Friday, June 17, 2005

RWD 2005 - April


Nashville, TNRendezvous with Destiny 2005

Memorial Day weekend, 2005, marked the first annual (?) Rendezvous
with Destiny ride. This ride is held on the Fort Campbell army base in

I was delighted to see this ride on the calendar and that it was a
2-day ride. Being so close to my home, I just had to attend.

Friday I got started around 2 PM, a little late, and drove up to Ft.
Campbell. I had no problems finding the camp, using my handy dandy GPS
that was kind enough to give me turn by turn directions. I arrived
just at 5 PM. It would have taken less time if I had left a little
sooner and avoided more of the traffic. But life is what life is. :-)

When I got to camp, I was greeted with a serene lake with lots of
camping space. I found my friend, Angie, and parked next to her in a
beautiful spot.

Before unloading Tanna, I immediately went to check in and pay my ride
fee, even though I wouldn't be riding until Sunday.

I spent the next hour and a half trying to set up my camp. Usually, my
husband comes along on all my endurance adventures, but this time he
had to work, so would be driving up later after he got off work. So I
was left to my own devices to set up camp. I spent much of my time
trying to figure out how to tie Tanna where he could reach food and
water, but not touch a tree or anything solid to rub on. He manages to
slip his halter when left an opening. Finally, when ride meeting time
came, I left Tanna tied short enough to keep away from anything since
I still hadn't found an appropriate balance. My customary corral
panels were fastened securely to the top of the trailer and we would
have to wait for Daniel to come to get them down and set up Tanna's
real home away from home.

The ride meeting was interesting. It started with a military dog
demonstration. Very interesting. Don't mess with those military dogs!

The turnout for Saturday was moderate. 17 riders in the 50 and 34 or
so in the 25. Lori cautioned that the trails were new. Nobody else had
ridden on them. There was cell phone coverage (unless you had Sprint
service...) so there were emergency numbers given out. The trail was
to go near a mount. Apparently a mount is a small village used to
train soldiers in hand-to-hand urban combat. Very interesting. Also
the trail would pass a downed helicopter and a downed air plane. And
next to a dud field with unexploded munitions. So no going off trail!
And hold on to your horse if you come out of the saddle.

There were 4 loops for the 50 milers. The first loop was marked in
white and was 14 miles. Then the yellow/black loop at 17 miles. Repeat
the white loop for the 3rd loop. The last loop was a 7 mile loop
marked in black/white.

Pulse criteria was 60 for everybody all day. 40 minute holds.

After the ride meeting, the group of us all parked together headed
back to our spot. We gathered around Angie and David's trailer to
chat. Quite a nice little group of us. Angie and David, Jackie and
Carson, Patty, and Carol. Then myself. After awhile, Daniel, my
husband, drove up and we all had a nice visit while some of us ate.

Daniel and David unloaded Tanna's corral pen and set it up. There was
plenty of room and Tanna ended up with a good-sized pen. I set up him
with food and water and took him for a walk before bed.

At some point in the evening, I managed to weigh Tanna. 856!!! I
couldn't believe it. Guess who is going on a diet?? Gotta get him back
down to 800-825.

Sabbath morning, we slept in and had a leisurely pancake breakfast.
There are advantages to arriving a day early and riding the 2nd day of
a 2-day ride. :-) All of the other women in our group were out riding
the 25 miler. Carol was out for her first ride!

After breakfast I saddled up and headed out for a quick look at the
finish and to give Tanna a bit of a stretch. He wasn't eating the best
and I was hoping an outing would stimulate his appetite.

I did a walking/trot warmup and then sent him in a canter around the
lake. Very nice. Very controlled. We went out just a half mile or so
and did a large circle in a field and then back to the vet check area
where I spotted David and figured Angie, Carol and Jackie must be in
the vet check. Carol was not with Jackie and Angie. Her horse came up
a bit gimpy so she'd decided to pull and sent the other two on ahead.
Too bad for her first ride.

At some point, I discovered I'd lost my cell phone out of my hip pack.
Not sure how that happened, but I wished the ladies good luck on their
final loop and went to retrace my steps. I met up with Daniel and he
started to call my phone with his. We had to retrace every step of my
earlier ride to find the phone. Because, of course, it fell out at the
furthest point. But we did find the phone. :-)

Tanna was very impatient with me for making him walk or do a
controlled trot. There were horses coming and going from the vet check
and he was positive he should just be allowed to do whatever he
wanted. I disagreed. So we were having discussions and he decided to
trump me. His trump card is bucking. I do not ride bucks very well and
he well knows it. So he gave 3 really hard bucks. I shortened those
reins, pulled his head up, yelled at him and miraculously he stopped.
Whoo-hoo!!! Ride 'em cowgirl. :-) I was thrilled with myself for
staying on (never lost my balance...that's usually my undoing) and for
getting him out of it. Tanna was frustrated. His trump card was no
good! :-) So he tried it again just a few minutes later, but he only
got one buck in before I spun him around in a quick, tight circle. He
danced and was idiotic some more, but he didn't try to buck again.
Game, set, match. :-)

Back at the vet check, I found Carol had come in. She'd decided, after
sitting on trail for 30 or 40 minutes, to keep going. So she was still
in the ride, just not with Jackie and Angie. Daniel and I hung out
there for awhile talking to David (who was generously crewing for
Carol and doing a nice job of it) and Carol. Then we headed back
towards our trailer to unsaddle Tanna. I talked to a few other riders
in on their holds.

After reports from a lot of riders that the trail was difficult and
technical and gravelly, I started to get concerned. I am a back of the
pack rider, so I don't usually have a lot of leeway in my time. I was
wondering if I should even start. I was given a lot of encouragement
and advice by my friends though, so I eventually decided to start.

The awards were interesting. Lori had lots of awards to give out. Top
10 awards were patches that could be attached to blankets. First in
weight divisions received a free bag of feed. BC in both distances for
both days received a water color painting of their horse (with a
picture being the model). In addition there was a turtle award, which
was a little turtle figurine made by Lori herself. Very nice. :-) Also
a middle of the road award for the rider that came in at mid-pack. I
forget what first place received.

Completion awards were coins. Apparently, in the army, when a soldier
does something outstanding, they receive a coin in recognition. So
Lori had some special coins made up. They have the AERC logo and motto
on one side and an eagle on the other side with 101st Airborne
Division, Rendezvous with Destiny, Fort Campbell, KY. Each completing
rider received their choice of a coin or a keychain.

12 out of 17 finished the 50. Eva de Paulis, Debra LaComette, and
Robin Burris tied for 1st place. Elizabeth Woods and her daughter
Aunna-Lisa came in at the tail end. Between 1st and the last 2
finishers, I don't remember. Oh, Patty Bass got 6th and the middle of
the pack award.

I believe 29 out of 34 or so finished the 25 miler. Carol,
unfortunately, was over-time, but she did receive the hard-luck award.
Jackie and Angie both finished. Other spots, I have no idea. Sorry.

There was a small ride meeting for the riders riding on Sunday. There
were 15 riders for the 25 and 6 riders for the 50. Hmm, my first top
ten in a 50?? Even though I'd been at the Friday night ride meeting, I
stuck around to listen to make sure there were no big changes or
surprises. I did manage to lose my original map, so I had to get a
replacement and write the emergency numbers again.

One of the other riders doing the 50 was Betsy Knight. There's your
first place winner, I told my husband immediately. :=)

After the ride meeting, a few of us gathered around these large
printouts of the trail. Lori had printed out large aerial photos and
marked the trail and marked spotters and water spots. Each trail was
shown on its own large aerial photo. Joe Schoech was there and had
ridden the 25 that day. He was giving helpful tips on the trail so I
hung around and listened, even though I'd studied the maps earlier in
the day.

Back to the trailer to finish preparations for the ride. Ride jitters
had set in during the ride meeting. Gotta love those jitters. Daniel
and I pulled up chairs and chatted with our friends for a few minutes.
Angie even brought a carrot cake in honor of Carol's birthday. :-)

After all my final preparations, I ended up going to bed around 10 PM.
Alarms set for 4 AM for the 6 AM start. 6 hours of sleep. Sure.
That'll work...

Up in the morning sleep deprived. As usual. I took Tanna to weigh him
and he was still at 834 (I weighed him Saturday AM and he was 834).
Then back for his breakfast and in to get dressed and get my own
breakfast. And out to saddle.

When I reached the starting line, there were only 2 other riders
there. Joe and Betsy. Hmm. Wonder where the others are. I warmed up a
bit here and there. Even tried out a small canter. Well, we're ready
to go. Trail's open. Only 2 riders in front of me. Well, guess I'll
start with the front runners. Not my usual procedure, but oh well.
Besides, I figured I'd need every extra minute to do this trail. I
followed Joe out who followed Betsy. We were pretty well spaced out.
Not right on top of each other. I followed right along. Tanna fought,
keeping his eyes on Kit, Joe's horse, convinced we should at least be
with them, if not in front of them. But he was moving well and not
pitching a temper tantrum so I was fairly happy with our progress.

The trail was a little rough. Plowed fields that had then dried. Ruts
where there were not furrows. And where there wasn't any of that?
Gravel. Or uneven terrain or overgrown terrian where you couldn't
judge the ground profile. Almost every step was a challenge. Not a
trail to lose focus on.

I caught up with Joe about 2 or 3 miles out (I forget exactly) and we
ended up riding together for the rest of the ride. Kit, Joe's horse,
was on his second 50 and the horses seemed to work well together, so
it worked out well.

The trails were marked well. I kept missing the 3 ribbons indicating a
turn, so when I was leading and came to an intersection, I looked down
all the trails for the next ribbon. When I saw it, I would head that
direction instead of needing to return down the trail and look for the
turn ribbons. Very handy. :-) Also, it helped to have Joe along, since
he'd been on 2 of the 3 loops the day before.

We came in for the first vet check at 8:33. My GPS measured the trail
at 15.2 miles. Right at 6 mph. 6 minutes later, Tanna was vetted
through. Bs on gut (no surprise), MM, and capillary refill. He weighed
810, which meant he lost 24 pounds on that loop. While I was recording
Tanna's weight, Daniel took Tanna over to the community water trough
and repeatedly gave him the "drink" cue until he drank long and deep.
Hmmm. I should get Daniel to do the watering at vet checks. He doesn't
usually drink for me in vet checks. :-)

We took Tanna back to our vet check area and fed him and sponged him
down a bit more. Daniel made me a sandwich and Tanna decided he wanted
my food rather than his. He managed to eat most of his beet pulp, but
largely ignored his hay. At least he was eating something...

As our 40 minute hold neared its end, I resaddled Tanna and prepared
to return to trail. Joe took off before me as I kept forgetting stuff.
Tanna was in the middle of getting his electrolytes and Kit wasn't
happy standing still. We caught up quickly and headed out on our
second loop.

We were in 3rd and 4th place at this point. Betsey was about an hour
ahead of us and another rider had passed us on the 1st loop. Two
riders were still behind us by 5-10 minutes. Most middle of the pack
I've ever been in a 50. ;-)

The second loop was the longest loop of the 4 at 17 miles. Joe had
been on this trail the day before, so we had no trouble with it. We
did slow down on this loop. Both horses were drinking fairly well.
Playing off each other and seemed to be in good spirits. Tanna would
stumble occasionally over the rough ground, but managed to recover
nicely. At one point Kit kicked himself in the back left leg and
caused an immediate lameness. Joe hopped off and checked on him. Kit
seemed to be ok and Joe soon was mounted again and off we went.

Partway through this loop, we came to the mount. The small village
where hand-to-hand combat is taught. Very interesting to see. We
didn't go right through the village, we kinda skirted around the
edges, but still plenty to look at. Both horses drank at the stream
nearby and we chatted with the spotter for a minute or so before
moving on. Tanna was not concerned at all about the buildings. Not
interested in them in any way. Let's move on, he said. But Kit was
enthralled and wanted to poke his nose in the doors and windows. He
might have gone right on in the buildings if Joe'd let him!

We continued on, chatting, moving out when we could, walking some of
the gravel when we couldn't move off it. No lazy man's trail this was.
Tanna is a sure-footed horse, but any inattention to his job resulted
in a stumble, so I tried to keep him focused and engaged. Hard to do
for such a long time!

Both horses ate grass on this loop. Grabbing bites as we walked along.
There was enough water on all the loops and I was very happy with
Tanna for drinking as well as he did. I would have preferred to have
him eat more at the vet checks, but drinking was definitely not an
issue this ride. Plenty of opportunities to drink and Tanna took
advantage of a lot of them.

The second loop measured 16.9 miles on my GPS. Pretty close to 17 if
you ask me. ;-) It was 12:31 when we came in from that loop. So we did
that loop in 3 hours 12 minutes. Average speed of 5.3 mph. Not
blazing, but enough to keep ahead of the clock. An overall average of
5 mph would get us a completion.

It took us 7 minutes to unsaddle and present to the vet. While
sponging the worst of the dirt off Tanna, I discovered he was a bit
sore in his back. A problem I've had in the past at BSF last fall. I
cringed and took him to the vet. The vet gave him a B on back and said
I could continue on. I expressed concern over the soreness getting
worse with 20 miles still left to ride. The vet suggested I let Tanna
rest and then bring him back if I was still concerned at the end of my
hold. Tanna also got the same Bs from before (guts, MM, capillary
refill) and added a B for back and a B for muscle tone. I was not very
happy with these scores. It was going downhill.

Daniel and I weighed Tanna. 810. Same as the previous loop. Good. No
more weight loss. I spent the hold wondering if I should go out again
or pull and save my horse the pain. I was worried about doing 20 slow
miles with a sore back. Also, right about 30 miles I usually begin to
question my sanity of doing 50 mile endurance rides. So there was some
part of me that wanted an excuse to quit. Tanna ate more beet pulp,
but didn't touch his hay. Almost no hay did he eat the entire ride.
Not a good thing. He did eat his beet pulp, but no hay. Gotta figure
out how to fix that...

Anyway, with 5 or 10 minutes left in my hold, I took Tanna back to the
vets and asked Dr. Habel to look at him for me. (The other vet was a
military guy and I don't remember his name. Sorry!). Dr. Habel pretty
much told me that it wasn't bad enough for him to pull me so it was
totally up to me. Not helpful. ;-) What I really wanted was for
somebody else to tell me what to do. Didn't happen. He suggested that
I could go back out and try to stay off his back. Speed up, he told
me. Stay off his back. Get off him when you walk. Speed up? Don't hear
that very much, huh? :-) So I opted for that and headed back to

I also removed the CorrecTOR pad and went with a plain woolback pad
(The CorrecTOR pad had been inside the woolback). This was my first
endurance ride with the CorrecTOR pad and I wasn't sure what was
causing the back pain, so I decided to attack it by removing the new
pad and being very conscientious about staying off his back as much as
possible in the coming loop. What I really didn't want to do was go
another 15 miles and pull with 7 miles left to go.

Joe left about 10 minutes before me on this loop. Understandable since
I was still saddling when he came up to see if I was still going out.
The entire vet brigade had heard my back soreness woes and my wishy
washy-ness about going out again, so they didn't know if I was going
out again. I told him I'd be along soon so off he went.

We followed as soon as we were ready. It took awhile to catch them. I
got off and walked one of the roughest parts of the ground. About a
1/4 mile stretch. Then I mounted and took off again. I had Tanna
canter where he could, trot where he couldn't. It took 50 minutes and
almost 6 miles for me to catch Joe and Kit. But I figured it was
better if I could catch up with them and continue riding with them
since our horses did well together. I was grateful for Tanna's
surefootedness as we cantered through ruts that were sometimes deep,
sometimes narrow, but always changing.

We were on the white loop again. The loop we'd done for the first
loop. So the terrain was familiar, even though it wasn't any less of a
challenge than the first time through. As this loop progressed slowly,
I began to obsess about cut off times. I calculated our final hold and
periodically updated Joe on our remaining time (although I'm sure he
didn't need this novice telling him!).

We were off and walking for awhile on this loop. Me saving Tanna's
back and Joe saving Kit's feet from the gravel by lightening the load
a bit. But we had to pick up the pace or we would never make cut off.
We figured we needed a good hour to do the final loop. We also had a
40 minute hold to wait through and 7 miles left on the 3rd loop. We
had to be in camp and vetted by 4:20 PM to have a chance at finishing
our ride. I obsessed a lot that loop. We reached the water stop on
that loop and Tanna drank nicely. Kit wanted to move on. So we did.

We got to a gravel road that wasn't quite so gravely and picked up a
good trot until the gravel worsened. Joe got off to walk, but I saw
the side of the road opening up, so waited to see if we could take the
side. I decided it was good to trot, so Joe remounted and off we went.
It was a bit more gravelly for about 500 feet than I'd thought, but
soon we were on less gravel. Still uneven ground, but at least it was
mowed and I could judge the terrain. We moved out, cantering when it
was relatively safe to do so. The clock was ticking...

We still had some challenging terrain to get through. We were planning
to walk some more of it, but when we reached it, I was leading and
decided to trot. I thought Joe might drop back and dismount, but he
came right along with us. The trail had been beaten down some so it
was better than it was the day before (I reckon, since I didn't ride
the day before). I stood in the stirrups, both to avoid bumping
Tanna's sore back and to allow him to balance and shift in the terrain
without me messing with the balance. We were taking a risk trotting
over this ground, but I focused and kept Tanna focused and we did a
slow trot through terrain we'd walked the 2 previous loops.

At one point we flushed a large tom turkey. Tanna jumped to his right
in surprise. I was half-turned towards the right to say something to
Joe behind us when it happened so I was already leaning a bit to the
right and stayed right with Tanna. Whew. That was a nice adrenaline
rush. :-) Tanna knew he was headed back to camp, though, and paid no
further attention to the turkey and kept trotting through. Good boy.

We pressed on until we came to the woods. I weaved Tanna through the
woods at a good trot. He's great at serpentine trails. I just have to
keep my leg on him to remind him I have legs that stick out that will
catch on trees. :-) We popped down to the creek and paused to drink.
Can't pass up good water no matter how much of a hurry I'm in. Up out
of the creek and on through more winding woods. That was my favorite
part of the entire trail. :-) Joe and Kit stayed right with us,
matching turn for turn. We weren't trying to lose them, but Joe'd
already told me not to mess up my completion waiting for him, so I was
moving on.

Across more uneven terrain, through some ruts and up a small hill
towards the lake and the vet check. Across the road, through the
field, and I was off, walking Tanna towards the in-timers. Nothing
beats the adrenaline rush of trying to make time! Not even the start.

We made it to the in-timers at 4:07. Whew. 13 minutes to get my out
time, but I wasn't dallying. I went straight to my vet check area and
stripped his saddle and immediately to the vets for a pulse time of
4:10. His pulse was a little higher at 56, but it was still under
criteria, so that was ok. Alright. A 40 minute hold and then back out
again. That would give us 1 hour 10 minutes to do 7 miles. Totally
doable. Especially since Joe knew the last loop and knew the terrain.
As long as Tanna's back wasn't more sore than the last check.

As soon as I pulled Tanna's saddle, I knew his back was not worse. If
it wasn't worse, I was going to go on. Dr. Habel said it might even
have been a bit better. Whew. At least I wasn't making it worse. We
would press on. The vet scores were getting worse, though. Jugular
refill dropped to a B and he did a little hitch on his trot out so got
a B on gait, too. All the other Bs stayed Bs. Weight was 806. So only
a 4 pound loss on that loop.

Tanna thought he was done. Our 5 previous 50s each had 2 vet checks.
So naturally, he thought he was done. Nope. So to try to get that
across, I resaddled him shortly after vetting in. I left the girth
loose and didn't do up the crupper or the breast collar. He was not
amused. He stood there staring at me and looking disgusted. Clearly I
was playing a joke on him and he didn't find it funny. He nibbled some
at his beet pulp, but I don't think he ate very much. And again, no
hay. Probably should have just let him think he was done and left the
saddle off. No way to tell if that would have helped, though.

Tanna was completely saddled and we went down to the out timers with 3
minutes left in our hold. I gobbled down some chips and finished my
water before mounting. I asked Daniel to get my glove I'd left on my
chair. And we were off. An hour and 10 minutes to do the 7 mile loop.
Joe again told me to ride my ride and if he fell back to just leave
him. Ok, I can do that. I hoped I wouldn't have to, but I would if it
came to that.

Off we went. We averaged a good 9 mph pace for the first mile or mile
and a half. A good start. :-) We did have to slow down some, but we
kept moving. One thing was the bugs were very bad on this loop. Just
awful. Joe looked like he was riding in the middle of a bee hive. Kit
was a magnet for those flies. I had remembered to spray Tanna's body
with fly spray (Endure) and we were doing ok, but I'd forgot to put it
on his face. I took advantage of some rough terrain to hop off and put
Tanna's fly mask on. Fortunately, Daniel had put it back in my cantle
bag during the last check.

The plane runway was pretty fun. It was rutted, though, so we didn't
take it at a full out gallop. A good canter worked nicely, though.
Turn to the right and do a quick loop and then back to the runway. On
the home stretch! We were averaging around 7.3 mph. Excellent. Right
on time. We were gonna finish this!

When we came out by the lake, Tanna was excited. He knew he had to be
finished now. Joe and I discussed who should come in when and he
graciously allowed me to cross ahead of him. We trotted and cantered
in and I blasted across the finish line. 7.3 miles in 58 minutes (7.5
mph). I was so happy to be done! What a feeling of accomplishment! I
immediately dropped off my horse and walked him in, telling him how he
was the best horse ever. Our finish time was 5:48 PM. Twelve minutes
to spare. Whew! 9 hours 48 minutes on trail. That's a long day.

Time for BC stuff. I'd come in second, so I was eligible to stand for
BC. I'd never done such before and honestly, I'd never even really
paid attention to the procedures or the rules. I never dreamed I'd be
top 10, so why worry about that?

I went to the vet check area and dropped my saddle, helmet, hip pack,
girth, breast collar, crupper, and sponge on the scales. I didn't have
a halter handy, so we didn't weigh Tanna's bridle or reins. Joe
graciously held my horse while I stepped on the scales. They started
yelling out my weight and I cringed. Tamra, Joe's wife, noticed and
said, "Don't worry, it's the SADDLE" :-) Yeah, right. But I
appreciated the thought. :-)

After I dragged all my stuff off the scales, I watched Joe weigh all
his stuff. Then I offered water to Tanna and sponged him off a little
and took him for his 10 minute CRI and his completion vet check.

We completed! Whoo-hoo! My first genuine top ten endurance finish. :-)
And second to Betsey Knight. What an honor! However, Tanna's vet
scores were not the best. His muscle tone degraded to a C due to some
tightness in his hindquarters. And his guts went down to a C. Dr.
Habel chided me for not letting Tanna eat on the last loop. Yeah. Like
we had a lot of time for that sort of thing! Guess I could have grazed
him for 10 minutes just before the finish line?

I was told I had an hour from our finish time to ready Tanna for his
BC check. Ok. I walked Tanna back to the trailer (a 1/4 mile walk),
let him graze some along the way and massaged his muscles while he
grazed. Then we'd walk on and do it again.

When we reached the trailer, I figured I had 30 minutes before I
should head back to the vet check. I put beet pulp and hay in front of
him. I tried hay first, but gave him the beet pulp soon after since he
wasn't interested in the hay and I knew he needed to eat.

While he ate, I draped his rump rug over his back and proceeded to rub
him down with a wash cloth and cool water. I'd left my sponge at the
vet check, so I had to improvise. Turned out the wash cloth worked
quite well at getting the dirt off. Better than the sponge, I think.
When I had him as clean as I was going to get him, I removed the rump
rug and put his full cooler on him. I massaged him a bit more (nothing
professional or even knowledgeable, just some gentle rubbing and
manipulation of the muscles). Then it was time to head back for the BC

I had left time to linger, so Daniel and I meandered while Tanna
grazed. Joe was headed up for his BC judging, too. We chatted a bit
then I went ahead and went to the vet (Joe offered to let me be judged

Dr. Mike said, "you know the drill, right?" I said, "nope, never done
this before!" He told me to go out like for a regular trot out. Then
make a large circle (that's what he said) in one direction. Stop, turn
around. Make a large circle in the other direction and then trot back
straight. Ok. So off I went. Tanna followed behind me as I ran out,
circled this way and that, then ran back. Whew. Good thing they don't
do a CRI on the rider!

Dr. Mike then proceeded to check my horse all over. A really thorough
vet check. He did all the regular stuff, but also really looked at his
legs, feet, heel bulbs, tendons. Very interesting. Tanna's muscle tone
score went up to a B (from a C at the completion check). He was sore
in his back still, but no worse than at the 2nd vet check. And he was
sore in his superficial digital flexors on the hinds. That was
interesting to watch as I'd never checked those before. Now I know how
to do that. I'd never seen a BC judging as they don't generally wait
for the turtle to come in before doing BC judging. ;-)

I hung around to watch Joe's horse, Kit, be judged. While Joe was out
for the trot out, I found out they had made fun of me when I did my
trot out. Apparently, I went far out and did huge circles. :-D They
should mark it out with cones, then! LOL.

After the judging was finished, they said it'd be 10 minutes before
the awards meeting, so Daniel and I took Tanna and settled him back in
his corral to roll and doze. Then we drove the small pickup back to
the awards. Love having that extra vehicle. :-)

There was a good number of people there for the awards! Considering
the fact that everybody else had finished almost 3 hours (or more)
sooner, it was nice that they had stayed for the awards meeting.

15 riders started the 25. 15 riders finished! 100% completion! Way to
go guys! I have no idea who placed where. Sorry.

6 riders started the 50. 3 riders finished. The 2 riders behind Joe
and myself came in too late from the 3rd loop to have time to do the
last loop, so they didn't go back out. The other rider decided it was
too much gravel and pulled. At least that's what I heard. Betsey
Knight got first place in just over 7 hours ride time. She rode alone
all day. Way ahead of us. I came in second (although it could just
have easily been Joe that came in second...). And Joe came in 3rd and
turtle. Joe's first turtle! And my first top ten! I find that
interestingly ironic. ;-) Betsey's horse, obviously, got BC. Let's
see. Weight divisions. Betsey got first lightweight. I got first
featherweight. And Joe got first heavyweight. You can see we had
tremendous compeition for those awards. ;-) I also got the middle of
the pack award. Haha. It's a very nice water bottle and holder. I like
that. I chose a keychain for my completion award. It's hanging on my
cube wall at work. Very nice. :-)

After the awards meeting, Daniel and I headed back to break camp. We
were going to head home and allow Tanna to spend the night in his
pasture. It was almost completely dark when I finally loaded Tanna and
we headed off down the road. Daniel was driving the big truck pulling
the trailer and I was driving the little pickup following him.

We made it off base and headed towards I-24. But about a mile or two
down the road, Daniel called me and said we had to find a place to
pull off as the alternator light had come on. Fiddlesticks. We stopped
and he checked the battery. Definitely not getting any extra juice
from the alternator.

So we high-tailed it back to Fort Campbell before our battery ran
down. We did not want to be stuck on the side of the highway waiting
for a parts place to open. We made it back to camp and camped near the
pavilion next to another rider. Fortunately, she was just starting to
go to bed so we didn't disturb her too much (I asked the next
morning). Daniel pulled down most of the panels and we set up a pen
for Tanna. I gave him food, water, hay and went to bed while Daniel
went to chat with Dr. Habel and Lori at the pavilion.

The next morning, Daniel took the small pickup into town and got a new
alternator. After installation, we were good to go and headed home
with no further incidents.

So the wrap up. This was a tough ride. Hands down. This was not a walk
in the park. I had to pay attention the entire time. It was a flat
ride. But not an easy one. I really felt like I accomplished something
when Tanna and I crossed the finish line. I earned that coin and I'm
proud of it. The trail markings were great. Periodically through the
course, Lori had put mileage on pie plates. Not every mile, but in a
few spots. That was handy to check against my GPS and see what the
comparison was.

There was plenty of water on the trail. Between creek crossings, mud
holes and the water trough Lori put out, there was water enough that I
didn't bug Tanna to drink at every opportunity. Once he started
drinking around mile 12, he picked his own water.

Tanna is doing well. His back was much better Monday morning and his
SDF were not sore at all. He was prancing around at the end of the
lead rope in the morning. Blowing, snorting and tossing that Arabian
head. That's unusual for him. He's usually quite calm in hand, but he
was flying around being silly. I didn't get on to him too much because
it was great to see him so spirited the morning after a 50.

This was a great ride. If the Army consents to do this ride next year
and Lori is willing to take up the ride manager mantle again, I'll be
there next year. I might pad next year, though.

There were a ton of people that helped at this ride. First and
foremost, Lori! Thanks for taking the plunge and arranging this ride.
You did a great job. Keep it up. Please do it again next year!!
Second, the vets. Dr. Habel is a good, conscientious vet and I'm
always happy to see him at rides. And the military vet that helped
out. And all the volunteers. Too many to mention, but I'll try some of
them. Roger, Eva, Lisa, Susan K (of course!), Sam (the out timer), the
wonderful spotters that always had a smile and pointed us in the right
direction. The ride photographers. And Joe. Thanks for helping me get
through this ride. It sure would have been a lot less fun without you


Nashville, TN

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