Monday, June 28 2010
Jeremy and I packed everything up to go to the West Coast Time trial on Wednesday and then went home to get some sleep. We couldn't fall asleep so we watched an episode of House on our laptop. We fell asleep around 11:45. At 2 am I heard Jeremy ask if I was awake, I chose to pretend like I was still sleeping. I heard him get up and realized that he was going to go running!! He was too excited to sleep. I slept until he got back around 2:30 am. He then told me it was time to start our trip.
Up and at 'em!! We caught the horses and started our 11:30 hour drive. It was really uneventful, after the last trip that is a really great thing.
We arrived at the camp around 3pm. There were a number of familiar faces already there. After setting up camp we visited with Sue and Dennis Summers, Christoph and Dianne, Doug Swingley, Charisse and Carl, Andy Bown ( Andy caught wind of Jeremy's diet took it upon himself to keep Jeremy fueled on Chia seed concoctions all weekend. They were great.), Darolyn Butler, Ceci and Jason and all of the Namibian girls that were with Darolyn.
Skip had flown up and landed before we even pulled in so he was there as well.
We prepared our crew stuff, which was super easy as we only had two horses to deal with. Smitty and Sam were the lucky two for this adventure.
When dinner time came, Darolyn told us that her group had set up a reservation at the little store/ restaurant across the street. There were about 10 of us that headed over for dinner. Jeremy was the light eater in the group as he was trying to get his weight down so that he could weigh in at exactly 165 at Friday's weigh in. He stayed for salad only and then left. Good thing he did! Dinner was HUGE!!!! There was salad and fresh baked Beer Batter bread, then cowboy stew followed by the biggest steak that any one of our group had ever seen.
The waitress brought one out and we all thought that maybe it was a roast for the whole table, then we realized that it was "A Steak". As in singular!! She proceeded to bring 9 more of them out. They must have weighed 5 lbs each. They were huge and BB-Q'd perfectly. The steak was accompanied by a double fist sized baked potato. When we were all extremely beyond our stomach capacity the waitress asked us if we wanted heavy cream or ice cream on our fresh berry cobbler!
We all cut up the 3/4 of our steaks that we couldn't eat so that we could make sandwiches out of it over the weekend.
After that dinner, we went back to camp and Carol Giles, who was the trail host and had set everything up for everyone, offered to tour us out on the trail. Everyone loaded up into crew cars in a hurry and followed her out of camp.
The way it was set up was that the staging area would be about 2 1/2 miles out of camp and we wouldn't return to camp until all was said and done. (We had already dropped off our crew gear, including our Easy- Up tent which would self destruct on Saturday when a dirt devil, twister would take it out and it alone).
We drove the 11 mile loop. The footing was terrific. The flagging was a bit different but we all got the hang out it. Carol drove us around and pointed out hazards and then we all stopped at water 1 and she drew us a map so we could see how the loops intertwined. It was getting dark so we all headed back.
On Friday Jeremy and I went for an early ride. The staff was going to arrive around 11 am so we wanted to be done with what we needed to before that, in case we were needed. Smitty and Sam felt perfect.
Becky and Vonita as well as the selectors were there right on time. The vets would pull in around 2 pm. We checked in with Vonita and weighed in as well. Jeremy's dieting had paid off, he weighed 165 with tack and was almost 164!!
When the vets got there we all vetted in. The vets inspected each horse closely and we did our trot outs. There were 19 horses to look at. All but two looked great. 17 would start on Saturday morning.
There was a briefing that evening so that we would all know what the plan was. There were to be three different loops. An 11, 17 and 24 mile loop. We would do the 17, 24, 11, 17, 11. There were vet checks in between each one with varying hold times.
We were also split into groups. Our group was: Jeremy on Sir Smith, myself on Ssamiam, Cheryl Dell on Reason to Believe, Lindsay Graham on Monk and Carol Giles on Galaxy (I do not know the mares full name).
After the meeting we broke off into our own "new team" meeting. The five of us went over how our horses are and worked out riding tactics as a group.
Skip's friend Carl drove from Montana and got to Bend on Friday night. Another friend, Eric, flew in on Friday night as well to help us crew. Eric would be sent out to help at the crew spot on the 24 mile loop to hand off water bullets and give us electrolytes. We didn't get to show Eric how to do them so we planned on giving them ourselves when we got there.
On Saturday morning our group's start time was 8 am. At the beginning of each loop we were given an exact average speed that we were to keep for that loop.
When we came into each check the crews were on it, helping us get the tack off and getting the horses cooled. Sam ended up being the star of the day as far as recoveries went. He was able to come right in and be down in a minute or less. He was really amazing. Our group was really great together. The horses recovered within 3 minutes of each other.
In all it was really exciting to see that the West Coast does have some fast horses. Our group ended up with 3 in it by the end of the 80.3 miles. Monk, Smitty and Sam all looked great. They had gone really fast. We did the 80.3 in under 6 hours. All three horses recovered very fast all day long. We were all really proud of them.
8 out of 17 completed the full course. It was a very challenging day and I think that everyone learned something. I learned that Sam is even better than I thought and that he can really recover!
We found out that Eric had been giving other people's horses electrolytes at the aid station because they would ask for him to do it assuming that he had done it before. Being the cool guy that Eric is he looked at the syringe thrown in his direction, put two and two together and "plunged the stuff down the horses throat!". We had a good laugh about that.
The crew was truly awesome as well. Skip gave everyone on the job training and made sure that every one knew what to do and when to do it. They went through 9,000 gallons of water and $400 worth of ice (and there could have been more ice even!). Kudos to them for helping everyone.
That night we overwhelmed the local restaurant/store. There were probably 40 of us in a place meant to serve 12. This time we were able to talk them into splitting the steaks between people. The meal was fun filled and merry.
At one point Melody came up to us and asked us to be part of some contest she is involved in. She is a personal trainer and apparently she is part of a burpy contest. This is where you drop down and do a push up and then leap up in the air from the ground quickly. Ernie got it in a picture so now she is set for her contest!
In all it was a successful trial. A lot was learned and there were fast sound horses. All good news. On Sunday the horses were vetted out, like a BC judging. Our three group member horses still looked great!
After packing up and saying goodbye Eric, Skip, Jeremy and I hit up the restaurant one last time for a great breakfast. Then we hit the road around 10:30 am.
We had a nice drive home. The north part of Highway 5 is so pretty with Mt Shasta and all of the lakes. We were home by 10 and in bed by 11.
Now we just have to plan the trip to Illinois for the next trial! But wait we will crew in Canada at an FEI ride this weekend and ride Tevis first!
By the way Tim did another Ironman Triathalon this weekend in Idaho and that is why he wasn't at the trial. He did well and was 14th in his age group with a time of 10:08.
Wednesday, June 16 2010
I am so sad from this trip. This was the worst trip that Jeremy and I have ever been on and I hope we never top it as far as the "worst" category. We left for the race with Strut, Tiran, Kutt and Makazin. On the way there we stopped at a pasture that we always use. It is in Paradise Valley Montana. In the morning we came out to catch the horses to load up to drive the last 4 hours to the race and Makazin was missing. Three hours later we found him. He had run through 5 fences and then ran off the edge of a cliff and had broken his neck. We are still completely devastated from this. The other 3 horses were totally fine. We really don't know why he did that, he just must have been scared and running.
We continued to the race. It was raining our entire trip. Jeremy rode the 75 on Tiran. The footing and conditions were really poor from all of the weather and probably worse as it was a really wet winter. Tiran won the ride but then was pulled at the finish with a tight hind end. He was off and that was that.
We decided that we had had enough fun for the year so we left and didn't attempt the 100 that would happen the next day.
On Sunday morning as we packed up I thought that maybe we should have done the 100 as it looked like it was clearing up. I then spoke to some friends that were coming off of the first 25 mile loop. One said that her horse had fallen 3 times already, another had her horse fall and roll over the top of her and might have broken her rib. Later in the day another friend got her horse stuck on its side in a bog for a while. I am glad that we left.
It is a huge drag as we had really been looking forward to FT Howes as it can be really fun.
Makazin is sorely missed.
Sunday, June 06 2010
Skip, Jeremy and I headed out yet again this weekend with the 5 year old crew. This weekend was the polar opposite, weather-wise from last weekend!! The plan was that Skip and Jeremy would ride the same two from last weekend, Tin Roof and Stirgess and I would crew as Strut will be going to FT Howes and it wasn't fair to have him do this one too.
On Tuesday I went out and marked a large section of trail with the ride manager, Lori Oleson. I saw how the ride was going to be really tough but also very pretty. When I returned from the marking adventure I was telling Megan Robinson, (my friend that rode with all of us the weekend before at Wild West on her horse Kongo) how I wished I were riding as it was going to be so pretty. She very quickly offered me Kongo as she had to go to a wedding on Saturday and couldn't do the race.
After talking it over with Jeremy it was quickly decided that I would ride Kongo.
We met at the barn around noon and started to load the horses. We thought that Kongo should be first into the trailer but he didn't agree so Roof was first. Kongo would have to be second as the third horse needs to back out and IF there should be any refusal with the backing out we wanted the smallest 5 year old to be the one that we would have to "make" get out. Kongo didn't want to go in at all. After a bit of asking him he decided to blow us off and spun around and ran around the ranch for a few minutes. After we caught him again we got him in.
Once at the ride we set things up and put up the Easy Up tent and relaxed in the shade. It was pretty darn hot out. We didn't pre-ride but Jeremy and I did go for a 3 mile run. After vetting in we drove down to Gilroy to Applebees and had dinner and watched some hockey.
The ride meeting was at 6:30 and went over how vast the park is and to not get lost. Start time would be 6:30 am.
At 6:25 am we gave our numbers and then watched the start. Then we bridled up and started walking out onto the course. Kongo was being VERY excited. He is normally a very quiet horse. I just would lead him a little longer. Jeremy then stated that it was time to get on. I got on and Kongo froze and then jumped up sideways onto a bank and felt like he was going to blow. I jumped off to see if something was wrong. Nothing. Got back on, he froze again, Jeremy grabbed him and tried to pony him but it was making Stirgess really amped. When he let go Kongo felt like he was going to explode. That is when I pulled him up to dismount for the second time and my left rein flew by. The clip had broke off! I managed to get off and proceeded to correct Kongo, which he promptly decided not to stick around for and he spun around and took off back towards camp. Another rider was coming towards us and following her was Kongo. Cool. He saw us and spun around and took off again. This time all the way back.
After getting new reins and Jeremy riding him around for a second I got on him and he was the calm rational horse that he normally was. Weird. On with our day.
The day went on and on and on. It was one of the hardest 50 mile rides I have done. It was pretty hot and extremely hilly. We finished at 6:10 pm. All three 5 year olds looked relatively good for how hard the day had been. Another one done for Stirgess, Kongo and Roof. Next time it will be that much easier.
We are headed off for Ft Howes next, we leave in two days. We will be doing a 75 on Saturday followed by a 100 on Sunday! That will be a first for me. The 75 mile horses will be Makazin and Tiran and the 100 milers will be Strut and Kutt. That will be fun saying those two names all day, Strut and Kutt, how cute.
Until next time,