Monday, August 07 2017
The weekend before the Tevis Jeremy and I went back up to Robinson Flat to mark Duncan canyon and to verify that trail repairs had been made in that section as we had flagged and marked it for repairs two weeks before that.
We drove up to Robinson Flat. It would be a 6 mile, one way hike. I dropped off Jeremy, Adam and Adam's nephew, Brett at the top. Poncho was also going with them. I said good bye to the four of them, then used the restroom and got in the car and drove 6 miles on road 43, a gravel road across to Mosquito Ridge Road, hung a left and went down 5.3 miles to the trail head at the bottom that you can hike in about 1/4 mile to the bottom of Duncan Canyon.
Merlin posing above French Meadows
Merlin waiting for our runners, looking up Duncan Canyon
The hike should have taken about 2 hours at the most. Merlin and I were hanging out, playing stick, taking pictures and he was also sun bathing. We started getting bored after a while. When it was over 2:30 hours I was getting worried. Just shy of 3 hours Jeremy, Adam and Brett showed up but not Poncho.
Jeremy told me the story, Poncho had been running with them, at the back of the group, the way any good cattle dog would run. About 2.5 miles into the run there was a stream. Adam and Brett stopped there. Jeremy was up ahead, around the bend out of sight. Adam had thought that Poncho was with Jeremy. Jeremy realized that no one was behind him and turned back. He jogged back to the stream where Adam and Brett had stopped. This is when Adam saw that Poncho was not with Jeremy and Jeremy saw that Poncho was not there. Jeremy ran back. He saw wet paw prints that showed that Poncho had made it to the stream but had then turned back around for whatever reason. Jeremy hauled butt back up the canyon, shouting Poncho's name and whistling for him. Duncan canyon is pretty steep and 2.5 miles is a long uphill to book up.
Once Jeremy reached the top he asked a camper at the campground if he had seen Poncho. He had seen him, Poncho had gone up to the restroom (the last place I had been) circled around a few times and then jogged away. That was the last time someone saw Poncho...For the next 5 days!!
We drove up Mosquito Ridge Road and drove back on gravel road 43 to Robinson Flat trying to find him. We saw some paw prints but Poncho's feet are coyote size so it was hard to know if it was him or someone else. The worst part was that we were seeing a lot of VERY large cat prints out there as well as bear prints. After looking for a couple of hours we had to go back to Auburn to drop off Adam and Brett. We left Merlin's dog bed at the restroom where Poncho had last been seen with a note with our phone number on it.
Jeremy and I grabbed camping gear and some food and went back up to Robinson after dropping off Adam and Brett, about an hour and fifteen minute drive.
I set up camp while Jeremy drove out the gravel road towards Soda Springs. I had rolled my ankle two weeks earlier and had torn ligaments so I wasn't much use hiking around. I got out the tent we had only to find out that the tent poles were not there. I then proceeded to inflate a queen size air matress by mouth! It did have SOME air in it when I started but didn't fit in our car if inflated on the drive up. During this time Merlin would see a squirrel from time to time and I would take advantge of this and egg him on so that he would bark, hoping Poncho would hear his friend.
Jeremy went 6 miles out on that road while I asked every person I saw if they had seen Poncho. No luck. We had to deflate the air matress a bit and try cramming it into the back of our truck as the plan to stay outside was shot down by the crazy amount of mosquitos. The truck is not wide enough for the matress so it was curling up in places. It made for a very interesting night sleep. Not much sleep was had. Merlin was even having bad dreams that night. At one point I woke up from a bad dream to see that Merlin was thrashing and making noise in his sleep. I had to wake him up.
On Sunday we spent the whole day driving around yelling for Poncho. Part way through the day Greg Kimler called and offered us their jeep. We went and got it and were able to look in more places. At the end of that day we were both losing our voices and were completely bummed, I felt emotionally drained and completely defeated. As the sun was setting for a second time I looked out in to the vast wilderness area and just started crying. Poncho was alone and there was SOOO much space out there.
The vast wilderness from Robinson Flat
We had to go home that night but our friend Elizabeth and her dog went up to Robinson to continue the search and camp for the night. That was really super of them.
My sister Holly had put a lot of posts online and the internet was well aware of his disapearance. I was getting flooded with helpful suggestions and people wanting to know how they could help.
Tammy and Greg Kimler also helped tremendously. They let us borrow their jeep for the second half of Sunday and Monday and Tuesday's search. On Monday I went back up the mountain by myself. It was afternoon as we had to pack for Tevis. I was in the jeep again and yelled and drove all around. By this time Tammy Kimler had printed up a big stack of fliers for me to go post all around. I drove up to Robinson and went across road 43 and down to the bottom of Duncan Canyon. I left my shirt and a bowl of water there as well as a flier. I sat there for :40 mins calling for Poncho. I drove below to French Meadows Reservoir and put up signs and also at the French meadows Campground.
My shirt and waterbowl at the bottom of Duncan Canyon.
From the day that we had lost Poncho there had been a trail crew of around 10 people working on Duncan Canyon that would be on the trail daily. None of them ever saw Poncho.
After no sightings of Poncho for yet another day I had to head back down the hill. It was getting dark already and Poncho was still out there. I was so sad. After I returned the jeep I put up fliers in Foresthill at all of the stores and gas stations.
Tuesday we had more that we had to get done, we rode our Tevis horses and then I went to the animal shelter to put a flier there and look to see if Poncho was there. The lady at the fron tdesk had not seen Poncho but did recognize him from seeing him on the internet thanks to my sister Holly. Then I went up to look alone again. I took the car this time and decided to just go up Mosquito Ridge and not go to Robinson. On my way up, in Foresthill I saw a logging truck and walked over and talked to the driver and he said he was working up in that area and that he would keep his eye out for him.
I wasn't going to go up on Tuesday but I felt like I should go check at the bottom of the canyon as I had put my shirt and had spent so much time there the day before. He was not there. I took the shirt off my back and traded it out for the shirt that was there to freshen my scent and left.
On the way up to Duncan Canyon, earlier that day I stopped at a logging camp and put a flier on the outhouse, I also saw a horse trailer with some horses tied to it but no truck or people out on Mosquito Ridge, way up there. I put a flier on the hitch of that trailer thinking maybe Poncho would be out with the range cattle. I drove back and had to hustle to make it back to the VIP Tevis BB-Q that evening.
At the BB-Q I was asked by countless friends if we had found Poncho. It was really hard not to just burst into tears. I kept it together...Barely.
On Wednesday our friend Lynn Kenelly had arrived to crew for Tevis. She had driven from Montana. I had decided that I would not go up to Robinson Flat that day. I had to get my head right for Tevis and I felt like Poncho needed to find a human and get found. No amount of looking up in the wilderness area would bring him back, he had to bring himself back at this point.
Lynn, Jeremy and I went for a massage. When my massage started I decided that I would think of Poncho for my whole massage. Near the last 1/4 of my massage I imagined being reunited with Poncho at a vet check at Tevis and luckily I was face down during this part of my massage because the tears started flowing again.
After the massage we went to go pick up some drinks for dinner. Lynn had brought buffalo meat for burgers that night. Adam would be BB-Qing them for us. After we got in the car from the store I saw that I had just missed a call and a voicemail. My phone is slow at times and the voicemail wasn't really able to be played yet as it was somewhere in cyberspace still posting. I hit redial.
The lady who answered told me she had Poncho!!!! I asked her where she was and she was at Robinson Flat!! She asked if we were still up there. I told her we were in Auburn and would be there in an hour. I was crying with happiness and she was alarmed. I called Adam and told him we would be at least 2 hours late for the BB-Q.
When we got up to Robinson Flat we got the story. This lady, Nancy Perry and her husband (I never did get his name) were hiking around up there on trails that day looking for Cougar Rock. Then they were going to camp somewhere else that night but decided to camp at Robinson Flat instead. They had been relaxing when all of the sudden they noticed their dogs getting excited. They looked over and this dog had wandered into their camp. It looked like their blue heeler that they recently had to put down. Nancy walked over to him and saw that he had tags on and called me!!
When Poncho saw us he was really happy. Poncho is very much my dog, (probably why he got lost in the first place, looking for me). When he was untied he came over to me made eye contact but walked past me to Jeremy and tucked his head against Jeremy as in an apologetic hug. He was very sorry that he had left and was lettiing Jeremy know. It was amazing that 5 days later it was still so fresh on his mind as a "first thing to do item". After this he came to me and gave me a big happy grin and a hug.
Nancy jokingly said that we were lucky that he had tags or she would have thought it was meant to be and kept him. Nancy had no idea that there was a dog lost. She had the impression that I might have lost him that day. When I told her that it had been 5 days she understood why I had been crying on the phone earlier.
The amazing thing is that they had decided by chance to stay at Robinson Flat, then they had cell service right at their camp (unreal). Nancy has been crewing at Tevis for friends since the late 60's. She knew several of the same people that we did. When we got to talking she and her husband found out that we were going to be doing the Tevis that weekend. They told us that we would love the ride. We then told them that we had done the ride before and that we had actually done very well. At this point the husband told us that he had a Tevis magazine in his truck. He went to get it. He said that maybe our names would be in there if we had done it before.
He opened it up (It was the Tevis Forum from some earlier year). He then asked our names. After we told him he giggled and looked at the first place name. His eyes lit up, "YOU WON??!!" It was pretty funny and more than coincidental that he happened to have the 2011 forum!! There was Jeremy, right on the front cover. Too funny.
The whole time we were talking Poncho was laying with his chin on the ground between his front paws. Looking up at us but clearly fighting off sleep. Nancy had fed and watered him right when she found him. We said our good byes and got in Lynn's car.
Less than 200 yards later we ran into Matt and Leigh Scribner. Leigh had had knee surgery 3 days earlier and every day she had been asking about Poncho. Today (Wednesday) was her first day out of bed from the surgery and she desperately wanted Poncho to be found and she wanted to help. They had their pack of Chihuahua's with them as a search crew. They were overjoyed to see us and PONCHO!!!! We had a happy reunion talking with them. Poncho was sitting in the car. I walked away a little too far for Poncho and he darn near jumped out the window. I then stood next to the car with my arm in the car to keep him at peace.
The Scribner search party
We drove back to Auburn, I was happy for the first time in 5 days. Poncho was now "Mountain Man Poncho, the Survivor". He was exhausted. On the drive down he was facing away from me in the backseat and he would almost be asleep but then he would startle and jolt awake. I can only imagine the things he had been through. I had him turn around so that he was facing me. He put his head on my lap and fell into a deep sleep right away.
Poncho sleeping on the drive home.
Poncho was three legged when he showed up from his 5 day adventure. All 4 paws were pretty rough but one of his fronts had slices and punctures in his pad. His pastern area above each paw was also rubbed and raw. He really didn't lose much weight though. He had obviously gotten very little, if any sleep in the past 5 days as well. He smelled very strongly of sage brush with the slightly sticky residue of it clinging to him and was covered in a dusty layer of wilderness. When we got home he got a bath and fed, then he ate a buffalo burger and passed out.
Poncho after his bath and his burger
Merlin was really happy to see Poncho and almost equally happy to get his dog bed back! That night I had to wake Poncho up so he could go out to potty. He was too tired to volunteer to go and really didn't want to walk on his paw. The second time that he went out he used the tree and then just stared at how far away the house was. I carried him back inside.
By Thursday afternoon Poncho was doing much better, still exhausted but very happy and his paw is healing. We are overjoyed that we have Poncho back in our life. He was over the moon to see horses again. Thank you to all who helped. Special thank yous to Elizabeth, Holly, Tammy and Greg, Jack Meiyer and the Scribners.
Thursday, July 20 2017
We left Florida June 1st and headed to our friend Aubree Becker's house. We chose 5 horses to take with us for this trip, we have a 6 horse trailer but we had a horse waiting for us in CA for the return trip. The drive to Kentucky was uneventful. The five horses hauled well, it was around a 10 hour day. We took Barbara Hershberger's horse, P, Sinister, Grand, Treasure and Tex.
Once we arrived at Aubree's house we all just hung out for a couple of days. We also rode around her farm and enjoyed to scenery. It was very fun catching up with her. Our horses had a very nice grass pasture to hang out in as well.
Poncho relaxing at Aubree's house
Grand and I on a ride around Aubree's farm, (this is where I originally bought Grand)
After a couple of nights in Kentucky we hit the road for Iowa. This was about a 13 hour drive. We arrived at the Olson's farm and put the horses out in a nice big grass pasture here as well. The horses were really happy. It was another uneventful haul. Always great when it's like that!!
We spent the next few nights there. We enjoyed spending time with the Olson's and went swimming and to the farmers market and around town. It was relaxing being somewhere that you didn't feel like you should be doing a million chores, being away makes you have to relax.
Ellen and Eryn's sister's HUGE dog
We hit the road after a few days to head to the FT Howes ride in Montana. We had planned a two day drive to get there, it would be two very easy days of driving 8 hours each day. The first night we stayed in Mitchell, South Dakota at the Hobby Horse, horse hotel. When we pass through this spot we get to visit with our great friend Christina Martin (formerly Long) and her cute family. We had a fun time at dinner visiting with them and their son has grown a lot since last years dinner visit. (Maybe we should visit more than once a year!)
Merlin watching the horses at the Hobby Horse
The next day we rolled in to the FT Howes base camp. It was still three days until the ride so camp was relatively empty. Our friend Lynn Kenelly has moved to this area and lives 6 miles from camp so that night we went to her house for dinner. That was a lot of fun. While we were there it was decided that Lynn's donkey, Andrew was in desperate need of a trim. It took three grown men and some drugs to get the job done! Andrew was much happier after his feet were fixed though.
Our friend's from Israel, Dan and Matan arrived the day before the ride as well as Barbara. We all went on a pre ride. After the pre ride, when the time was right we were allowed to set up our crew area. At Ft Howes it is a funny hustle that occurs. Literally there are crew waiting at the edge of the crew area and at the specified time the officails give you the green light and the crew races out to stake their claim to a crew area that they want. Kelsey Russle and I got the prime choices as we were willing to sprint! :) Pretty fun little tradition, like the Oklahoma Land Rush...
We helped set up the huge tent that ride meetings and dinner happen under, always a project. Later we vetted in and P passed his check but looked odd to us. We decided to withdraw him but since he was already vetted in it counted as a rider option pull. P had been looking stellar so it was disappointing to not get to start him. Jeremy and Barbara would both be crewing as well as Misty, Aiden and Lynn Kenelly. Very awesome crew. I would be riding with Dan and Matan on the FEI 75. I would ride Grand, Dan would ride Tex and Matan on Treasure.
The next morning we all three headed out and had a nice first leg to the trot by on the top of the mountain. On the way back down, about 6 miles before the vet check Grand started to feel like his front feet hurt. Such a bummer. It would come and go. I knew I would probably be stopping at the next check.
When we arrived he felt good but as we were only 23 miles into the 75 I trotted him out with the intent of rider optioning. He passed and I pulled. Jeremy cut his pads out and there was the fine sugar sand from Florida under the toe of one of his pads. He had really good packing in but that sand is so fine that it found a way in through the toe of the shoe. Hoof testers confirmed sole pressure and bruising. At least it was an easy fix. His feet were too soft from Florida to try to have continued without the pads. Oh well. This gave us the idea to check P's feet. P didn't have pads but did have a new type of shoe on. Sure enough his toes were sore as well. Very easy fix.
Matan and Dan continued on to have a very successful ride. Both horses looked great when they came across the finish line. Another great ride by these two riders.
After the ride we packed up and the next day we drove to our friend Carl Knutchel's house. We had a really fun visit with him. The horses were all happy too. It was about 5:30 hours to Carl's house.
View out Carl's window
After a HUGE dinner at Carl's we visited a bit longer and went to bed. The next day Carl fixed us a nice breakfast and we hit the road for our final leg of our trip, also the longest part. It was about a 15 hour day to Auburn, California. Along our drive we hit a little bit of rain but not much. When we hit the CA line and went over the Sierra's we could see a lot of snow.
Highway 80 near the summit
We arrived at Nicole and Josh Wertz house just before dark. The horses had a super nice irrigated grass pasture to go into. Nicole and Josh were there helping us unload. It was so nice to finally be in CA and to see Nicole and Josh. After we got everything situated we unhooked the truck and drove the two miles over to Adam Farmers where we would be staying. Adam was there waiting. Great to see him too. We got our stuff all set and hit the pillow.
This next week (what was left of it as we arrived on Tuesday) we got things organized and Jeremy went up to Wild West to help Robert and Melissa with the trail work that needed to happen before the ride that weekend. Jeremy and I decided to enter on P and Grand as they had both gone so short or not at all the weekend before at Ft Howes.
We trailered up to the ride the first day which was a 55. We stayed in an RV with our friend Carole Craft Edwards. She was going to do the LD with her Rocky Mtn horse , Turbo. Jeremy and I rode Turbo around the night before the ride. He is SOOOO fun!! Very motivated, smooth and eager to please. Very cool guy, he is 15.3 and a beautiful chocolate color with a flaxen/silver mane. We had a fun time with Carole, we haven't gotten to visit with her in so long.
P and Grand did great. Whatever soreness they had had the weekend before was a thing of the past (and Jeremy had done their feet again to fix the earlier problems). P and Grand were stellar in the big hills. They came straight out of flat land Florida and went in the hills like nothing. They tied for third and Grand won Best Condition.
Grand and I at Wild West. I forgot part of Grand's bridle so Carole lent me her pink set.
Jeremy and P at Wild West
It was a lot of fun to see the photographers Bill and Rene as well. It's been a long time since we last saw them. They always take such great pictures.
We went home that night so Jeremy could help our friends work cows the next day. I went back up to the race to help Carole who would ride Turbo again. (Turbo won the LD on day 1!) On day two I drove up to the out vet check and waited for Carole and Turbo. I saw many friends and got to visit with them during their holds. Once Carole came in, I held Turbo while she used the rest room. It was really funny, another rider was saying hello and I asked how his ride was going. He was on the LD and told me that "some damn Rocky Mtn horse was going fast and that he couldn't keep up with it" I laughed and told him that I was holdimg "that damn Rocky" he was embarassed as he didn't realize that I was holding the reins of the Rocky he was taking about. It was pretty funny. I told him not to worry about it and that he was right, this Rocky IS fast.
Carole went on to win the LD again. Turbo is TURBO!
Carole and Turbo at the finish of the second day of LD's for the pair.
I left after Carole was done. I wanted to go take care of our horses before it got dark. It had been a fun Wild West weekend.
Jeremy and I have been riding a lot and running a lot since arriving in CA. The horse that was waiting for us here in CA is a horse that we bought from Tinker Hart named Sabre. He has been at Adam's house waiting for us since March. He is a very nice 9 year old, bay gelding. After riding him about a half a dozen times myself (this is not the first time he has been on training rides, just rides with me) I felt that he could do the Gold Country 50. He and Tex would go to the ride.
About two weeks before the ride we had moved Sabre over to Nicole's to keep Tex company. Tex had been pushing P, Grand and Treasure around so we had moved him to a differnt pasture and Tex was lonely. During the first week Tex must have tried to corner Sabre and Sabre had fought back. Tex had a hematoma from a kick on the back of his hamstring. We gave Tex the week off and had ridden him and the swelling was mostly gone, he was sound and it wasn't tender.
We went to Gold Country on Saturday morning as Friday night we were at a friend's wedding up in Foresthill (gorgeous wedding too). We vetted in and had Tex's hematoma noted on his card. Sabre and Tex were super at the start and went along very nicely. The trail was pretty challenging. It was very hilly. Just before the 40 mile mark Tex went lame behind. His hematoma had blown up and was super sore. Jeremy had to stop at the 40 mile vet check. Poor Tex, if we had realized that his hind end was going to be aggrevated we would not have brought him. He was really sore. Sabre went on to finish the day looking great. He is a very fun horse and I look forward to what he can do in the future.
Sabre and I, and Tex and Jeremy at the Gold Country 50. Another Rene and Bill picture.
We hiked Duncan Canyon this past weekend to flag areas that the trail crew need to fix. The canyon is very beautiful. We are really looking forward to riding the sections that are being used this year at Tevis. Our training is winding down for the big ride. Fingers crossed that Treasure and Grand stay healthy between now and then, so far so good. We look forward to seeing you at the Tevis.
Wednesday, May 10 2017
So once again I have been extremely lacking in the writing department (But not the riding department)! Wow!! Any how, the first ride after Broxton was the Gator Run Youth Benefit ride. We had a fun time. We took 4 horses and trailered over in the morning as the ride is less than 10 mins away from us. I rode Ambush, Elaine rode Benz, Jeremy took Liger and Charlie Koester rode Bailey (Barbara Hershberger's horse).
The next ride was a huge undertaking for us as it is a 3 day FEI ride...and I had THAT cold!! I was so cooked for the whole weekend. Day one I rode Grand and we did his first 2* 75 mile ride. Unfortunately Jeremy and Nicki were both pulled and I got poured on for a long stretch of my ride...did I mention I was sick???
Left to right: Jeremy on Liger, myself on Grand and Nicki on Geraldine. Photo:Becky Pearman
Day 2 Nicki rode Gus, Jeremy rode Treasure and I rode Barbara's horse (who used to be our horse) Bailey. Bailey was supposed to do the FEI 2* with Charlie Koester but she decided she was not up for it so at the last minute I rode the horse as Barbara really wanted him to do the ride. (Bailey has since been sold to Robin Owens and the pair got Robin's first 1* at the Biltmore.) All three of us finished and had a good time (it was really cold and I was still sicker than a dog).
Nicki and Gus on the 2*- 75/120. Photo: Becky Pearman
Day 3 I rode Barbara's other horse "P" and Joe Faulkner rode with me on Ambush (it was Ambush's first 50). We did the 50, I did the 1* and Joe did the open ride. The horses did well. Jeremy did the 1* on Sinister and tied for 1st and also won Best Condition.
Jeremy and Sinister on their way to a first place and Best Condition. Photo: Becky Pearman
On Sunday I didn't get out of bed. Monday was slightly better. LOL
The next adventure was McCulley Farm 2 day. We really like this ride. Camp is awesome, showers and all. Dinners are made nightly, lunch was available. Coffee with creamer and pastries for breakfast and the horses each have a stall. Very nice.
The first day I rode my favorite little dude, Sudden and came in 4th. Jeremy rode Tex on Jeremy's first turtle award placing. Robert Ribley and he talked the day away.
Day 2 was going great. Jeremy was on Gus and I was on Benz. At the lunch hold there were a lot of small biting flys. I fly sprayed both horses. That was about 15 mins before our out time. I was starting to electrolyte just before heading out when I saw that Benz was having some sort of allergic reaction and her face was blowing up!! (After reviewing it, I think it was the fly spray) I freaked out and hustled her over to the vet. I was able to rider option so that we could give her some dex. I was so worried that her airways were going to close up. I had literally watched her face expand right in front of my eyes! C-R-A-Z-Y!!!
Benz having her allergic reaction at the lunch hold at McCulley
Gus won the ride and also won Best Condition. Pretty cool that Jeremy won the Turtle award the day before.
Florida has been warming up and we are having a major dry spell. Our pasture is crunchy. I hope it starts raining soon. We also have a lot of wildfires...I feel like I am back in CA. They have stolen our mojo...
Our next ride was a heck of a drive. We also have a new to us trailer that we had only owned for a couple of months. We had it serviced, bearings packed and brakes checked. We thought we were all good. To Texas we headed. We made it to LA. We lost a tire and the rim felt super hot. We put the spare on and got out our trusty Google search engine and found a tire place 3 miles away. We thought the spare looked kind of poor so we decided that since we will be driving a lot this summer that we should get all new tires for the trailer. It was also discovered that one of the brakes were hanging up really bad (however it was not the one that we had lost the tire on). Off to another shop to get that fixed, only 2 miles away. After about 3+ hours we were back on the road.
We stopped over at a fairground with excellent stalls for the night. The next days drive was about 8.5 hours.
The Lone Star 3 day FEI ride was the destination with our 6 horses and two dogs. The weather was calling for rain. The ride site had already gotten 5 inches of rain two days earlier. Camp was really soft too so you had to be careful parking. We arrived late in the evening, after 10 pm. Jason Stasiuk was up and waiting to help us park, super nice of him.
We found out that our hay that we had packed was less appealing than the same hay that we had bought for our last trip, or so we thought. The horses said it wasn't the same. We took a trip to town to the NRS feed and EVERYTHING store!! WOW!!!
When Lynn arrived we went for a pre ride. Gus was not right. We caught a mild tie up before it was severe. We had not vetted him in yet so we simply took him to the vet and had fluids run. That was all the running Gus did in Texas.
The Lemmon's did a great job putting on this ride. The first night they had catered BB-Q style. Brisket, pulled pork, potato salad, coleslaw etc. We had dinner and listened to the ride meeting. Our friend Lynn Kenelly had driven from Montana to come visit and crew. It was her birthday that day too!! She's awesome.
Day 1 I rode Sudden on the 1*. Jeremy rode Tex. We were the show at the start! Tex was hoping around and Sudden did a full on rodeo show! Turkeys liked the cool weather. On the first loop Sudden was doing so great. The footing was pretty poor. The problem was that it all looked similar, mud, clay, sand, slippery, deep, whatever it was it didn't look much different, if at all. We left out on the second loop and he felt great. He did do a BIG slip beind around a turn about half way around the loop. At the last vet check we were pulled for hind end. Darn. Jeremy rode Tex on his 1*. He was solid all day. He did show his opinion on several occasions though:)
That night we went to dinner in town with Lynn. We were searchig for sushi but failed and ended up at Chili's. It was good. The ride had Mexican food that night catered.
Day 2 Jeremy rode Sinister but got pulled at the first vet check. It ended up being a foot problem so that was good news. I rode Grand on the 2* 75. Grand was great. The trail took its toll. On the last loop I was feeling something off and on. I was pulled for hind end at the finish... Dang.
It was calling for rain that evening so I had told Jeremy that if it was going to rain to not vet in Benz for the 75 for day 3. I needed to have at least 1 sound horse after this weekend!
A cool thing that the Lemmon's did was how they marked their ride for the night riding. Instead of glow sticks that had these tiny LED lights attached to clothes pins. These lights were bright, very easy to see and lasted a week. This was super as there were multi days of night riding that only had to be marked 1 time. Pretty awesome.
We headed home the next day. We had been talking for a while with a lady named Sarah about a horse named Ringo that we had our eye on. She wasn't grooving with him. We thought she might really get along with Gus so we decided to trade. We stayed over at her house on the way home. Sarah and her daughter Sydney made us a great dinner and our horses had a really nice turn out.
In the morning we had breakfast and spotted a rabid opposum (yes, literally). Jeremy trapped it in a large bin. Then we met Ringo in person and Jeremy saddled him up. Ringo proceeded to buck for a long while. Then Jeremy rode him around, they parted ways once. Jeremy got back on. He had a few issues to work through but Jeremy decided to give him a try and take him home.
Ok, last ride to catch up on!! Biltmore.
We loaded up another 6 horses and headed up to the Biltmore (a long 9 hour drive)...another cold wet ride!!! We arrived on Wednesday. After getting the horses set up we decided to go in to downtown Ashville and find a place to eat. We walked around and saw many restaurants. We could not decide on a place and saw an Indian bar/restaurant that had A LOT of lights, like Christmas lights, inside. We were drawn to the light. There were salsa lessons happening. It was fun to watch and the food was super. After this we found a local handmade ice cream parlor. SO GOOD.
As you can see there were a lot of lights!
Thursday we got things ready for the 50 that Jeremy would ride on Ambush and Barbara on P. Day 1 the two of them headed off and us crew waited. The crew was awesome. It was Lynn Kenelly, Lynn Hershberger, his brother Greg, and yours truly.
Jeremy on Ambush and Barbara on P
That night it POURED!! It was SOOOO loud!! Right when I thought "WOW, it's really raining", it would double!!
Ambush at his last hold
Jeremy and Ambush finished. Unfortunately Barbara's boots did her in and KILLED her shins. She hadn't been riding in them lately and they ate her leg up. She rider optioned at the last vet check. Next race she will get it done.
Ambush at the final vet check
That afternoon while Jeremy was out riding Lynn and our two new friends from Israel, Matan and his dad Dan went for a pre ride. Sarah Hunt went with us as well. Matan and Dan were going to ride with me on the 2*. Dan on Lou, Matan on Treasure and myself on Benz. Lynn was pre riding Tex for Jeremy as well. The ride went well and we were able to make all of our tack adjustments.
Our crew for the second day was super! Barbara and Lynn Hershberger, Lynn and Trent Kenelly, Misty McAdams and Holly Bateman. I then also joined of course.
That night it rained some more!!! We headed out on loop one and the horses looked good. Matan, Dan, Sarah and I all rode together. I started to feel something not right with Benz. REALLY?? I was pulled at the first check. Sarah and the guys continued. They were doing great. It was really cold that day. I was cold all day. Sarah was pulled at the last check. It was 40 when Matan and Dan headed out on their last loop. It was now down to Dan and Matan to bring it home. They got it done. I am so happy that they both finished. Dan and Matan took great care of the mares.
Lou the day after the 75
Jeremy rode the 55 on Tex on day 2 but they were pulled at the last vet check. It was a hind end. I think all of the driving miles and riding on footing that had a lot of rain over it took its toll (to Texas and then a challenging course in Texas, then two weeks later driving to Biltmore with more challenging footing). He was fine the next morning.
The face mask that Lynn got for Jeremy was worn all day in the cold!
Now we are back. Unpacked, well mostly. Our next ride will be to FT Howes and beyond...onward to CA for the Tevis. Hope to see you out there.
Sunday, February 05 2017
I am so far behind, once again. I just saw that the last blog I wrote was back in Nov??? How did that happen??? I have ridden 450 miles since then (all in my super cute, custom, pink Trail Tribute Reactor Panel saddle) so I will just have to do a hustle up blog to get myself up to the present:)
We did the Broxton Bridge ride back in Nov. (2016) I rode Derby the first day and he and I did his first FEI 1*, which he came in second over all on with high vet score and BC. He was awesome. The second day I rode Benz on her first 1* and she came in 7th just going at an easy pace. She is truly an easy mare in so many ways!
Jeremy rode but had a bad weekend with two pulls. One on the 75 and one at the finish of the LD. Bummer.
The next ride we did was a new one to us at Blackwater Boogie. This ride was fun. Camp was nice and the ride was well organized. The trails were pretty much flat with a slight amount of roll to them with nice footing. Jeremy took Sinister around on day one on the 50 and came in second. I rode both days 50's. Day one I rode Deen on her first 50. She was great finishing 11th. Then I took Treasure on her first 50 and she finished 8th. Both mares were great and seemed to take to endurance with a smile on their face all day. We also saw Errow with his new owner Jaime, they won the LD.
Then we went to Autumn Gallop and that is what Derby wanted to do all day, GALLOP!! He was pretty well behaved and cooperated with me on not galloping. (It was really hot all day, lots of extra Redmond Salt for this one!) Then on the last loop I finally let him canter the whole way around and he and Benz (Jeremy riding her) caught up to the leaders and then with less than 4 miles left we decided it was time to pass. Jeremy was not sure that Benz would be able to keep cantering so he told me to go (Benz is an uber mellow horse so she is a bit hard to read at times). I cantered on and passed the three lead horses who were all riding together. I heard one of them come with me. I kept cantering along and then there was a hard left turn so I slowed to trot and looked over to see it was Jeremy. He laughed, knowing that I thought he was someone else. It was pretty funny. Benz and Derby cantered in and looked super. The two of them fought over the BC award with Derby winning out.
After this ride I might have the rides out of order as they are not yet listed on the AERC website. I think our next ride was the Goethe Benefit ride held at Helen's house. I rode Treasure with our friend Marta from Spain who rode Deen. Deen ended up getting pulled. Her hind end was little funky, perhaps she was not recovered from her first 50 yet. She was better shortly after so luckily it wasn't a big problem whatever it was. Treasure finished and looked strong. Jeremy rode Sinister and tied for 1st and then lost BC by 1 single point!! So close.
Then there was the Greenway Getaway two day. This is over at the Pruit trailhead. We trailered over each morning so that we could stay in our own bed with our herd at home. Day one Jeremy and I rode together on Tex and Sudden. It was a very fun and relaxing day. We trotted along with a lot of walking breaks. It was Sudden's first ride in a year and Tex's first 50 and first ride since he cut his hind leg horribly (like a $4500 cut, yes a REALLY bad cut). It was rewarding to see them both come through and look happy at the end. The second day Jeremy took Deen on her second 50. I rode Charich on the LD with our friend Misty who rode Grand Ku. Grand was very happy to be out on the trail. He had colic surgery in Aug 2016. He is one incredible horse. I really love that guy. All three horses finished looking really great. It was such a relief to see that Grand could safely do the LD.
Goethe Gallivant FEI 2 day was next. On the first day Jeremy rode Liger on the 75, and I rode Benz. Liger left in to the second loop and did not seem right so Jeremy went back. Benz went all the way. On my last 10 mile loop I started feeling something questionable... then I thought that she was ok...In the end we had a finish line pull on the 75/2*. Total bummer. Gus was the only positive result for us on day 1. He was ridden by a Canadian rider, Tracy Vollman. It was Gus' first 1*. They were either 2nd or 3rd and also won BC.
On day 2 I rode Derby on his first 2*/75 and Jeremy took Sinister on his first 1*. Derby felt great all day and finished his first 75 while also doing his first 2* and he came in second place. He is really getting the hang of this. He was the best behaved he has been and his heart rates were a lot lower than at previous rides. Sinister had been great all day and then less than 1 mile from the finish he stepped on a rock. Jeremy said he felt it happen. He was then pulled at the finish. Seriously?? This is the type of weekend that makes you second guess all of your life choices... Tracy took Treasure around on her first 1* and she finished. (I might have Gus and Treasure's days flip flopped, but as the results aren't posted, I am just doing this from memory).
On The Edge 2 day was next. We had a young rider from Argentina visiting us, Amparo Gonzalez. She was so fun to have around and so helpful as well as a really nice rider. Day 1 Jeremy rode Ambush, Amparo rode Charich, and I took Timing all of us on the LD. It was Timing and Ambush's first LD. Charich was a hair off after the first loop. Timing and Ambush finished. I had my foot stepped on before the ride and it hurt the entire day, never changing. It was the first time that I felt that I could not trot out my own horse in my entire career. Lucky for me Charlie Koester was around and she trotted Timing for me. Day 2 I was never planning on riding in the first place so I went to get my foot x-rayed. Bailey and Amparo, Jeremy and Tex were doing the 50. Barbara Hershberger came to help and watch her horse Bailey do the 50. I got back from the doctors office mid way through the 50. Hobbling around with an ortho shoe on. My foot was not broken (which was great news as I could now ask Scott Hie to adjust it the next time I would see him) my foot did however have a big hemotoma in it. The swelling is still there as I write this and it has been three weeks now... (Scott did adjust it and he told me that there was probably nerve damage from where the compression happened. It made an amazing amount of noise when he adjusted to too!) Amparo finished her first USA ride with Bailey. Jeremy and Tex withdrew as Tex was not right. That night we went to dinner with Barbara. It was fun to see her and have a visit.
After The LD at On The Edge Amparo showed us that she had been riding for the past week with a hole in her leg. She is one tough cookie, she never complained. Her pants were not riding pants, but stretch pants with a inner leg seem. We lent her some Toklat Irideon pants and she is now a believer. They worked very well for her and she has since ordered a few pairs:)
Finally coming into the present, we did the Broxton Bridge ride again. We took the new (new to us) 6 horse trailer and we filled it and even had to ask Sarah to haul one more for us!! Too funny. We have decided to do away with our fancy trailer as we are so over dropping money into it. Going back to simple. The fancy trailer's final straw was when BOTH slideouts failed. The trailer guy told us that our trailer had the top of the line slides and that THOSE never go bad... So much to the fact that the person who designed the trailer had not accounted for them ever going bad and now we have to literally rip out walls and cabinets to access the slides for repairs. SOOO MUCH FUNNN!!! As soon as it's fixed it's for sale.
So we are currently very much "camping" in the new 6 horse trailer. The good news is that the front dressing room is big enough that we can add a shower, fridge and microwave. That will be plenty good enough for us. It already has an AC unit, heat will also be added. It will be our home made (read, we will know how to fix EVERYTHING) LQ. We are loving this trailer so far, oh and the best part is that the nose of the trailer fits a King size mattress!!
At Broxton we had 7 horses. Our friends Nicki and Andy Thorne met us at the ride. The plan was for Nicki to ride both days of 1*'s, Jeremy and I to ride both days of 2*'s and Amparo to ride one day on the 1*.
Day 1 I took Derby out for a 2*. Jeremy rode Gus on a 2*. We rode together and had a great first loop. At the vet check the vets were asking Gus to trot out a few times. I was confused as I could not see anything. They asked him to go back for a recheck. Before the recheck we trotted him out for ourselves and he looked fine. He went to re-present. He looked good. The vets were having him trot again... He looked fine... then as he slowed down to approach the vet on the return you could see the last couple of steps looked funky. Ok, so there was something super subtle there. In my opinion it was not consistent. It could only be seen at the lowest speed, while stopping at the end of the trot out. Oh well. He was pulled. (Not saying we wanted to ride a horse that was lame, however this was so questionable...)
Derby continued around and each loop I let him go a little faster. At every vet check he was FREEZING. He would shiver and shake our entire hold even with a stack of blankets on him. It would take the first mile on trail before he would unclamp his tail and finally warm back up. Poor Florida boy. He won the 2* and looked super awesome. I was really excited to show him for BC as he looked so good and he is great at showing for BC. When I went to warm him up for BC it was clear that being cold all day had caught up to him, he had a hind end cramp and I would not be showing him after all. :( darn.
Nicki rode Lou on her first 1* and Lou did super. I think she was second or third on the FEI ride and top ten AERC.
Day 2 Jeremy decided it would be better for all if he gave his 2* horse to a young rider who was supposed to do her first 1* but ended up horseless. Jeremy made the arrangements and made it possible for Charlie Koester to do the 1* on Treasure. He crewed instead. I rode Sudden on the 2* and Nicki rode Deen on her first 1* with Amparo taking Grand on his first 1*.
Sudden was great to ride, other than his typical rodeo when you first get on him. He felt good and we went pretty easy. He is such a joy. I came in to the last vet check and trotted him out. He passed and got all A's. Jeremy then told me that he thought he had seen something. Sudden is probably my favorite horse and he is coming back from an injury so we are super paranoid about him. In the end I decided to play it safe and rider option. I would rather have my favorite horse withdrawn than possibly re-injured. It was a choice I was very happy with and releived as he looked perfect when we trotted him out cold the next morning. No regrets there. Love that horse.
Nicki "herded the kittens for us" she kept the two young riders flying straight all day. With a few small adventures (Deen jumped at one point so high in the air that Nicki's air vest deployed, Nicki was so high out of the saddle she had no stirrups and then with the vest's air canister explosion noise, Deen was off to the races) the three horses and riders finished looking perfect. Amparo and Grand (he looked great all day and I am so pleased that he is back to full health from his colic surgery that he had), Nicki and Deen (Deen was a terror most of the day, thank you Nicki) and Charlie with Treasure all were in the top ten 8th, 9th and 10th. Great ride for the three of them.
We drove home from the freezing weekend back to Florida. When we got home from the 6 hour drive Jeremy decided to shoe two horses front ends and then we did a few quick things before dark, like filling hay huts, unloading wet stuff from the trailer and laundry. Amparo packed for her next leg of her USA adventure. Then I took Amparo to Valerie Kanavy's house to drop her at her next destination, riding with Val for a couple of weeks. Jeremy stayed home to instruct Charlie on the house/herd watching as we were flying out the next morning to the Carribean.
I am typing this as I sit on the island of Bequia at Nicki and Andy's house. It is stunning. Life in the fast lane, only it hit a very nice slow here this week. See you all at Gator Run. Hopefully without any one getting pulled!!
Wednesday, November 30 2016
Pictured above: Jeremy's solution to losing an arm on his sunglasses mid race.
Well I am running behind on my blogs. We have been racing every weekend for the last 6 weeks. Finally we have the upcoming weekend off so I am catching up. We did the Boggy Creek ride three weeks ago. (On the way to the race Jeremy told me the only thing he wanted out of the weekend was to see a bear! He had seen a couple at this ride last year.)
It was a lot of fun, as usual. Our friend Sydney Vale was in the area and wanting to do an endurance ride so she and I rode Deen and Treasure on the 30 while Jeremy took Gus on the 50. The ride is always a class act. It is held at the beautiful Boggy Creek Kids Camp. The ride meeting was fun paired with a nice dinner. There is also a big raffle and silent auction which goes on throughout the weekend.
We had the fun treat of not having our LQ to stay in. It has been in the shop as not just one, but BOTH of the slides went bad on it. Super... The trailer guy said that our trailer has the top of the line slides "that never go bad". Whoever designed this amazing thing failed to have a plan if the slides go bad. You actually cannot access one of the two slides without literally dismantling the living quarter walls and cabinets. We requested that just the one slide (the one that could barely be accessed) be fixed and to disconnect the second slide and that we would deal with it and sort that out later (as we have so many races going on at the moment that we just want the trailer back).
Saturday morning Jeremy took off on Gus. A while later Sydney and I rode the 30 on Treasure and Deen. Our start was uneventful and the trail was a lot of fun. The two mares did great. This was there "after foal" race. They got through the first loop with ease. We were just keeping an easy trot. There was a bit of sand but it wasn't bad.
At our lunch stop we saw Jeremy. He and Gus were having fun. Sydney and my second loop was fun and the weather was super too. It was a bit on the hot side but there was a nice breeze. In the end we got back to camp and the two that were ahead of us had not recovered yet. We went to cool our horses and walked over at the same time as the other two riders. Treasure tied for first with one of the other riders. Deen came in 5th (there was another rider who came up just a hair after us.)
A short while later Jeremy and Gus won the 50. Somewhere out on the trail Jeremy lost an arm on his sunglasses. He improvised!! He looped a piece of baling string around his ear! He also saw 4 bears!!
The awards and dinner were fun once again with more raffle prizes. I would put this ride on your calendar for next time.
Tuesday, November 01 2016
The Skymont ride was a very nice change in weather for us. The temperature notably dropped from Florida up to Tennesee. It was a huge relief. The drive was an easy one and the horses were happy to get away from the heat as well. Jeremy and I took 2 horses each to ride one per day. I took Derby for day 1 and Gus for day 2. Jeremy took Lou for day 1 and Rictik for day 2.
When we arrived our friends Jesse and Aubree were waiting in camp for us, they had saved us a parking spot. We started to park and soon saw that our short bed truck combined with the auxiliary fuel tank in the bed of our truck was not going to allow for much navigating on the uneven terrain. We just got a new flatbed put on our truck and we have not gotten the sleeve needed yet to give us the distance we need to safely clear the gas tank. New dent... Oh well. We got it parked. Now to set up. We started to get everything set up and organized but when the time came to extend the slideouts we found out they didn't want to play this weekend. Damn things. One of them came out all slanted and jammed up. Jesse and Jeremy used a come-along ratchet strap and brute force to get it back in. One slide out worked but was leaking hydrolic fluid. Funtastic. (Turns out the hydrolics on both slides went bad and the AMAZING part about the design is that one of the slide's hydrolic systems is built in such a way that you actually have to tear out the living quarters to get to it, and this trailer company wonders why it went belly up??)
We vetted in and hung out. The ride camp is nicely shaded and by a lake. It was a pretty place. That evening we hiked, really hiked to the ride meeting. If Aubree hadn't been with us I would have totally thought we were just going out an a trail loop. It was about a mile to get to the meeting, on the trail. The meeting went on VERY long with a branch by branch trail description. Dinner was also served with the meeting. This ride is at a boys camp so the meeting is in the mess hall. It was pretty fun walking back, it was very dark and there were glow sticks.
The next morning I rode with Jesse and Aubree. Jeremy went faster on Lou. Derby and I had a great time riding with Aubree and Jesse. The trail was fun. There was a lot of single track and rolling terrain. Lots of foot work for the horses. There were also some bees! Darn things.
Derby did a great job and finished easliy. Lou came in 4th. The two looked great. After the ride was all said and done Jeremy and I went out for a ride on Gus and Rictik. No rest for the wicked. This was followed by another night hike to dinner and the ride meeting. Another equally descriptive trail narrative. Dinner as well.
The next morning I got Gus ready and once again Jeremy and I would ride seperately. As I was warming Gus up Aubree came and asked if she could take Derby on the 25 as something had come up with the horse she had planned to ride. I was happy as I wanted Derby to do 2 days. She went to go saddle him up. She is who I bought him from after all:)
Gus had a great day. He had his moments but over all he was super fun. He finished 6th and looked great. Rictik found one rock too many out on trail (there were tons of hoof twisters from roots, to sticks, rocks, ruts you name it) and pulled at the last vet check. Derby finished and he was still smiling, and so was Aubree.
Over all we had a very fun time at the Skymont ride. I would recommend this ride to anyone who wants to go see the sights. Very pretty and well organized.
This month is going to be slammed. We have races every weekend of Nov. First stop will be Boggy Creek with 3 horses, then Broxton Bridge with 5 horses, then Blackwater Boogie with 4 horses and finally JD's Carolina with 2 horses. Hope to see you out there on the trail.
Wednesday, October 12 2016
Pictured above: RR Gogh Gogh Gadget
Just a quick update, Gadget is doing super, he is bigger and stronger than the fillies were at his age. He is only 2.5 months old. He is very fun to have around and I think he is going to be a blast when he is finally old enough to be ridden.
We did our first ride in Florida since returning from CA. The New Smyrna Beach 50. Jeremy, Elaine, Marta and I all rode. This ride is almost always a sticky mess. We have camped at this ride two times and after the first time we swore we would never camp there again...after the second time camping there we remembered that we would would never camp there again!:)
The first time we camped at this ride we had two friends staying in the trailer as well. None of us slept. The bugs were coming through our srceen door and we were not allowed to run our generator after 10pm so we were just roasting to death in our trailer while being eaten alive by bugs. In the morning, we all felt like we had been on an episode of Naked And Afraid...Never again.
That said, Marta (our new friend from Spain who is attending college in Gainesville for her masters degree) came to stay at our house on Friday night. We got up at Oh-My-God in the morning and caught the horses to give them their electrolyte mash. We would be taking 4 horses. Jeremy on Lou, Elaine on Rictik, Marta on Gus and myself on Derby.
We left our house around 4:30 am. It is about a 2 hour drive and we needed to check in, set up our crew/cooling area and vet in. The drive was uneventful, always great when it's that way. Elaine met us there.
I did hear of many people who auditioned for "Naked And Afraid" in camp the night before this ride too!:) One person even packed up and drove away in the night. Glad we drove in, in the morning.
We set up our crew area with lots of cooling buckets and put our two big ice chests that were full of ice nearby. (The ice chests held over 300 lbs of ice which we used every cube of during the ride due to the heat) The weather has been CRAZY hot in Florida. This would be no exception. It was calling for low 90's with 75-80% humidity.
All the horses vetted in and we saddled up. The start was a slow mosey for us, as it would be all day. The horses seemed to enjoy being somewhere different than their home training trail. The morning was fun. Loop one went well. The horses even recovered fast considering how hot it already was.
Loop two was going great until we were almost back to camp. There was a log in the trail and Lou went over it and then Gus clunked over it, hitting his knee really hard on it as well as slicing his leg open on a knot sticking out of the limb. He was still sound however so we continued.
The next vet check went fine again, and all of the horses were dealing with the heat very well. Loop three was fun but getting hotter still. The trails at this ride are very repetitive. You pretty much do the race two times with a couple of variations. I still find it to be an entertaining ride. At the next vet check Gus realized that his knee actually hurt. He was pulled. Bummer. Marta's first ride in the USA. Darn. She will be around for the next couple of school years so I am sure we will have many more opportunities for her to get around.
The last loop the horses all did fine. We were sweating our asses off and turning into slap happy dehydrated riders, but the horses were great. They had no trouble and we enjoyed ourselves. We saw a turtle or two out there as well. Good times for sure. After all three vetted in we cleared out our crew area and had a bunch of yummy food that Elaine had packed. After this we hit the road for our two hour trip back. The horses were spectacular in handling the heat and when we got home all 4 galloped around their field.
Our next ride was Skymont which I will catch up on soon.
Friday, October 07 2016
Pictured Above: Jerjes and I the day before the 80 km National Championship in Colombia.
I have once again missed the boat in a big way on posting my blog! On our drive home from California to Florida (back in August!), just after we cleared Auburn, we received an invite from our friend Cristina Mutis to ride in the Colombian National Championship. Jeremy and I would be riding her horses on the 75 mile FEI ride. We thought about it very briefly and agreed to go...When else would an amazing opportunity like this come up?
This ride happened to be only a week after we left CA so we would have to get across the country and get things organized in a hurry and then head to the airport. We managed to get everything done and found ourselves sitting on a plane just a little over a week after leaving CA. CRAZY.
When we arrived in Bogota it was late in the evening and Diego Arboleda picked us up. We had never met Diego in person so I sent him a picture of a bright ball cap I would wear, to which he sent me a pic of an orange Bass Pro hat he would wear. It worked perfectly. When we were walking to the car we noticed that we were at elevation as our breath was short. Bogota is around 8675 feet.
Diego drove us to his farm where we spent the night. It was an amazing old house with a straw thatch roof, like from a fairy tale. In the morning we looked around his farm and met his horses.
It is colder in Colombia than we had imagined. The whole time we were there it was around 55-65 for the high and drizzling rain off and on.
We drove to the ride site, the road was a windy mountain pass. The roads in general are pretty rough. There are also amazingly random speed bumps in the middle of a two lane highway where you were just driving 50 MPH and then... SURPRISE! We managed to not meet the roof with our skulls but had a lot of really close calls.
Once at the ride site it was the same familiar territory of any endurance camp. The venue was really nice, it had an indoor lounge with full catering of breakfast, lunch and dinner that you could purchase as well as hot drinks and a fireplace going. Then there was music playing over a PA system all weekend. Just outside from this meeting area was a covered arena for vetting. There was a very nice social aspect to this event as far as being able to comfortably hang out. There were actually a surprising amount of spectators who had simply come to hang out.
The horse I ended up riding was a friend's of Cristina as the original horse had been hot nailed and was too sore. I was introduced to my grey gelding, Jerjes who I called Hero. I would now be riding the 80 km instead of the 120. Jeremy rode one of Cristina's horses on the 120.
We stayed in an amazing hacienda that was just a mile from the venue. It was an old style house that was made of clay bricks and it had a large open air court yard in the middle of it with the rooms all surrounding the courtyard. It was a very special place.
The race was pretty different than a race in the USA. The main difference was going through the towns. The towns are very busy but small. While riding through town you might see a horse pulling a milk cart, donkeys, goats, chickens, cars, bicycles, people sitting outside, motorcycles and tons of dogs. The dogs were crazy in numbers. (It bacame our joke that in order to be considered a true Colombian you had to own at least 4 dogs) I only rode 2 of my 3 loops and during that time I easily encountered over 75 dogs. All loose, without an owner in sight. Mostly running at you at top speed while barking and lunging at your horse. Hero was great, for the most part he just kept on. There were two times when Hero told me that the particular dog was "BAD" in which case we would bolt down the trail, which I happily let him do. I figured he is a local and knows what to do.
There were also crazy things like manhole covers missing or VERY deep holes in the pavement, the bridges were wood covered in dirt and almost every bridge had dirt that had fallen through a rotten spot in the wood resulting in a leg eating hole in the bridge. It quickly became apparent that you should pull up and cautiously walk over bridges.
The hospitality was super. Riding with the other riders I was offered water and one competitor even bought me a drink out in a town along the trail. The countryside was also very beautiful. It was a wonderful experience.
I was pulled after the second loop. My horse came in looking super. Then he would not recover. He hung at 68. I pulled. He had all A's but a crazy pulse. It was so odd, he gave no indication of anything being wrong. He did seem like he had to pee but it was still crazy to not recover. Around 20 mins after the pull he peed and then was at a very normal pulse. In speaking to his owner about it (sheepishly as I have never had this happen before) he told me that the horse had done this at his last ride too. In watching the other horses that came in, it became clear that at this milage this happened to many others as well. Horses that looked great, not recovering. I still do not have an answer for this. The ride was at around 9000 feet and it was humid but not hot (sweat shirt on, sweat shirt off all day). Jeremy made it 50 miles of his 75 and had a very similar experience, almost not recovering and then ultimately getting pulled for a subtle hind end lameness.
The ride was fun regardless. All of the competitors stayed afterwards for a dinner and awards ceremony. I have not been to a race in over a decade where people have actually stuck around to enjoy themselves after a race. This was so much fun.
In our remaining days in Colombia we went to Cristina's farm (at 10,000 feet) and saw her awesome horses and also went for a ride. She also took us to many local places and let us try the local flavors at restaurants. The food was incredible.
We really enjoyed Colombia. If you ever get the chance to go, take it.
Tuesday, July 26 2016
Pictured Above: RB Code and I
I have been super lax on writing my blog!!! I see that I haven't done one since March! We went to Dubai after FITS with Rictik and Chachie. The trip was really brief this time compared to the month long stay we had in Dec/Jan. Both of the horses traveled well. Chachie and Rictik both handled the desert without an issue. On loop two Rictik did leave me in the sand, that was a drag as she really wrenched my back. That was the only casualty we had though. She saw something that I didn't (and no other living thing did either) and did a huge twisting leap from cantering on a loose reign. I was airborn before I even knew what had happened.
Rictik and Chachie finished the 120/75 mile ride as the sun was setting. It was a successful trip. We had stellar crew once again. The crew was my mom Jean, sister Hannah, Adam Farmer, Lynn Kenelly and my brother Jonathan.
From here, the organizing committee graciously agreed to fly our horses to the UK rather than back to Miami. The horses went to Nicki and Andy Thorne's place in the UK. They would do the Windsor FEI race which was roughly 5 weeks after the Dubai race. Nicki and Andy hosted us and took wonderful care of us and our horses. They helped make us in making the arangements.
When we returned from Dubai we went to the McCulley Farm ride with Emma and Elaine. We did the two day ride. This is a very nice ride. Fun trails and a well organized event. Emma rode Code both days, Jeremy rode Liger day 1 and Sinister day 2, Elaine rode Benz both days and I rode Kellora the first day and pulled her on day 2. It was a fun time.
Jeremy flew out to the UK after this to take care of the two horses feet and ride them for a couple of weeks after the horses had been resting in the UK for a couple of weeks. At this point we found that Rictik was not sound. After a vet work up not much was found. Her suspensory was sore but clean in an ultrasound. Bummer. She would just rest in the UK and skip the race.
While Jeremy was in the UK I took his horse Danire to a local 50. Elaine took her Rocky Mountain horse, Hershey. It was an elevator ride so Elaine was starting with the LD and depending on how hot it was going to be she would either do the LD or elevate to the 50. Danire and Hershey went around nice and easy together. We had fun. At the halfway point, we were arriving into our 1 hour hold as the leaders were getting ready to head back out and it was really getting hot so Elaine decided 25 was enough for Hershey. I went out to do the rest of the 50. I had trotted the first half of the ride and now for training purposes I planned to canter the rest. Danire went around at a nice canter for the rest of the ride and won by a healthy margin. The leaders had not expected to see me so that was pretty fun. Danire also won BC and high vet score. This was his first ride after his 100 in the UAE in Jan.
Jeremy flew back from the UK to the USA just in time for the Biltmore. We took six horses, Elaine hauled two for us and we took the other three. We had Kellora, Sinister, Errow, Benz, Lou and Code. We brought Errow to trade for a new horse as the two horses (Errow and the new horse, Gus) seemed more fitting for opposite riders.
We did the trade right when we got there. The new horse is named Galloping Gus, he is an 11 year old SamTiki son. Jeremy did his feet and vetted him in for the 50 on day one at the Biltmore and I was to ride Kellora. It would be Gus's first 50.
We vetted in and then went out to dinner. It was fun, the town there at the Biltmore is really cute. The next morning we had a rootin' tootin' Gus. He would protest any time you aimed him away from the starting line while warming up, pretty entertaining for observers. It was the strangest thing! How did he even know where the starting line was?? It was clear that he definately did though!! The ride was fun until Kellora got pulled at the first vet check. Gus went on to finish with Jeremy.
After Jeremy finished we pre-rode the horses for the 75 that was happening the next day. Our friend Judith Ogus had flown in to ride Sinister with us. I would ride Lou, Elaine would ride Benz and Jeremy would ride Code. On our pre-ride Sinister seemed to have sore feet... Dang. Jeremy did some adjusting to his feet after the ride but Sinister had taken a chunk out of his hoof the week prior and that seemed to be the culprit.
In the morning we warmed up and all crossed the starting line but within 25 feet of crossing the line Sinister was clearly not able to do the race. He was pulled, bummer as he literally went 25 feet. The day was pretty out on the trail. The horses all did a good job and all finished. It was Code and Benz's first 75 as well as Elaine's first 75.
We drove home on Sunday and we were driving to the airport on Monday. It was the week of the Windsor race when we flew to the UK and got things prepared for the ride. Jeremy and Chachie would be doing the race as well as Nicki. While we were there we got to see our mare Cleo that Nicki and Andy now own and her stunning new Tiderbret foal. Very fun to see.
The race had beautiful scenery from what I could tell from crewing. It was on the Windsor Estate grounds. The Queen of England was even at the vet check for a while as well as the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Sheik Mohammed. The vet gate was like that of a World Championship. Beautifully laid out with big catering tents for all.
The ride had very lumpy footing as well as a large amount of pavement. At the last vet check Chachie was pulled. He had a great CRI and he was sound but he looked lack luster and didn't really want to trot down the muddy, sticky trot lane. Bummer. Nicki finished on Bold Grayson. Lisanne Dorian also finished on her own mare Tulip (King's half sister).
Our crew was super, as usual. This time we had my mom Jean, Lynn Kenelly, Sarah Engsberg, my brother Jonathan and Adam Farmer. Great group of fun friends.
After the ride was all said and done and we had returned to Nicki and Andy's the real fun began. We were toured all over the countryside and given many history lessons from Andy. We also went to London and toured around. Amazing, colorful history. We really enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We even got to see the opening or Parliament. The Queen went by in her carraige and then we even got to go inside of the lobby (the original room where the word lobby originates) to watch the whole ritual of black rod and all of the proceedings. Very special.
The trip was amazing. We all made it back to the USA. Rictik and Chachie included:) It was now almost time to get loaded up for the big trip out West!! Geez.
We went to the Camp Osborn ride with Gus and Lou. We also took Benz and Code as we would be doing a hand off at a gas station on our trip back to Florida. Lynn and Misty had offered to help haul horses to Ft Howes so we would not have to haul to Montana, back to Florida then to California. Instead we could go to Montana and continue on as they would shuttle the extra horses and keep them during our California trip.
Gus was not right and Jeremy rider optioned part way through. Lou was terrific and came in 4th with Best condition and high vet score. This ride was fun. There was even a lake to swim in as well as water slides to play on. Good times for sure, lots of families out having a great weekend.
On our way home we met Lynn at a gas station and she took Code, Benz and Lou and 13 bales of hay!. Gus was lonely the rest of the drive...
Once we were home it was reorganizing and wrapping things up to head to Ft Howes and then continue on to Tevis. We drove 3 hours to quarantine and picked up Chachie (Rictik, being a mare had an additional amount of days in quarantine so we said hi to her but she was not ready for pick up) We booted, packed, shopped and did paperwork and then hit the road. Danire, King, Liger and Chachie were hitting the road! Chachie was to be a back up for Tevis, hopefully he would not be needed for Tevis...
On our way we stayed at the Olson's for two nights. We had a fun time as usual and hung out boating on the Missippi River for the day. From there we did two short days (by crazy people's standards). The first day we went to a horse hotel and went out for dinner. It was really fun, we also got to visit with our good friends Christina and Jeff Martin and their new cute baby Brekken.
We arrived at Ft Howes without a mishap. Lou, Code and Benz had been there all week already. There were alot of boring details with team stuff etc. but we will skip that stuff. Day one I rode Liger on his first FEI 50. He did super. He won the ride and looked fantastic. That was really fun to ride one that we raised.
Day two was the 100 mile time trial for the World Championship Jeremy rode Danire and I rode King. The pair were doing great together. Around mile 40 King felt off. I pulled up and walked in, he was "off and on" sound. By the time I reached the check he was sound enough to trot soundly down the lane. I decided to rider option. He got all A's but we weren't even halfway through the ride and something was wrong.
Jeremy and Danire had a great race. The last loop there was a three way race between Meg Sleeper, Ellen Olson and Jeremy. The end was a surprise. Meg had it won on her Anglo as he is very fast but at the last tiny bit she let off and he spooked, giving Danire the opportunity to blast past in the last 10 feet of the race. It was very exciting to watch. Danire won, Meg was second and Ellen third, all three horses looking spectacular right there together.
Meg won BC by 1 vet point. Danire was runner up. Our crew was stellar again. We had Misty McAdams, Lynn and Aiden Kenelly, Adam Farmer, then Yanica Haasbroek and Kelsey Russell jumped in later in the day and eventually myself as well as a few other people that lent a hand. There were also some first time riders who really had no idea what to do that our crew crewed for. Very sweet.
From here we changed our mind on what horses we thought we would take West. Originally King and Danire were not going to go to CA. Then we decided we wanted Danire to go for training in case they selected him for the team. We took King for training as well.
We decided to take Lou, Code, Chachie, Benz, King and Danire to CA. Only Liger stayed behind. He went to stay with Misty while we were in California. We pulled out of the ride site after the awards and went 4 and a half hours to Paradise Valley to visit our friend Carl Knutchel. Adam had flown in and was now driving back to CA with us. On our way we hit an epic hail storm. We were thinking we might lose our windshiled over it!! CRAZY!!!
We arrived at Carl's, put the horses up and went to dinner at Carl's restaurant. Very yummy!!! After dinner Jeremy, Adam and I went to Chico hotsprings for a soak. Mush deserved relaxtion time:) The next morning we went for a scenic ride up in to the mountains. Jeremy rode Chachie, Adam was on Benz and I rode Code. It was a pleasant and beautiful walking ride. That afternoon Carl taught us all how to fly fish. We weren't a successful bunch but we had a lot of fun! We ate at Carl's restaurant again to try more of the menu.
We hit the road that evening. We wanted the horses to not have to be hot going through Nevada so we drove at night. We arrived at Adam's around 2 pm. We were all spent.
We relaxed for a couple of hours and then went to get a massage! There's a great place that we spent a lot of time at last summer that we hit up. It's $25 an hour!! Too great.
Within three days of arriving we were at the Wild West endurance ride. We rode day 2 and 3. On day 2, I rode Hillorie Bachmann's horse Cuyucos on the 50 with her. Jeremy rode Chachie who came in 3rd or 4th, I don't remember. Day 2 Jeremy rode Benz for his first time and I rode Code for the first time at a race. The Florida horses weren't too sure about the substandard footing! By the second half of the ride they were figuring out how to deal with rocks. These two Tevis horses had a steep learning curve.
The rest of our stay here at Adam's has been super. It has been a combination of running, swimming, riding, visiting friends, riding, massage's, riding and having a great time.
A couple of days before the Tevis we got an email that dismissed Danire and Jeremy from being considered for the World Championship team so we switched Jeremy from riding Lou to Danire. Danire did not have any Tevis preparation. He had won the FT Howes 100 6 weeks prior but didn't have any trot training or hill work. Danire is much further along in his career than Lou.
The Tevis was really fun as always. We went up to the start on Friday. Elaine and her husband Guy met us up there. Benz, Code and Danire were the lucky team. All three vetted in and looked great. The ride meeting was brief. Bed time was upon us and we fell asleep. That night it got down to 38!! It's a first for me to have to put the heavy winter blankets on the horses at Tevis. It was also a first to start in more than a t-shirt.
Our start was uneventful and Code and Benz did a great job. The day was very fun. The bogs were gone!! They have been completely fixed, INCREDIBLE!!! So much work had to happen for this. At Robinson Flat I had an underwear issue that I finally got to address which required a knife! Too funny! (I McGuyvered my underwear and it worked!)
We only had one crazy thing happen, going up the second canyon, into Michigan Bluff Benz stepped off the edge of the trail/cliff. Her left front went off the trail and she was teetering off the side. I looked down and it was crazy STEEP and about 1000 feet down. I yelled to Elaine to jump off. She quickly bailed off as the mare went off the edge that was on our left. The mare did a 180 as she slid down, so now we were to her left and the downhill was to her right. Her right hip caught one of two trees that were there. That stopped her sliding. Then she took a step away from the tree, (so now she might slide to her death) all the while she was looking up to us on the ledge. She was about two horse lengths down when she gathered herself up and made a Hail Mary leap/scramble to the trail. She made it!!! So SCARY!!! I had jumped off Code the moment she went down and now I was clearing the area as best I could on a tiny lip of a trail on the side of this drop off. She just had enough room to be there. All of the riders behind us (about 5 or 6) were silent. It was stunning. Both horse and rider were unmarked and fine. Shortly after that all of the riders let out sighs of relief and we all wanted to get the heck out of there. It was the craziest, near death thing I have seen in a long while.
Luckily the rest of the day went well. We would also get updates along the way that Danire and Jeremy were doing well. The memories of that day are abundant and fun to recall. Our crew was amazing. We had my mom Jean, Lynn Kenelly, Adam Farmer, Will, my sister Hannah, Guy Lemieux, Emma and Giulia Orth, Tammy and Adam's mom and sister Laura and Jenna.
In the end we finished at 4:40 am. Code and Benz did their first 100 and Elaine did her first 100. It was fun because our old horse Sam Samstar did from Francisco's to the finish with us and finished right with us as well with his owner David Shefrin. My head hit the piloow at 7 am. I was up at 9 am to help get Danire ready for the Haggin Cup judging.
Danire did great. He came in 4th. Hell of a horse for not having the specific training we usually do for the Tevis...like trotting!!! LOL
We are all resting this week and will head back to Florida Monday. See you all out on the trail.
Tuesday, March 15 2016
Bound For Honor on his way to winning the 100/160. Picture by Becky Pearman
Jeremy and I were busy glueing up horses in Easycare products the week leading up to the Fun In The Sun ride, Jeremy was CRAZY busy! This year the FITS ride was the first of three of the USA Time Trial rides, meaning the USA selectors and team veterinarians and Chef would be looking over nominated horse and rider combinations to start the selection process for the USA Endurance Team for the World Championship that will happen this December in Dubai.
Because of this we had to be at the race on Tuesday so that we could have Honor examined by the staff. We loaded up Honor and Lou and went over to the ride. We had dropped off our LQ the day before so we took our smaller shuttle trailer over. Honor had his exam and Jeremy took Lou out for a ride. We were told that we were to camp at the ride from that point forward but lucky for us we were then told that that wasn't the case. We stayed at the ride site to have the dinner of shrimp and grits that Lynn Kenelly made for all, then we loaded up and took Honor and Lou home for the night and let them be in their pasture. We live about 20 mins from the ride so this was super.
On Wednesday morning we rode Chachie and Rictik on their last training ride before they would fly to Dubai for a race we were invited to at the very last minute. The race is on March 19th and it is a 140 km race. An odd distance of roughly 88 miles. After this we loaded Honor, Lou and now Code back up and went over to the ride. We did the usual pre ride things that afternoon. Vetted in, weighed in and got things organized. Jeremy had to help out a few friends with their Easyboots while I got the crew stuff ready.
When I vetted Honor in he was very questionable. If I were trotting him out during the race and he looked the way he did, I would be nervous that he was about to get pulled. That was a total bummer. Nothing like vetting in with a marginally lame horse! I trotted him out on alll different kinds of surfaces right after that and he didn't look as bad. I decided to pre ride him. He felt funky. Dang it. What the heck? I was also getting comments from friends like, "did you know that Honor didn't trot well?" and I overheard someone say while I was trotting him out, "Well that one's lame". A bit of a problem.
As Jeremy and I were just getting into bed we were discussing Honor's feet and already losing sleep over it. Jeremy got out of bed and drove home to get some things to try to change Honor's feet. At 10:30 he returned (this is the night before the 100). We trotted Honor out and we had nothing to lose. Jeremy re-did his front feet and made some adjustments. Then all we could do was try to sleep!
The next morning I got on Honor and he felt SUPER. WOW!! We would soon find out if he could stay this way, 100 miles is a lot to ask of a horse that wasn't sound the day before. I decided to start and see how far we could make it. A half an hour later Jeremy started the 75 on Lou.
We had an awesome crew, Lynn Kenelly, Misty McAdams, Sarah Engsberg, Jean Spinner, Elaine Lemieux, Holly Jonsson and Matt Torrens. They really rocked and took excellent care of us and the horses all day long. I love them, thank you guys!!
I rode in my new Reactor Panel, the Tribute. Hands down, the best saddle I've ever raced in! Reactor Panel was at this ride and put on a nice wine and cheese social while displaying their saddles. I would highly recommend doing a trial on one of these saddles, I think you will fall in love with it like I have.
The ride went really well. Honor felt great all day and to my happiness and surprise he looked great all day too. This was his first 100. He flew through it like a champ and won the ride:) He is Superman..the Beast. 10 mins after Honor galloped in, he was vetted through at a 56/56 pulse. I love this horse! Lou also did a fantastic job and finished her first 75 and came in 7th. She looked fresh at the end too. Perfect day, what a turn around from what Honor had vetted in looking like.
Jeremy went home right after his 75 and took Lou with him. Jeremy had to fly to Dubai the very next day so he had a few things to take care of. On Friday morning, around 5:30 am he took Chachie and Rictik to Dr Anne Christopherson's to meet the transport that would take the horses to the airport. Then Jeremy came back to the race to exchange the shuttle trailer for our car and he went home and got a ride to the airport...what a jetsetter.
Friday, I didn't ride as I was to be available for the selectors and team of vets to present my horse and answer any questions. It was a relaxing day, I crewed for Sarah Engsberg and Nicki Thorne, (who was riding RB Code on his first 1*) as well. After I was done with my things that I needed to be at the ride site for I took Honor home and picked up Saturday's horses, Kellora and Benz. I also took care of a few things at home.
When I returned I had to track down Benz's rider who was a Canadian that was riding one of Yvette's horses that day. After I found her, we vetted in our horses. Then I continued crewing for my friends. After Nicki finished Andy drove the shuttle trailer back to our house with Code. Now I only had the LQ to drive, phew.
On Saturday morning Kellora and Benz went out well. We were keeping a very mild trot pace. The whole weekend had been much warmer than what we have been used to and the sand was deep. Kellora and Benz didn't fair so well. Both mares were pulled with hind end lamenesses. Darn it. I think this was due to them not used to trotting so much, as they canter more usually, as well as deep sand and heat. Benz made it 32 miles and Kellora made it to the finish at 60 miles. Bummer for sure. To make matters worse the poor Canadian had been pulled both days in a row. What a drag. At least day one had gone super and Code did great on day 2!
I am sitting at the airport waiting to board my flght as I type this. Wish us luck in the desert. See you at McCulley Farm.