Friday, November 01 2013
Shai Pictured above
We packed and packed our stuff from our 6 month stay in CA. We would be driving back to Florida and on the way we would hit up the FEI 2 day in Las Cruces, New Mexico. (The ride is actually a 3 day, but has 2 FEI days).
On Tuesday evening we loaded up 10 horses, (Cleo and our 9 horses): Honor, Stirgess, Chanses, Mo, Liger, Shai, Eagle, Dust and Nixon (Smitty would stay in CA). Liger was really cute, he hasn't ever been asked to go up a ramp before but he quickly got the hang of it and happily got in with his herd.
We also had our 3 dogs, Roo, Merlin and our new dog Poncho. Poncho is a 3 year old Cattle dog mix. He is a Border Collie, McNab, Queensland Heeler and Fox Terrier mix. He was Mike and Janet Shackelford's dog. They decided it would be good for Poncho to become super busy and live with us and I needed a good running dog so now we have Poncho. We got Poncho 3 days before our big road trip, that's one way to get to know your new dog.
After we said some tearful goodbyes to our young rider Emma we got in the truck and were ready to roll.
We started to put the truck into gear and realized that we didn't have any running lights! We hadn't even moved yet and already had a technical difficulty:) Our friend Karl who is at the CA ranch helped us and Jeremy figure out that we had a blown fuse. Ok, take two! More goodbyes, this time dry eyed and happier, and we were rolling.
About an hour and a half into our drive we heard a loud explosion. We had blown a tire on our trailer, which has big rig, semi truck tires. The tire Gods were with us tonight though! We could see the next exit and the exit had a big rig tire shop and repair. We limped over to the exit and pulled in. The lady guided us into the bay and then let us know that the tech was on his lunch break and would be back in 10.
I walked the dogs and a small stray came to say hi to us but was really too scared to get too close. After that we watered the horses and soon were ready to go. In all it took about 2 hours but we were never stranded so who cares.
We happily rolled down hwy 5 listening to the comedy selection on Pandora, very entertaining. At some point I went in back and fell asleep (our truck has a sleeper). Poncho and Merlin joined me. Around 4 am Jeremy was ready to sleep so it was my turn for a drive!
In doing these long trips I have discovered that this is my favorite time of day to drive. I am ggod from 4-7 or so then Jeremy is usually ready to go again. As I drove I tried to remember usless facts like what horses were in our trailer the last time we did this drive? And the time before that? And who was in the trailer in 2008 when we drove to Virginia. That was good for some mental work, then I found myself remembering a recap of our summer.
This past summer we had a really packed and exciting time. We started off with Jeremy running the Quicksilver 50 the first day we arrived, then going to Hawaii for Tim's wedding and the half Ironman Triathlon, we went on a houseboat trip to Lake Powell with the Redmond Salt company, went to New York to see friends and work on horses feet, my cousins wedding in Skytop Pennsylvania, Skyline to the Sea 30 mile hike with my family and Emma, Tevis, Jeremy did another half Ironman at Donner Lake, Volunteering at the Western States Run with my brothers, Ironman Tahoe, taking Liger to Monty Roberts for a one week clinic for young horses being started, Skyline to the Sea Trail race with Holly and Jeremy, flying to Illinois to pick out a horse for Emma, as well as riding a few other endurance rides, riding and hiking trails we love, riding on the beach in Salinas and having countless dinners with friends. We also got to live with Tim and his wife Jody all summer. So many fun times. This summer we got to know our young rider, Emma Orth and her mom Giulia. What a great summer, we already miss everyone.
As I was in the middle of this deep thought I popped a 5 hour energy...reality. Around 7:30 Jeremy was back to driving. The drive was an uneventful blur of driving and stopping to water the horses. 22 hours later we arrived in Las Cruces at the base camp. The ride manager had saved us two large pens to put the horses in, what a life saver!!
It was now Wed night. We ate some food and then hung out a bit. Becky and Judith had pulled in next to us and we saw a few other familiar faces. We visited a little and then fell asleep. The next day we got things organized and pre rode the horses. The first two we rode were Chanses and Mo. After that ride we were getting the next two when Nicki and Andy pulled up, perfect timing. Nicki could ride her own pre ride on Dust now, and Jeremy would ride Shai.
Andy and I went to check in while they rode. Skip arrived as well. After the ride meeting we went to town for showers and dinner.
Mark Dial had recommended a place called what we thought was "Grand Central Station". We looked around town a long while and found "Graham Central Station". We took a look and there was a cash register at the door, as in there was a cover charge! It was a night club, we wanted a restaurant so we kept looking. Nicole told us about a steak house near her hotel so we went for that. Nicole and Andre Ruggeri joined us as well as Emmett, Skip, Lynn Kennely and Marcia Hefker and her friend and her son Si. It was a boisterous group. Dinner was pretty good.
The next morning Jeremy rode Mo on the AERC 60. Skip, Lynn, Andy, Nicole and I crewed for Mo. It was great practice for him to have a mob of crew. He handled it very well. At the first vet check Skip and Lynn came from town with Starbucks and Skip thought he had missed Jeremy. Skip told me he had handed Jeremy his coffee to him as he rode by then Skip asked me how Jeremy was doing and I told him that I hadn't seen him yet! He was on a part of the course that came near the vet gate before the first check. Minutes later Jeremy arrived at the first vet check.
As the day progressed Mo had a tight hind end. Jeremy decided to run the last loop on foot. We met him at a road crew point and Mo looked great. We told Jeremy that Mo looked great and that he should get on. He did. He later regretted this as he was pulled at the finish for a sore hind end. Total bummer.
After we took care of Mo we pre rode Chanses, Shai and Dust. Chanses and I would be doing the FEI 100, Dust and Nicki would be doing the FEI 75 and Jeremy would be taking Shai through his first FEI ride doing the 50.
We went to the ride meeting. The trail colors made for a great acronym. I try to make something up at each ride so I can easily remember my loop colors. This one was: Pissed (pink) Off (orange) Yelling (yellow) Orangatans (orange) with (white) Pistol Whips (pink and white). How can you forget the trail with things like this to think about?
After the meeting we went to town again for showers and dinner.
The next morning I got up really early to feed the race horses, then I went back to bed. An hour and a half later I woke up and got ready. More Starbucks, Pumpkin Spice Late, very seasonal and festive;)
Chanses had a great first loop. He felt great. The footing was pretty lumpy and rocky on this loop so I was really glad to have my Easyboot Glue Ons on Chanses. Another interesting thing was after a lot of lumpy, rocky sandy trail there was a section where you could be on flat level pavement or lumpy, sandy rocky terrain and Chanses chose the pavement with his boots on as it was not too concussive, he was enjoying the safe even footing. The day flew by and Chanses was recovering awesomely. I rode the first several loops with Sue Hedgecock and Gwen Hall, then I rode a couple loops with Mae Chase Dunn. The last loop I was on my own. Chanses prefers company but he was willing to go if I asked him. It was an out and back and we did see Sue and Gwen at some point.
Chanses won the 100 and looked great. I think our ride time was a bit over 9 hours. Dust had been pulled after 2 loops and Shai had come in 3rd on the FEI 50.
That night we went to town for showers. Dinner was fun. We ate with Andy, Nicki, Lynn, Skip and Emmett. Very fun time, lots of laughs. Great steakhouse with an awesome waiter.
The next day we did not have to ride. We just had a rest day before heading East. Dwight Hooten was available so he looked Dust over and it was decided after some blocks and icing the leg that Dust had more than likely hit himself on his old splint and had just made himeself sore, great news.
Skip, Lynn, Andy and Nicki headed off to the airport. Jeremy and I packed up all the crew stuff and hung out. We had dinner at the race and stole a shower. We were thinking we would stop over at Emmett's to lay over and check out the time trial trail for the next WEG on our way home. We decided that it would be best to load the herd in the daylight so we slept until it was very light out and then loaded up. Liger was ready to go and was pulling me up the ramp this time! He likes the rockstar life style. Part way down the road we decided we couldn't go to Emmett's as we had a client horse arriving and we needed to be home for that.
We started our drive at 8:30 am Monday morning. The rest of our drive was uneventful. Hurray!!! Around 3:30 am on Tuesday morning I drove and Jeremy slept. Hours and hours, watering after watering and reloading of hay bag after hay bag we arrived in Florida. We pulled into our house at 4 pm Tuesday. Jeremy took the quad out and drove around our fence line and then we unloaded and set everyone free. The horses were soooo happy and they all took off running and bucking, what a difference it makes having air ride and comfort floors in the trailer!
We have been home for a few days and we are headed off to the Boggy Creek CTR that is this Sunday. I will be a judge and Jeremy will ride Eagle. This ride benefits severly sick or disabled children. When I volunteered I thought we were returning to FL in the early part of Oct, oh well, it will be fun.
For the last 3 days we have been non stop getting our over grown place back in order and unpacking the trailer and truck.
Next weekend Jeremy, Nicki and Andy will be driving up to New Jersey for the Mustang Memorial FEI ride! No rest for the wicked:)