Sunday, August 30 2015
Tevis was great up until when it wasn't. My day started off perfectly with King behaving himself very well. He trotted along. King doesn't have a very fast trot as he is more of a cantering horse. The trot pace in general for the morning was around 10 mph, King is really comfortable around 8.5. My choices were trot faster than he goes naturally or canter bouncing around on a horse that was worried he was being left. I opted for the trot. I didn't feel the trot was so big that I was risking a strain or anything like that but it was bigger than ideal for King.
I was lucky that when I got to Granite Cheif I was in front of my group so I got to take my time through this section. King was a perfect gentleman. I did cause a bit of traffic by the end of it as many people were choosing to go faster through that rough section than I wanted to go. Just after the Wilderness area the trail opens up and the Cavalry charged on past us. It turned in to total mayhem for several miles. People were passing by galloping down steep, REALLY rocky sections. Impressive...not in a good way.
King trotted on like a professional. We reached the cabin trot-by and we had gone from somewhere in the top ten to somewhere around 30th I'd guess, after the stampede:)
At Red Star ridge King came down very quickly so we passed the majority of the Mad Dash riders. The trot down the boring road into Robinson passed by.
At Robinson Flat my crew tried to hand me jugs of water filled with to pour on my horse. King was convinced he was literally going to be killed by these so I had to drop the jug before he almost ran over the crowd. When the jug hit the ground he did a spectacular leap...again the wrong type of impressive!!
King ate well at this check and for the second year in a row I had a recheck on my blood work. I would love to see what it is they are seeing. When I went back for my recheck the vet admitted that most of the top horses that were in, were all getting rechecked and that they all looked great. The weather at Robinson was really weird too. It rained on us and got chilly enough that I wrapped myself up in a blanket.
King and I headed back on down the trail. He felt good. Somewhere along the Pucker Point trail there was a tree down that made life REALLY interesting. We had to scramble up and around the tree on a very tall, steep mountainside and then drop back down onto the single track. King was not sure I was seriously asking him to do that! Luckily for the riders behind us the tree was moved by a rider in the next group back, I hadn't been manly enough to heave it out of the way.
The canyons were hot as usual and a little humid (by Florida standards it was dry). King was happy to get cooled off at Michigan Bluff. My entire crew was super!! Then we were off to Chicken Hawk. At Chicken Hawk we cooled him again and let him eat a while. When we had stayed long enough we headed to Foresthill. King was surprised to see all of those people there. He is a skeptical kind of guy. I went and took a shower while King ate really well there.
When our hold was up I had my crew ask the out timer how far ahead the next two were and also how far ahead Potato was. Gwen and Dace were 7 minutes ahead and Potato was 28 mins ahead. King looked good as we left through town.
I was happy, as I knew that the California Trail would offer some spots to move out and let King finally canter some. About 4 miles into the loop I caught Gwen and Dace who were doing an easy jog. I decided to go around and continue on my pace King was doing as he was moving effortlessly. That section was pretty warm. The horses were working. Just before Francisco's we caught Potato. King had pulled us up to the front.
I backed off and let the three others pull away in to the Francisco's check. King looked ok but was starting to look a bit worn. I cooled him out and let him eat for a while. Dace and Potato raced out of there. After King ate for a bit we vetted and left. Gwen and I rode together from this point to the quarry. The river crossing was deep and chilly.
At the Quarry I cooled King down and then vetted him. He wasn't right. He had felt fine on trail but now had a hind end issue. After looking at him for a bit I made the tough choice to rider option. In hindsite I am pretty sure it was all of the big trotting combined with the amount of hill effort involved that finally caught up with King. The good news is that he was sound on Sunday. He is such an amazing horse. I really enjoy him.
I want to thank all of my amazing crew that I had that day, my husband, the Shackelford's for putting us and our four horses up for the summer and to King for taking me on an amazing 94 mile ride.
From here we went to Canada!!