I went with my friend, Cindy who had done some rides in the past but really wanted to get back into it. Apparently we made camping out of my truck look like something we did all the time! We got comments on how organized we were. I felt like we had just thrown everything in the back of my truck to make it up there!
While we were at the ride meeting that evening Cindy's mare's breeder was there. I will call her DM for short. I have had some dealings with her as well, as she owns Diesel's dam and his full sister. (Diesel's breeder leased the mare and payment was her being bred back to Kuwwat) I wanted Diesel registered Half Arabian as well as Akhal-teke Sporthorse, and so Diesel's breeder had to get the dam's paperwork from DM for this to happen. Originally I was told the mare hadn't been transferred to DM in AHA records. Diesel's breeder worked with her to get the paperwork in order and get the mare transferred so I could register Diesel. Well after I sent nearly $400 in for Diesel's half Arabian registration, to cover his aged horse fee, Dam's DNA test fee (luckily they had blood on file so I didn't need a hair sample!) and transfer of owner fee(since it goes by Dam owner) etc; I got paperwork back from AHA saying the dam's owner wasn't correct!! The paperwork had been dated in 2013 for the mare's transfer, not 2009 or before when Diesel was born! I got very lucky that AHA was able to track down a former endurance rider that no one had talked to recently and she was willing to sign the paperwork so Diesel could be registered. In the process DM lied straight to my face that she had transferred it when she got the mare. Which both the AHA records and Diesel's breeder said otherwise. So that is our backstory on how I met DM.
The next morning I am warming Quick up, milling around with other riders when DM rides up and said loudly, "You're riding THAT?!"
We milled around and moved across the road to the start. I made my way to the front of the pack, trail was open and we were one of the first couple out. Quick was ready to go and pulling hard. He wanted nothing to do with waiting. A few miles in another rider cantered past the gal I was following. So I pulled Quick out to the side and let him go.
I was actually surprised with how much road riding there was. I think they had to reroute the normal trails due to trees down and the bad winter we had. We had left the other horses behind by the point we turned onto the Pacific Crest Trail. We crossed the road and came into the vet check. Quick easily pulsed down, I believe first but I could be wrong. We were back out on the trail after our hold as other riders started coming in. I was still riding with the same guy. He was riding a gaited horse, I was surprised that his horse was keeping up with Quick on the uphillls, gaited horses are usually more downhill horses than uphill. And for sure the downhill part was the case. Or perhaps he was more willing to push his horse cantering downhill than I was. We were on a lollipop loop, we went out than looped around back to the vet check. There was more downhill road riding. And the other rider was cantering most of it. Quick has become a competitive horse, a stark contrast from the meek I-will-not-pass- Roz horse I first met. He didn't understand why he had to trot down the hills (there were a LOT of rather large half halts going on on my part). At one point there was a herd of cows in the road. The other rider didn't slow down, and ended up chasing the cows down the road until they turned off.
When we hit the uphill back towards the Pac Crest trail and the vet check, the Spotted Mountain Goat took over. When Quick hits a hill he powers off. And so we did. We passed other riders who were going the direction we had just come from. Not far from the vet check we passed DM. She was shocked that we had already completed our lollipop loop. Quick came into the vet check, pulsed down right away and we waited to be off again.
This time we left by ourselves. Quick knew we were headed back, he settled into his 100 mile trot. This is his trot that stays the same no matter what the terrain is. Up or down we powered along. I amused myself by switching posting diagonals every time I saw a ribbon. This was a well ribboned trail and marked both coming and going, so I was switching a lot. It is always good to switch posting diagonals, it keeps your horse balanced so you are not always weighting one set of legs. We crossed a stream, I soaked my eventing vest in the stream, not as good as a cooling vest but it will hold water and it was cold!
This whole time I was waiting to be caught, I knew the other rider was coming. And quite frankly I was surprised it took him so long to catch us. I had decided that I would start to pick up the pace once we crossed the main road, leaving us 5-6 miles back into camp. He did catch us before then. We were just coming over the ditch and back onto the road when he caught us. He said he had missed a turn and had to double back. At the next water his horse drank more than Quick did, and I asked if it was okay I was off. He had no problem with it. I looked at Quick compared to his horse, his horse was obviously more winded than the Spotted One was.
We were off. He caught us again not too long off and Quick was more than wanting to race the other horse hard. We were cruising along. At one point, I was behind and noticed the horse's hind shoe coming off. It was swinging to the inside without fully leaving the hoof. I told the rider and we both stopped. His horse was panting, covered in sweat. Once again I asked if it was okay that I left. And he said yes. He had to pull the shoe and his horse wasn't going to move a muscle until asked.
Quick took off, and once he told me the they were catching up again, he took off again. He cantered up a twisty single track, making me laugh. When had Quick become this competitive?
They caught us and followed us to the last water. There were two riders there who asked if we were racing in. I knew Quick was still rather fresh, he was coming off of an 87 mile training ride at Mt. Adams, and being 100 mile fit I had plenty of horse. The problem was that the trail wasn't made for a race to the finish. Mostly single track at the end, and a turn from the road to the single track made it not really doable.
I told the other rider if he wanted ot race in it was up to him. That being said, if I was that rider I would have said you know what, my horse is a little tired. I will follow you in and call it a day.
Instead he took off at a dead gallop.
It was only a half mile, Quick took off after him. I held him to a canter. There was only one place that I felt I could make a pass. I tried, but the other rider kicked his horse on. So I sat back and let Quick canter in. The other rider nearly went down when it came to turning onto the single track. I had been setting Quick up for the turn so he never missed a beat.
At the finish we pulled up, and I looked around my boot bag (where I keep my vet card) for my vet card. I couldn't find it. Of course I started to mildly freak out. The timer told me to look again. I found it. It had been jostled to the bottom of the bag.
We walked across the road to the vet in area. It was weird, there was absolutely no one around. Most of the 25s should have been in by then. No volunteers, and only one in timer. As we walked up the In timer yelled "GET WATER ON THAT HORSE BEFORE IT DROPS!!" to the other rider.
I dropped Quick's tack in a pile and started sponging him down. I realized that I had dropped my vet card, I guess it didn't like me! I asked the timer to hold Quick, since she was holding the other horse. I found my card not far from the where we crossed the road and walked back. It was very interesting to see the two horses standing side by side. Quick looked like he hadn't just done 50 miles. He wasn't breathing hard, he was alert as if he was ready to go for another loop or two. The other horse, in contrast, was still breathing hard and held its head down. I wondered if the horse would pulse down in time.
We went to the vet for our 10 minute CRI. Quick had his best CRI. He was a little sore on his right front at the trot out, not enough to be pulled or anything. I decided to show for Best Condition anyway. I was sure he probably just smacked his leg from the canter in. I took him back to the corral and wrapped his front legs, cleaned him up and let him chow down and relax. Then I went and waited for my friend.
When I saw her coming in I was standing by the tables and was yelling "Yeah! Way to turtle the LD!!" Becuase I was super happy that she was out here riding. She checked in with the person across the creek and then came up. All the while I was yelling praise.
We both figured she had checked in with the timer for the LD across the creek. As THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO ONE AROUND. I helped her cool off her horse and went through to the vet to vet her horse through. The vet didn't write anything on her card and handed it back to her. We brought her mare back and settled her in.
I showed Quick for the 1 hour check, he was completely sound. I think only one other rider had come in and had been pulled. There was still no one around.
We put both horses up to wait until later that day.
Quick getting a back scratch.
At one point, some hours later, the ride manager comes running around frantically looking for a missing horse and rider. It was my friend. Apparently the person she checked in with at the creek didn't record that she checked in?! Neither my friend nor myself realized that we were supposed to go hunt down people to tell them that she had come in, we both thought that since she checked in at the creek AND vetted through that she was good to go. I mean, they managed to miss me screaming "Way to turtle the LD!"
At the awards dinner DM came and sat down next to us. She kept trying to get me to talk about "the Handsome Diesel." All the while I am just trying to eat. I really don't want to strike up a conversation. So she talked with Cindy.
Well the awards were called out, the rider who raced us in did get a completion and a first place. Only one other rider showed for Best Condition. The third place rider finished nearly an hour behind us!
And the winner for Best Condition? QUICK!!!!!
The Spookaloosa won his first Best Condition! I had been practicing our trot outs and asking advice from other endurance riders on how to improve how he shows. All of our hard work paid off. 2nd Place and Best Condition.
Now, at the awards ceremony they called up all riders who started to come get a shirt even if they didn't complete. She called up my friend and made a public spectacle about how she didn't hunt them down and tell them she was back in camp. I am disappointed in myself that I didn't stand up and argue some more with them about their lack of time keeping which lead to this issue in the first place. (I had already beaten that proverbial dead horse and they wouldn't listen. It was easier to blame a new person then to see where the problem actually was)
Despite that here are my two cents: If you want to draw new or returning riders to the sport or YOUR RIDE, DO NOT PUBLICLY HUMILIATE THEM. People make mistakes (the MIA in timer for one, or the person at the creek should have checked her in OR the Vet should have held taken her ride card). Think of the take away for a brand new rider if the Ride Manager had shamed them infront of the entire group of riders? Do you think that this rider would return to this sport after such a horrible experience? Instead the rider manager should be looking at what happened as to why the rider was "lost". Where was the in timer? Who was at the creek taking numbers? Why didn't the vet take her card? Any of these things would have resulted in less stress for the ride manager. I do hope she reads this blog, I doubt I will return to this ride after how this was handled. I know we are all human, but an apology is in order to Cindy.
The best part of this whole experience was at the next shoeing appointment for Quick. I had tried the Blue Pegasoas shoes on him after the vets suggested 24-7 hoof protection to compensate for the extra super duper wet spring we had. Colby, my farrier, came up and set down his tools and asked, "So what did you do to DM to make her so butthurt?" As he had just come from doing her horses.
First of all, 'butthurt' is not a term I thought he knew. I said, "well That," and I gestured to Quick, "got second place and BC and she turtled the ride. I didn't do anything actually."
The most recent thing I heard from another friend, who is also riding an Appaloosa, and uses Colby as well is that DM said Appaloosas shouldn't do endurance!
I spent a half hour laughing about this.
Dominique Cognee was the photographer and I bought one of the
photos he took of us at Tevis in 2015!