CTR 100,60, 40.
This is not an endurance ride Scott but it is a Competitive ride with lots of history. I am also not a good rider, a computer person so it most likely will be direct to the point.
Ride Manager - Becky Siler. What a wonderful job. I did not ride but I have many friends that were riding and drove up Saturday to help out and support them. Arrived in time to get to the last vet check (10 miles to go) out of camp. Helped set up water buckets for everyone. Vets and Volunteers started to show up. Everyone was set up and ready to go before the first horse arrived. This was the second day of the 100 or the first day for 40 and 60's. Format was Friday 40, Saturday 40, Sunday 20. Riders coming in and did the horses look great. 5 horses were pulled out of 47 for that day that left out. From what I heard from the riders there was plenty of water out on the trail with beautiful scenery through the Ocala Forest in Florida. Open spaces, wooded, palemetto, and lets not forget the sand. Lots of Sand. The volunteers did a great job refilling water buckets and handing out gator ade and water to those arriving. Refilling water bottles and such. Off the trail they went and from the looks of where they were headed into it looked beautiful. Wish I was riding, but then again I am glad I was not. It has been unconditionally hot this time of year for Florida with temps in the mid to high 80's and humid as ever.
One rider pulled at that vet check and trailered back home. After talking to her after the ride she said that her horse gets hot easily and this is always a problem with him. She did a wonderful job of taking care of her beautiful walker. Such a nice person and happy with what he had accomplished. Alot of the 40 mile riders usually only do 25 miles, so for them to test themselves and their horses especially in the hot, humid and deep sand they all seemed very proud of their accomplishments.
Back at home camp, riders were coming in for their finish. All horses looked exceptional and really looked well taken care of for this leg of the ride. You can tell because everyone was coming in with a BIG smile on their faces. As each rider or group of riders came trotting by everyone clapped for their accomplishments. This seemed to help pump the riders and the horses up.
Vets and Volunteers worked hard to keep to their schedule of events that was extremely detailed on the brochure that was handed out. Many activities were involved with this ride not just the ride. They had a social hour, a raffle drawing of tons of prizes. The Distance Depot www.thedistancedepot.com was there for riders to purchase items of NEED. We always need something. I picked up a jug of Perform n Win myself.
As I was sitting there watching my favorite riders go through vetting watching intently how their horses were moving I noticed the vet. I don't know his name but he seemed very concerned with each rider and that they knew everything about the horse and how they were doing. He treated each one as if they were the only rider there. I am sorry for not knowing the name. He really deserves a lot of credit.
Awards were scheduled at 6 and were right on time. Boy those volunteers sure worked fast to calculate everyone's scores. I don't remember everyone who took home an award. They were actually very beautiful. The ones I do remember is Ramsey took home Grand Champion, her daughter took home second place junior. Caren Stauffer took home Best Trail Horse. Everyone seemed really happy.
At 7:00 pm they had entertainment at the Rocking Horse Stables where the ride was held. Wonderful exhibitions by different types of riding. First they had America the Beautiful playing with a reining horse doing his thing with the American Flag. Brought tears to my eyes. If they would have played Anchors Away I would have been a blubbering idiot (because I have 2 in the Navy). Then we all stood for the National Anthem with the American Flat in plain view in the center of the ring. After that we saw performances by the Citrus County Mounted Patrol and their drill team. What magnificent animals. Classical Dressage performance by an International Rider. What the killer was is he used an Arabian. What a beautiful performance. Flying lead changes with every step. Piaffe's, Passage, Extended Trot, Half Pass, Side Pass just beautiful. Then the reining horse came back with another performance with sliding stops, wow! and more. There was also a funny spot in the show. The announcer said that he was a International know famous trainer. Then he announced his name. I looked at my friends and said "I never heard of him". Lynette Burks said she thought it was going to be funny. She was right on the money. We laughed and laughed. I have never seen things done with a horse like that. That performance ended the show. We all went back to our trailers and either partied for those that were finished or went to bed for those that were riding the 20 miles for their 60 mile or 100 mile ride the next day.
Hopefully someone that stayed for the Sunday ride or who rode the ride will post more info. This is not just a ride it is a BIG event with lots of history. If you ever get a chance and would like to ride this one, look for it next year. It is usually booked up so keep watching for the next ride. Ride info can be found at www.distanceriding.com click on FHA.