet. Very pleasant, Ellen and my favorite part was the perfectly crispy bacon. It is rare to find it done the way we like it.
After the breakfast we had a brief meeting and headed to the barn. We put the first set of horses on the walker.
After the walking, all of the horse/rider combos went one at a time in 15 min increments practicing bullet hand offs. (This is where you get handed a jug of water to pour on your horse as you fly by on horseback). That was fun and time well spent. It was windy so we all got fairly wet.
Jeremy and I rode Sam and Smitty after this. They were great. We did a really nice 12 miles at a rapid clip. They are both looking fabulous! We bathed them and then headed up to our room to change and go to town. It was more or less a half day as far as activities go.
Jeremy got a KY haircut. It was long over do. It turned out pretty good. After the haircut we went and fed Kingley. He is doing good. After all of this we headed back to the hotel and have been relaxing ever since.
It is now raining and there is a pretty good thunder storm going through. Our dog Daisy would hate it as it scares her to death. Lucky for her she is in sunny CA.
Today we had a few issues with day riders getting too close with our horses. There was one who let her horse into Monks empty pen to drink from his water bucket and then proceeded to stand on Monk's hay while bathing her horse. Luckily Lindsay saw all of this and was able to scrub her water bucket and discard the hay before Monk went back in. Also there are now 3 outside pleasure horses housed in our barn. I really hope that the USA team doesn't miss the WEG because of the Flu virus.
Any how it is a bit stressful to say the least. I am now going to go try to relax while watching a movie downstairs on the couch with the team.
Monday, 06 September 2010
We have now been in Shaker Village for a week. Almost all of the riders are here. Meg has not arrived yet but both of her horses have been here and Michelle Roush and her horse arrived yesterday and we got to see Emmit, the ride manager for the World Championship.
Jeremy went straight to work on assembling the Supreme Horse Walker the first day we were here. There was a problem with the fencing as they had not been arranged for. Jason Stasuk fixed that problem with a few phone calls. We are in full operation with the walker going for two sets a day.
The housing we have is nice. All riders got a room and each room has a full bathroom. Jeremy and I got two rooms so Deborah's crew, Emilio is staying in our extra at the moment. Something we were not expecting is that we are on our own for meals and there isn't a place to make food unless you can cook everything in a microwave and store enough stuff for 14 people in one hotel room size fridge!
The horses are healthy and things are looking good. All of the people here are getting along well. The barn is really cool as it is an old Shaker barn. The only bummer is that there is a trail head right at the barn with ample parking for LOTS of day use riders. Each day there are at least 10-50 horses coming right in our area on their way to the trails. No one is checking coggins so I hope that they are healthy horses passing through.
Jim Bryant came here this Saturday and left on Sunday. He trotted and examined everyone. That was our first inspection. Sam and Smitty both looked great.
The last two nights we have had team movie nights. The first night we watched The Hangover and last night we saw Wedding Crashers. Very fun.
On our first night here, as a team we went to the brand new local steakhouse. It is in a beautiful building and the food is good but the service has a bunch of kinks to get worked out. We happened upon Karioke (SP?) night.
Today we had a day off. Smitty and Sam were supposed to have a day off too but ended up in the walker. I might not take next Monday off.
Jeremy and I went to a town to try to get a pad insert for Sam's saddle but they didn't have it and while we were there we took the opportunity to go to Starbucks. Oh the comfort of familiar goodness.
After we got back Jeremy took a nap and I went and took care of Kingley. He had a bath and some grain while being groomed, a perfect afternoon for him.
At 4 pm the riders and a few grooms went on a river boat tour. That was peaceful and pretty. It lasted an hour. There were tall rock cliffs that we floated by. We saw some small fish jumping and a blue heron fly into some trees. Us adrenaline junkies were talking about rather being on wave runners or a speed boat! Endurance racers are too fast for a float!
I almost forgot about our dinner at the Golden Corral. This is a buffet with a lot of options. We couldn't figure out how they could break even at $10.00 per person. Dave figured he drank enough sweet tea to make up for that $10.
Ceci's final plate of food consisted of watermelon, strawberries, a tall mound of gummy bears and M&M's and a slice of peperoni pizza! To give you a better picture, imagine the watermelon melting the color off of the M&M's and swirling around with all of the above. Pretty colorful.
We just got back from the barn where the guys were trying to rebuild the wall of the historic barn that a team mates runaway truck had met up with earlier today. The fun never ends.
I will try to keep up a little better than I have been as I now have better internet service.
On another note congratulations to Stirgess and Roof on completing their third 50 at the Camp Far West ride this weekend. They were carrying Megan Robinson and Breanna Chamberlin. Thank you both for getting these guys through.