Thursday, June 16 2011
We left for Ft Howes on Monday morning at 5 am. The four horses we took were Stirgess, Turbo, Bey and Kutt. Bey was a late edition as Tevis was postponed and Bey was primed for a 100 mile attempt.
We drove about 20 mins before we lost a trailer tire. Damn! Any how we were able to get that changed pretty quickly but our spare , the one that came with the trailer, looked a bit haggard. We decided to drive until we would be in an area around the time of morning that businesses open and then find a tire place. We found a Les Schwab near Elk Grove. It was just our luck that there was a Starbucks in the parking lot next door. We hung out and were on the road in no time.
The rest of our drive was uneventful to Wells NV where we unloaded the horses into a large arena. The trailer lights decided to not work all of the sudden so Jeremy got on his bike and rode to a gas station to get some fuses. After inspecting it Jeremy found the spot that was shorting out and fixed it and replaced the fuse. We then tried to take a little nap. Jeremy's last words before laying his head on his pillow were,"If I can't fall asleep in an hour we are going to start driving again."
I had almost fallen asleep when Jeremy announced he could not sleep and we were leaving. It had been 20 mins!!! Crazy crack-head driver. I fell asleep shortly after we started driving. It was raining really hard. A couple of times we had to pull over to mess with the trailer lights, Jeremy was able to make them work and away we would go.
I woke up around 5 am, we were in Idaho somewhere. Jeremy handed me a coffee and told me to start waking up as he was "done". I woke up and started my driving about an hour later. Jeremy hit the hay and I drove for the next 4 hours.
Sometime around 2 pm we made it to Ft Howes. Hurrayy!! It was already better than last year as we left home with 4 horses and arrived at the ride with 4 horses.
There were a few rigs already there. We parked next to Valerie and set up camp. The horses all looked fine. Later we went for a walking ride.
Wednesday we rode our 4 horses and hung out around camp. Valerie's crew, Wade, was selling these really cool electric corrals. The corrals work sort of like the things that are used to rope off lines, like at the movie theaters. The kind that you pull the line out and hook it to another stand and when you unhook it, it recoils back into itself. Pretty slick. We bought a set and our horses were happy with it.
On Thursday we went to Sheridan Wyoming to see the sites. There is a large Western Museum there. It is pretty cool, there are hundreds of western saddles with notes on each ones history. We rode when we got back to camp. After our ride Turbo had a large muscle cramp in his right hind. I could see the muscle contracting. He was super lame. It was a big problem. When we walked them later that night Turbo was practically dragging his right hind. I figured that I would not be riding him when seeing that!
We gave him a lot of electrolytes, magnesium, vitamin E and potassium and went to bed.
Friday I rode Turbo on two light rides and the a third time with my friend Chris Long. I was planning on riding with her and her sister Kelsey. He looked fine so I decided to give it a try. Later we vetted in Stirgess for his first FEI 75 and Turbo for his first FEI 50. That night we went to the ride briefing and the great BB-Q that the race has.
So far the weather had been pretty darn good for Montana in June. Saturday morning Jeremy started before us and was gone when I got up. Chris, Kelsey and I started late, almost too late by FEI standards. We made it to the start in time to not be D'Qed.
Our day was fun and the three horses had a nice relaxing ride. I was very paranoid about Turbo's hind end but it never was a problem. It was noted at one check that he had a funky HR (we probably caused this from all of the extra electrolytes we had given for the hind end cramp.) Michelle Roush was near and gave us a hand with this, Thank you Michelle.
In the afternoon there was a VERY deep bog that we had to cross. It was about hock deep and you had to drop off a bank to get into it. It was the texture of peanut butter. I don't know about you but I like to be the first one through something hazardous so that I don't know just how bad it is going to be. This time I was second. I crossed my fingers and sent Turbo into it. Luckily all three made it just fine.
At the end of the day all three of our group of horses finished the 50, with Turbo doing the FEI.
Stirgess came in 3rd on his 75. He looked really good too. Jeremy had sponsored Valerie's junior/Young Rider also named Kelsey. The two of them had fun plotting out and planning how they would beat the other juniors. It worked.
Jeremy was getting ready to show Stirgess for BC when "The Storm" came. The wind picked up suddenly and then the skies opened up and torrential rain came down. All of the pop up shade tents in the vet gate were in danger as well as any horses that happened to be near the loose tents. There is also a large red and white circus type tent that belongs to the race for holding meetings and such, that was being anchored by about 40 people! It was chaos. Stirgess wasn't able to show for BC as the weather Gods prevented it. We ran for cover after ripping down our crew area. It went on for about an hour. I later found out that a Montana man had been riding his horse in that storm, not at the race, and had been killed by lightening, horse and all. What a shame.
After the rain we pre-rode our Sunday horses that would be doing the 100. Kutt was doing the FEI 100 while Bey would do the open 100. They both felt great.
Saturday morning was nice and both horses warmed up well. The ride started and Kutt & Bey split up. Kutt was rolling along nicely. He was climbing well and cantering easily. We got to an area where there were some cows and one horse in our group shied violently and his rider came off. We stopped to help and when we did I looked my horse over as I always do. I noticed that Kutt's stifles were quivering slightly. I thought that was a really bad sign, we had only gone 7 miles. I asked him to jog and looked back at him and his tail was just slightly funky. Dammit. I walked from that point on into the check. Jeremy caught up with me and I told him that my horse was tying up.
Bey went on and at the second vet gate he came in looking great. When he trotted he was lame. He had stepped on himself and was sore. He was pulled too. Bey was sound about an hour later.
In looking back the only thing we had done differently on this trip was 5 weeks earlier we had changed grain to a new product. We had been happy with it putting weight on everyone and with the coat quality etc. But since the grain we had had one tie up at home and then the muscle cramp on Turbo and the tie up with Kutt. To hell with that grain.
The rest of Saturday we crewed for Chris who was riding for a second day on another one of her own horses. She was on Bugsy, he did well. Chris had a great weekend with three starts on her horses and three finishes. We also crewed for Valerie and her rider as well as Jan Worthington.
The finish was exciting Val and her rider sprinted in with Val winning, her rider second and Meg Sleeper third.
I trotted Val's two horses for BC as well as Jan's. Val won BC and Jan got high vet. Pretty cool for them.
On Monday we stayed for the Chef interviews. The four candidates, Mark Dial, Michelle Roush, Flavia Ferrera & Emmett Ross were great choices each in their own right.
Right as we were leaving we did a temporary trade of horses with Valerie. She generously offered us an FEI 100 mile horse that both Jeremy and I could try to get qualified on and we gave her Stirgess who will go do the Young Riders Championship in KY with one of her riders. Pretty cool.
We left Ft Howes around 1 pm on Monday with Bey, Kutt, Turbo and Dee and headed to Big Sky Montana so Jeremy could shoe Terri Rashid's herd. We saw Rick Rashid briefly as he had to head out of town for business. We went to dinner with Terri and Robin and went to sleep.
Tuesday we woke up and Jeremy started shoeing the 8 horses that he needed to get done. I went riding with Terri. It is absolutely beautiful scenery up there! I rode our old horse Blondie ( not that she is literally old). After all of Terri's were done we headed over to where Robin's horses are kept and did them too. That night we went to a very nice dinner with Terri, Robin and Terri's two boys, Tieran and Kylan. We also went for a drive to see the views after dinner.
We went back to Terri's place and fell asleep for a semi early start on Wednesday for home.
We made it to Fernley NV on Wednesday night and went the rest on Thursday. We are now home. Yay!! Our next ride will be the Lake Almanor FEI ride July 30th.