Wednesday, March 06 2013
Fun In The Sun was a busy time for us!! We had 8 horses entered in the three day FEI event.
On Tues we drove our big LQ trailer over to the camp to park where we wanted to be for the duration of the weekend. The ride is less than 15 mins from our house.
After that we went to Meg and Dave's house for another awesome Lynn Kenelly cook out. She made amazing shrimp and grits with a chocolate cobbler for dessert. Very yummy.
On Wed we fed our herd and then loaded up our horses that would be doing day 1, Smitty and Erebus. Smitty for the 2* and Erebus for his first 1*. We pre rode these two and then vetted in and hung out. We were parked next to our friend's Amy Atkins and Lissanne Dorian. Amy would be riding Deborah Reich's mare, Juniper on the 1*.
The ride meeting came and went and we headed to bed. At about 4 am we heard running horses and jumped up to help catch loose horses...again! Last race we had too also. By the time we were up the horses were caught. Thank God! Back to bed for a brief while.
We got up and saddled our guys. As we got ready our awesome crew, Skip, brought us hot chai:)
Smitty had had a bruise in his RF foot a week prior but Jeremy was feeling fine about him. We thought we might ride the first loop together. About a mile into the ride we parted ways as Smitty was going much faster than I wanted to go.
This was the first race that Erebus had done without his side kick Dust, so when Smitty went on I was very happy that Erebus did his job and didn't care.
My day flew by and Erebus did a great job. He was a lot of fun, he is like riding the family dog, maybe the ball dog who wants to please and do everything fast but with a big stupid grin. He is super fun and also comfortable, so I had a blast.
Smitty went two loops and the bruise in his RF caught up with him. Jeremy had no regrets, he said if he had to pay and do it again, he would. He and Smitty had a really fun time for the two loops they did, Jeremy was grinning ear to ear. (Two days later and Smitty is perfectly fine.)
Erebus did a large portion of the 55 alone and stayed motivated and cheerful. We ended up 6th.
(Amy had ridden Juniper and when she had called the farm in NY to let Deborah know how she had done on her mare she was told that Deborah had passed away that morning. Deborah had been fighting a long battle with cancer. It was a huge loss and we were all extremely saddened by the news.)
After we finished we vetted, rested the horses and then loaded up to go trade out horses for day 2. We had 4 horses doing the 2* for the second day. We picked up Vegas (Erica DeVoti's horse), Elvis (my mount), Nixon (Jeremy's mount) and Cleo (Nicki's mount).
Nicki and Erica had arrived at the camp and were both ready to vet in when we arrived. All 4 vetted in without a glitch. That night we went to Don Pepe's Mexican restaurant for dinner, the ride meeting was going to be the same as day 1 ride meeting as the trail was identical.
The morning for day 2 was very chilly. The weather was having a major cooling trend! Nicki and Jeremy warmed up together and Erica and I warmed up together.
Elvis and Vegas went through the first loop together and after vet check one parted ways. My day on Elvis went ok, I over did it on loop one. I thought he was more prepared than he was. He was able to do the pace and was not at all tired but the sand put a kink in his hind end and I dealt with it the rest of the day.
Each loop I went slower and slower as he was tight in the hind and I didn't want to get pulled. At the last vet check I was leaving as Nixon and Cleo came into the check.
I was headed out on a key hole loop, out, around and back when two riders came at me head on and Cheryl warned me to be careful as the ride photographer was just around the corner and had caught a loose horse that was being held by his halter. (I was thinking to myself it was odd that the photographer was out here this late in the ride). Then the young rider who was riding with her pipes in that the tack matches my tack... I am thinking to myself "Well that's impossible, my horses are at the vet check".
I came around the corner and there stood Nixon, without any tack on, except for his cavasson. So odd, I couldn't figure out what was going on, my first thought was that Jeremy's saddle had broken and he had fallen maybe...?
I asked the photographer how that horse had gotten there and where his tack was, he simply said that it must be one of the horses that had broken away at camp! He explained that two had run out of the vet check. Great, where was Cleo??? I asked what direction Nixon had come from and he pointed to the only road we had not ridden on. I was just contemplating going down the road to look for Cleo when he assured me that I should continue and that things were under control. This was nice of him as they weren't really under control, but he was going to make sure Nixon made it back to camp and someone was on their way to get him. I looked closer and saw that he was using his cell phone car charger as a lead rope! I wished I had something to give him to hold Nixon better. I told him to yell to me if Nixon got upset when I left, he again told me not to worry.
I left and was full of all sorts of wild images of how that came about. A little while later Sondra Roberts, a young rider who's a good friend, came riding along. She decided to slow down and ride along with me. We had a great ride into the finish. We had many good laughs, as usual. We were 8th and 9th.
When I got back into camp I heard the story. Jeremy had given the horses to Nicki to hold while he and her husband Andy took down the pop up tent. While Jeremy was giving Andy instructions on how to take the tent down Nicki misunderstood and thought he was addressing her. She started helping with the tent and Jeremy looked up, saw her and asked who was holding the horses!! The two horses had walked off in the direction of the trailer, then started jogging, dragging their ropes, their blankets fell off and they started sprinting. Jeremy ran up to the corner of the camp, which is in a large pasture to try to shut the gate before they got there but it was too late, they ran through. Both horses are off the track and are VERY fast. They were now running down the road, Cleo down the center of the pavement, Nixon on the grassy shoulder. Skip saw this and got in his rented Charger and FLEW down the road to get ahead of the horses before they would get to the intersection where the fast two lane, highway, country road was. He made it there just in time to flag down traffic and park his car perpendicular in the middle of the road. With out him there the horses probably would have been hit.
When the horses got there they made a 90 degree, left turn. Cleo and Nixon had their Easyboot glue ons on so Cleo made her turn with ease on the pavement, Nixon however at 35 mph didn't fair so well in the grass. He slid out and proceeded to slide on his side with his feet in the air across both lanes of the road and on the other side the shoulder dipped down and his legs rolled beneath him and he continued like nothing had happened, at a dead run! Skip got back in his car and continued to try to get ahead of them and cut them off. It wasn't working. In the mean time Jeremy was hoping from vehicle to vehicle trying to catch up to Skip. At some point the horses turned off into the forest. It was at this point that the horses split up, Nixon found the photographer and Cleo came back out onto the road.
An hour and a half later both horses were back in camp getting vetted again to see if they could continue. Nixon was rider optioned as he looked spent from his big run and had some road rash from his slide. Cleo went back out to continue. The two had probably covered close to 8-10 miles at a full run. Jeremy says if they have that much to spare at the 60 mile mark they will be going faster next time...
Bummer for Nixon. This is his only pull. He is fine and was fine the next day.
Cleo finished with Nicki, that is the pairs second 2* together (Cleo's 3rd 2*). Vegas also finished and it was his and Erica's second 2* as well.
When all was vetted and the time had passed for the resting we loaded up and traded out for day 3. Chanses for the 3* with Jeremy and Dust for the 1* with myself.
After vetting in we left back to our house and made dinner for our group. It was nice. We talked a bit about the hectic day and then headed back over to the race. I was getting a little sick and was so ready for bed. It was very chilly.
On our final morning we warmed up as usual, today we would get to do a new trail that we hadn't used yet. For my ride, the 1* 55, we would go 22+ miles out, vet check, 10 mile loop, vet check, 22+ back to camp. Jeremy had a longer than 10 mile loop then back, then more loops from camp.
The first two loops I rode with my good friend Sarah Schick (Sarah used to drive over 2 hours each way every weekend when we lived in VA while working at Cre Run to come and ride with us) and Amy. We had a great time, the horses behaved well. Then on my third loop I decided to let Dust move out a bit more. I had no idea what place we were in as I wasn't paying attention to that and all of the distances started together so it was really hard to tell who was doing what any how. I was hoping I could make it into the top ten.
He was relaxed and feeling very fresh. He got me back to camp in an hour and a half! He was so cool, he just cantered along and when I asked him to trot he would but then after a minute or so he would pick up his canter again. Very fun. He looked great the whole time. He came in second. Super! He showed great for BC too but the winning horse had 38 mins on us.
I took care of him then went to crewing for Jeremy. Jeremy had taken a fall with Chanses on the first loop around 10 miles into the race. When they fell Jeremy got knocked out for a brief moment so they fell hard.
From the first vet check on, Chanses' back got more and more tender from the fall. By mile 90 he was just too sore and his back had transferred to a tight inner thigh on the side he had wrenched. Chanses had been in the lead with Ellen Olson and Hot Desert Night but it was decided he needed to be done for the day. (Ellen Olson won the 100 on Farzad Faryadi's Hot Desert Night.) Poor Jeremy, a rough weekend all the way around between pulls and losing Deborah.
In all it was a good ride weekend. We will all miss our great friend Deborah Reich, she was truly an amazing person and we will always miss her positive energy and cheerful smile. I hope she is doing well wherever she is now, she will live on in our thoughts and memories.