As I can now walk almost normally, (not including going down stairs), here's my story about the Carolina ride.
I've had my Arab Appaloosa, Kaylypso (Lippy) for about 2 years, after 25 horseless years, always thinking I wanted to do endurance. The past year, after some pretty steady, three-times a week training rides, I thought we could make 30 miles together.
First surprise: Even those at the back of the pack, where I started, rode A LOT faster than what my sedate training pace had been. I expected the front runners to set the trail on fire (and they DID), but everyone's just goin' down the trail trot was much faster than the one Lippy and I did in training. So we teamed up with a real nice guy Steve and his pretty bay for the first 16 miles, a little walk, a lotta trot, and some canter. We walked into the check, my non-horsey husband provided water, beet pulp and moral support, and Lippy came down to 48 right away. We got all A's, and I left the check late after letting him eat. At least I tried to leave the check. Saddle back on? Head out of camp? Lippy was pretty surprised and disgruntled. Horses were coming in the opposite direction, back into camp. For those who saw us struggling and offered cheerful encouragement, thank you very much. A hundred miler came along (happily in the same direction we were trying to go), and said, come on with us. Lois, I think. Thank you Lois! Off we went, around a lake, and skirting some cotton fields. After a few miles, I got Lippy back to a walk for a breather, and watched Lois sail off into the woods. I hoped we could do this on our own, and sure enough, he agreed to keep our medium trot for the next 7 or 8 miles. Then out onto some paved road shoulder for several miles. It was a windy day, sunny and bright. A few hundred milers passed us, very polite and friendly, and finally we re-entered the woods for the last 5 miles or so. A couple of other people caught us up and we cantered a little bit more, crossed some more huge cotton fields in the wind, and came into the last wooded part for the finish. Lippy was not even too bugged out when the front runners in the 50 came by in the last mile or so.
I wish I could have found everyone who encouraged and helped us along the way to thank. My husband took pictures of us at the finish, and I have this idiot grin from ear to ear. I was proud of my little guy, and happy he finished happy and hungry. I think we were 40th out of 60 starters and 45 or so finishers.
I've been lurking on RideCamp since the beginning, and enjoyed all your expertise. Thanks, hope to see some more folks at the Sandhills ride in March.
Deb Ambrose & Lippy