Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Ofir Me The Wind, aka 'Kidd', A Horse With Heart - Kenny Stickler

Driving up hwy 62 just south of Prospect 9/25/99 all hell broke loose. Kidd and I were just going for a weekend of hunting. At 9:30 pm a BUCK jumped out. The truck handled it ,but the trailer didn't.The trailer pulled us of the road and corked screwed itself and the truck through the air.When I woke up Kidd was standing all humped over and bleeding. "My God my horse is dying" I thought.As I walked up to Kidd I realized he was still tied to what was left of the trailer and his head was taut to the ground.

I ran to the road and watched the first car fly by. In a blur a man stopped. Seeming more shaken than I, he gave me a knife to cut Kidd's rope halter loose and a phone to make a 911 call.

Kidd ran off as soon as he was free and instantly started eating. With the exception of looking like the horse whisperer he seemed fine. Not so - When I started looking closely , I noticed a large bump on Kidd's left rump the size of basketball.I thought it was a cramp but not so. It was a large hematoma.

Moving Kidd wasn't possible so Kidd stayed the night in someone's pasture. Kidd was now in Gods hands a and God took care of Kidd. Kidd ended up with a broken tail and back just above his tail. He lost all the hide on his rump and in time 90% of his tail.I had broken T-10 in my back as well.

Susie Morril sent a trailer down soon after the crash. With the trailer came Dennis O'Brien a horse chiropractor. Dennis demonstrated how to stimulate nerve growth in Kidd's tail. Dennis assistant opened my eyes to something I would never of thought. She asked me " doesn't it make you feel good ?" I looked at her in awe and said what in the world do you mean. Here my horse has a broken tail and back , I'm messed up as well, My truck is totaled and my trailer , well its at the scrap yard how would I feel good. Her reply was this. "Doesn't it make you feel good to know you have such a great protector? You should of all passed in this crash but you didn't and here you are. God has other plans for you guys she said." She was so right. Six months off for Kidd and me, we seemed to heal at the same pace. We were ready to start training. Our first ride back we went to Stookey and did 60 miles. Everybody asked about Kidd's short tail and couldn't believe the story and the pictures of the wreck.

I let Kidd go in this race and I mean GO.Kidd's Reg name is OFIR ME THE WIND and the wind was offered to us that day.We finished the race in 4:08 and received BE.C. This was quite a miracle, we not only got back on the trail we did it getting B.C over MC. RamsZ - not a easy task.

Susie Morril gave some of the best advice I could of gotten at this time of my endurance life. Susie said to get Kidd out of the 50s and go the distance.She said Kidd has talent and I'll ruin him if I keep doing what I had been doing.So I listened and in our second 75 we received yet another B.C. The longer distance seemed perfect. After some trials and errors we soon learned what to do and what not to do " almost '.

The next test of faith and heart came in 2001 in Bandit Spring ride.Kidd became ill at this ride and had to go to Bend Equine Hospital.The doctor couldn't believe Kidd was still standing.Kidd wasn't looking well at all.He was crashing hard and fast.At the ride Kidd's vet scores were great even the last one before his break,something wasn't right with his belly.All we could figure out after all the blood work prior to the hospital was great, is that maybe the electrolytes I gave him were different than any other I gave him. Kidd s stomach became upset and a chain reaction happened.The doctor wanted me to sign a paper saying he could put Kidd down in the night if things didn't get better. I of course said no way.You're asking me if Kidd might give up. I said I wouldn't do or think of such a thing.

While out unhooking the trailer the doctor said to my wife this is pretty much a lost cause.My wife Jill said,"you don't understand Kidd is our miracle horse." She explained the trailer accident and the doctor said well we need another miracle. When I started to leave I said out loud towards Kidd " HEY " and walked up to him .Trying to show no weakness I said to him quietly "don't you quit" and stared deep into his tired eyes.He stared back and with a distant but determined look he said he wouldn't, I just know.

Kidd made it and made it and after a couple of months we did a slow 80 Pacific Crest.Since we have completed four more 75 milers and four 100 miler with a training ride 50 miler.Now we"re honored to have been selected to ride on the Pacific North team in the Pan American Championship.

When it ccomes down to it, Kidd has one very important attraction to his great athleticism.Kidd has HEART ,with no heart you have nothing.People say if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything.I believe it is this way, with out your heart truly being there you may achieve mediocre goals.When you have the heart that Kidd has the sky is really the limit.When things seem to be at there worse reach deep into your heart and if you have Jesus in there He Will Help. Kidd and I definitely have heart and faith, I'm sure that's why we're still here.



Eastern High Sierra Classic 30 Ride Story - Jackie Floyd

First of all, I want to say I LOVE MY NEW HORSE, I LOVE MY NEW HORSE! I LOVE MY NEW HORSE! Thanks again to Brett and Katey Gies, of Twin Falls, Idaho for picking me to be Tank's new Mommy. I had the most perfect ride a person could ask for on my new Arab cross 10-year-old gelding. If my first ride of the season is a sign of things to come, I will have pretty much effortless rides for as long as I choose to continue in this sport. What a guy!

Second, I want to thank Jackie Bumgardner and her volunteers for putting on such a beautiful ride. It was just a WOW all the way through!!

Now, on to the ride ...

We woke up to the hustle and bustle of the 50-milers getting ready to go out at 6:00 a.m. The usual kicking of panels and banging of buckets and whinnying everywhere. Tank watched the whole thing, resting one leg, with an amused look. "Yeah, been here, done that. WHATever." Not knowing how this horse would react when I got him to our first ride together, I had no idea what his reaction would be. It never changed. I marveled. The 50's went out on a controlled start with much screaming, dancing and prancing and and at least dump of a rider. Of course, there were equally as many not-so-antsy-to-get-out there mounts. There was even one with only a neck rein. Boy, was THAT impressive. No bridle, no halter, no anything.

So, now, what do we do? 30's weren't due to start until 8:00 a.m. We enjoyed a cup of coffee and just sat down and did nothing for awhile. The only two LD rides I did last year started a half an hour after the 50's so the general "air" was quite different. Finally around 7:30 I saddled Tank and went out to walk around for awhile. To my surprise, only one rider, Kelly d'Andrea, was out warming up her horse in the main area. Knowing her to be a usual Top Ten finisher in 50's in her previous ride career (she's been off for a few years raising 3 kids), I knew I wouldn't be going out the gate with her since I intended to start at the back of the pack. But we had a nice time chatting wondering where the heck everyone else was.

8:00 a.m. came and we're still the only ones there. Kelly took off since she was planning on finishing first. And a nice gentleman on an 18-year-old Tennessee Walker went. I'm still sitting there on my "cow pony" waiting for all the rest of the people to leave and Potato Richardson (who was helping out), yelled "People, it's time to go!!!" Still nothing. It's 8:02 and I said "Oh what the heck, I'll go out and as people catch up to me I'll let them pass." I didn't have long to wait before three people riding together (Bill, Diane and Robin ... I'm bad at names, hope I got them right) passed me. Tank was having nothing to do with being left behind. Fortunately for me, they were traveling at the pace I intended on going, 5.5 mph. My goal was to let him follow them for awhile and then pull him back if they got going any faster. After all, I wasn't trying to finish fast, just go out for a nice jaunt through the woods.

As loop one wore on, I was positive we were doing the loop backwards because there was nobody coming behind me. The trail was so oustandingly gorgeous, I really didn't care one way or the other. I was just having such a good time looking at those beautiful mountains and meadows. Finally, one pretty little 5-year-old pinto or paint (I can never remember the difference, sorry) arrived on the scene for awhile. I rode the entire first loop with Bill, Robin and Diane and the Tennessee Walker, and occassionally the Paint. Kelly was out in front and got lost in the meadow and we caught up to her there. By the 30-minute vet check, my horse was still doing great, we were still averaging 5.6 mph and outside of the fact that my back was screaming and I was threatening to pull myself (I'm 45, fat and overweight and out of shape), Tank was doing great. He's only had 10 conditioning rides this year, another reason why I was just out for a jaunt. However, last year he completed eight 50's, so if I can get my fat body into shape, next year we'll be doing 50's together.

The vet check saw me spending most of it on the my back with a bag of grain under my head, pouring water over my red face, as my ever capable husband took care of my horse. Boy, do I love this guy! What worry, just lay there. I was so pooped you'd think I was racing to win a 100-miler. What a wuss I am.

I found enough energy to get back on the horse and finish the ride, but this time, I let my trio of fellow riders go out without me so I could see how my new boy handled the trail by himself. I can tell myself that's all I wanted, but my back was so trashed I just couldn't see that I could keep up with them any longer. (Oh yeah, 5.6 mph is a real killer speed ...) But I did find out my new horse knows his job. I let him set the pace and he trotted where he could trot and walked where he needed to and watched where he was going and just generally I couldn't be happier!!! I did try to get him to walk on the nice jeep road back into camp but he was having nothing to do with that. He knew we were on "trot ground" and almost there and he wanted to jog along the trail and get there. I was going slow enough for the girl on the Paint to pass me and that was great with me.

I managed to finish the ride 6th horse in, with a ride time of 4:02. I was totally astounded. So ... where are all these racing people RideCamp is always talking about? I saw none. Unless I'm it? Kelly D'Andrea finished with a ride time of 3:40, first horse in. There were 38 starters and no pulls of any kind. My husband says the majority of the LD'ers left the start gate 15-20 minutes after start time. Apparently, everyone wanted to be last! :)

I will say I love my Timex GPS for training rides, but obviously, you kind of have to take it with a grain of salt when you get to a ride. It kept loosing the radio link for several minutes at a time so it's a given that I was going faster than the 5.6 mph I thought I was. I did learn that one should not totally rely on "toys."

The only concern I had at this ride was that Tank would not eat after the ride for awhile. He pulsed down immediately and I took him back about 45 minutes later for vet out. He got all A's on everything except that his pulse was up a little. I asked if I could bring him back an hour later and had him checked again, and it was still going up and down a little but the vet said surprisingly enough he had great gut sounds and he was definitely in no danger of anything, just tired. With only 10 rides on him this year, I was feeling bad that I let him go as fast as I did. He's only been with me for three weeks and not settled in yet. And I don't know his eating routine. Equine massage therapist Tom Cerino was there so I made Tank a 2:00 p.m .appt. He LOVED it! 45 minutes later, he was eating everything in site and he continued eating all night long. Boy, was I relieved! I would highly recommend Tom to anyone!

Our spaghetti and meatball dinner was luscious and we had a wonderful evening visiting with our fellow Lodians Abe and Sharon Kirkpatrick, who finished 13th and 14th in the 50, and who also took home gorgeous horse blankets for having completed all of Jackie's rides this year. Tank and I took home a lovely little first aid kit for our completion award.

As we left camp Sunday morning, I looked longingly at the beautiful high peaks on the 50-miler's first loop, thinking how eager I will be, to be back next year, to ride the 50 and experience all the Easter High Sierra Classic has to offer.

Thanks again, Jackie, for doing such a great with your ride. Looking forward to seeing you again next year!!

:) Jackie Floyd (and Tank, my new best friend)

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

2003 Helldiver, eh? - Heidi Smith

With all the ride cancellations in the NW, hubby and I got a streak of adventure and decided to make the trek all the way from the SE end of the NW region to about as far away as we could get and still be in our region--to the Helldiver ride on Vancouver Island, British Columbia! That's right--up in the land of the eh!

Of course, this wasn't quite a last-minute decision--we DID have the lead time to get Coggins tests, Canadian health papers, health papers on the dog, certified weed-free hay, and all that good stuff that we have to get for crossing the border. In addition, I found the website for the BC ferry, so that we knew how much it was going to cost us to take our LOOOONG rig over on the ferry.... (I can recall chiding my dog that if not for him, we could have a regular truck instead of the extended cab with the doggy bed in the back, and just LOOK what we could have saved! ) We decided to make a bit of a sight-seeing trip of it, so went to the ride on the Washington side, and came home on the Canadian side, and saw lots of great scenery. And for those of you who have not been on the BC ferry--they are really nice folks, and if you get there at least 30 minutes before sailing with livestock, you are guaranteed on, even if there is a big line. :-) (I DID learn that one has to cover one's hay on the ferry--flamable and all that--thank heavens there was still a stray tarp under the seat in the living quarters of the trailer...) Oh, yeah--and the food is good on the ferry, too! So after all that driving, we got to kick back and enjoy ourselves while BC ferry did the driving....

From the ferry, one drives partway up the island, just past Courtenay, to the ride site in a meadow that is a part of an equestrian center. Lots of room, good directions, plenty of water, plenty of outhouses, and lots of friendly Canadians! As we were pulling in, I turned to my husband and said, "Gee, I wonder if we should have asked before we came just what Hell we are supposed to dive off of?"

The ride was VERY well organized--with some of the best-marked trails I've seen in a long time, water on the trail, well-organized vet checks, and lots of friendly and efficient vets. It was 50 miles with no returns to camp and very little repeat trail (what there was consisted of some two-way going out and coming in)--so for those bored with repeat loops, HERE'S ONE FOR YA THAT DOESN'T HAVE ANY!! :-)

And they fed us not once but TWICE--barbequed burgers right off the grill with all the fixin's the night before, and a REALLY big feed the night after with awards....

But speaking of food--one question I've ALWAYS wanted to ask--maybe one of the Canadians on the list has the answer, eh? WHY do you have to rub it in by having a grocery chain called "Overwaitea?" I've wondered that for years--I mean, I KNOW I'm "overweightea" but do you have to call a GROCERY STORE that?? I mean, gee, that's how I GOT to be a heavyweight after all... Anyway, Overwaitea donated the food for the big feed (thank you Overwaitea for making me even more overweightea...), and ride management had also drummed up lots of good support and donations for some GREAT awards--including--get this--a SADDLE for BC on the 50....

We had one small mishap--hubby's horse took a bad stumble, and although he seemed fine, he started to go off about 5 miles before the finish, and despite walking the rest of the way in, was not quite fit to continue. (The good news is that he is pretty much better after some icing and wrapping and ionizing--just sore and bruised from hitting his fetlock on the rocks.. ) My own horse sailed through with flying colors--rack up one more 50 for the tubby lady making a comeback... :-)

And as we've mentioned before--the real successful ending is coming home and having the horses feel so good coming off the trailer that they go bouncing out to prance and trot and gallop with their tails up over their backs, telling their pals all about it... Tudor didn't slow down for half an hour, I don't think. (Guess that means I'm not riding him hard enough, eh?)

But back to the ride--this is one that any of you within range should put on your calendar next year--take an extra day off, enjoy the ferry ride over, and ride the Helldiver, eh?


PS: Turns out Helldiver is a lake up there--yeah, pretty lakes along the trail--and we didn't have to dive into Hell after all.... :-)