This ride is well known for the rocks...lots and lots of rocks... and being Hot and Humid. Let me say, did not disappoint!
|100 mile start moon...|
I hooked up with my friend April and her guy Piper to keep us sane for the start. They did well together at No Frills and it was nice to get us all together again.
We waited to leave towards the back for the start, trotting out down the gravel. We came up on Kristen with Flash, who was having a hard time without a buddy and all the horses passing. We grabbed them up into our little group and he settled in well with us. Not too far into the loop Tesla was mis-behaving a bit so I was holding him back while April and Piper went on with another rider and then Kristen and Flash and I stuck together from here on out. This was Flash's first endurance ride; Kristen is a friend on FB that I finally got to meet in person here :) I love the virtual connecting!
We came into this ride with front shoes (reset a few weeks ago) and Vipers on back. Probably only a few miles in I had mud suck the Velcro open on one boot. Beyond that we had little trouble, unlike last ride where we pulled the cables out of a front and back boot! After the sucking mud spots from there out we'd do a quick boot check and make sure Velcro wasn't coming loose before it had a chance to open all the way up!
|The trail behind us|
We continued to cool off, he chowed down on his grain & supplement mix (yay!) and some hay and relaxed for a bit of our 30min hold. James was there crewing for Kristen and they were nice enough to share carrots and apples and hay (as Tesla decided his own wasn't good enough) with us. These two geldings really 'bonded' and Tesla was able to provide that "hey do this (eat/drink/etc)" to Flash on his first ride.
|VC munch time! Flash in the background|
So we set out after our hold time and had just about 1hr 45min to get back to camp/finish - 9miles. We knew we had to move! We got the boys moving out, stopping for drinks where we could, sponging, moving where the terrain allowed it. Then mother nature smiled on us and rained, hard. Oh how good that felt! Now we could move and not get as hot. We asked them for more and they were happy to be trotting along in the rain. The very last hill (kind of muddy too) Tesla took off up it (fun short run run) . We reached the top and Kristen said "Boot" lol. One back boot had come off the hoof but held on with his captivator. I hopped down, took it off and hooked it to breast collar. We finished the last maybe 2 miles with one back boot but we knew we were past the bad rocky area and close to camp. Tesla and Flash trotted and cantered their way in to the finish line in style and happy. We walked them to the tents, did some cooling and pulsed down with about 13min to spare! The horses had a rolling party in the vet line and vetted in great. All As, except hydration was still a B. There was not a lot of water on the last part to be had for drinking but he did well overall.
|Hay and dinner post ride :)|
|Leaving vet check ride photo - Becky Pearman Photography|
Oh and did I mentioned we had ZERO loading issues leaving for OD? Coming home he backed off once but easily came back on so I consider it a win!
On a side note...
I realized some funny things when reflecting... Kristen and I met through the endurance world, and started talking more after she got a gelding that I had once considered going to visit (but was heart set on a Black horse). Then we discovered we use the same treeless saddle that is virtually extinct now due to quality issues... but those of use who still use them seem have gotten the good ones that are lasting! just kind of interesting coincidences! So we both have "green" horses and saddle gripes to chat about!
I also ran into some folks I haven't seen since that fateful weekend at Iron Mountain, including my tent camping neighbor Jane and her guy Albert who also did the 25, and a friend from Memphis who is now at vet school in Knoxville and made the trip with her endurance mare to do the 50 with another rider I met and hadn't seen since IMJ too. We all completed with happy healthy horses!
|Kristen sporting the completion award :)|