Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Hallelujah! Movin' on up! - Jim Holland

Jim Holland

After some discussion, I had finally convinced Joan that we should try the 75 at Hallelujah. (She's more concerned about Sunny and Magic than she is about me) We arrived in early afternoon and found a big crowd already there. Driving down the access road, magically there was a spot open - somebody had left! Close to the Vet area, great spot for a corral. Good omen! We jumped right in there and set up camp. didn't even have to unhook the trailer.

Later that afternoon with everything set up, I had just settled in with a Mike's Hard Lemon and the newspaper, enjoying a beautiful fall afternoon. It looked good for a ride with NO RAIN! Every ride we have attended this year it has rained before, after, or during the ride. My trailer tires are green from mildew! Joan had taken Magic for a walk to find some grass.

I was about half asleep when Joan showed up with a dozen or so junior girls. It seems that they came along, met Magic and she showed them the "gimme a kiss" trick. They wanted to see his other tricks. Magic loves people and was pleased to have a big crowd. He said "No, I don't want to do 75 miles", "Yes, I'm ready to go home", picked up my hat when I dropped it, and 'took a bow'. Then he schmoozed all over the girls, kissed 'em all, scratched on 'em, and just went into 'big dog' mode. I think some of them would have spent the night in the corral with him! During the ride, they kept checking with Joan to see how he was doing. Some of them showed up at his final Vet Check. I even got a "high five" from one of the girls when he finished!! J One of the girl's Mom said "I been hearing about this 'trick horse' all day!"

The ride was a little 'different' from what I was used to in the SE. There were 4 loops, the 50's and 75's starting on one color, the 25's and 100's on another. The 75's and 100's would not have a Vet Check after the first 15 miles. just a 10 minute hold, then a Vet Check after the next loop of 10 miles. We will have done 25 miles at the first Vet Check. I like an early Vet Check to sort things out, get my horse calmed down, and regroup. But this worked just as well. Magic got to relax for a few minutes, get a drink, and get a bite or two and I got a chance to regroup. An hour hold at 40 miles. all other holds at 30 minutes. The order of the loops was taped on all the Porta Potty doors and in the rider package. Kewl! After all this had been explained at the rider meeting, there came a voice from the back "What loop do we start on?" Hmmm - either this guy was constipated, dehydrated, and hadn't read his rider packet or he was using the woods! J This got a chuckle from the crowd.

10 entries in the 75 - was hoping for more. L

I really wanted someone to ride with. Tim Worden and I had discussed it, but at the last minute, he decided his horse was not up to 75. would stay with the 50. Rats! We camped next to Nancy Walker from Pennsylvania, who had a cute little mare that Magic liked. After some discussion, we decided to ride together.

Got up to feed Magic a slurry at midnight and check his hay and water. low clouds, not quite a full moon.

A controlled start at dawn - 7:00AM. Since we were starting with the 50's, Nancy and I hung out and let 'em all go on, then fell in behind. The 50's turned off about ? mile down the trail and we continued on. At about 5 miles, Nancy pulled up because her little mare just ADR - "Ain't Doing Right". Seemed to be cramping in the rear. Dang! Nancy decided to hoof it back to camp. Looks like it's going to be just me 'n Magic the rest of the day.

1.5 hours on the first 15 mile loop - little too fast, but OK - Magic didn't drink at all on the trail, but ate his slurry and took a good drink just as we were leaving the 10 minute hold. Back after the 10 mile loop at 10:18 - 8 miles/hr. Still just a little fast, but acceptable. Dumped the saddle, washed off the sand and went immediately to the Vet...pulse at 56. Perfect Vet score - all A's.

Out at 10:55 on the next loop - 15 miles. arrival at 12:51 - perfect pace! Magic is drinking well now. Dumped the saddle, straight to the Vet, pulse at 50. Another perfect Vet score - all A's. An hour hold here. Magic drank well and is HUNGRY! Wolfed down his beet pulp slurry - so we made him another one. Ate that one as well, then moved on to the hay for a few minutes, cocked a back leg and took a nap! What a guy!

Out at 1:59 for another 10 mile loop, arrived at 3:18. pace is good. Pulse is 52...Vet scores again perfect - all A's.

25 miles to go. Last 15 mile loop, out at 3:55 - done this loop before. Magic is dragging a little with no company, but about halfway through the loop, he realizes he is headed for camp and picks it up. Arrived at 6:02. pace still good - right at two hours for 15 miles. Again straight to the Vet. pulse at 61 - highest of the day so far, but the sand is deep on this loop. They are serving dinner, so Joan does the trot out while I grab a plate of pork barbecue and some wonderful desert. Otis gives me a "thumbs up" from the Vet area. again straight A's...can he hold this for the rest of the ride?

10 miles to go - Otis asks "Are you OK?" He isn't worried about Magic! Out on the last 10 miles at dusk. moon is rising, but lots of shadows and dark in the trees. After about 5 miles, can't see anything but the glow sticks, so trusting Magic now, who is still holding a nice steady trot. He knows this trail and handles it well, slowing for the downhills and sand, picking it up on the flat, getting stronger. He slows as the lights of camp come into sight and I dismount and lead him into camp. Checked with the in timer and head for the trailer. Drop the saddle, and don't even bother with a pulse check. At the P/R, his pulse is the lowest of the day. 47. When the Vet checks him after the trot out, it is 44! Again straight A's. a perfect day. Ten riders started, 9 finished - we were 7th. Joan and I were hugging Magic we were so proud of him - 75 miles with a perfect Vet score - better than a win!

Got Magic clean and his blanket on and crashed for the night. Joan got up at midnight, fed Magic and took him for a walk just as the last 100 miler (Sandy Thompson) was coming in. About 6:30AM, heard the patter of rain on the trailer roof. Bounced out of bed to get all the 'stuff' under the awning. Dang, just can't get away from this rain! The 75 and 100 milers huddled under the tent for awards Sunday morning. Don't remember much about placings. Debra Foti won the 50.

Looking forward to doing the 100 at Goethe.

I really enjoyed this ride. My thanks to Lucie Hancock, Patricia Jackson, and the rest of the staff.. We enjoyed it a lot and hope to be back next year. The trail was marking was excellent - if you got lost on this ride you were not paying attention!

The vets were great! An international crew in addition to Otis Schmitt - they really liked Magic, although they were somewhat surprised when I showed up for the trot out in a neck rope. (I could probably do the trot out in nothing with Magic! ) He does a 'purty' trot on my shoulder.

When I was out on the trail, Joan was "volunteering" as a timer and crewing for other riders. Couldn't have done it without her!

Jim, Sun of Dimanche+, and Mahada Magic