Monday, February 05, 2007

Cow pen : 50 mile underwater endurance ride

Mary Anne Maynard

Florida, USA
I want to share a story about the ride I attended this past weekend near Lake City FL. First off, let me say that it was well marked and well managed and I thank all involved in making it an fun filled weekend. As some of you know; we had a terrible storm move thru the state of Florida this past week with some serious consequences. Tornadoes with loss of life amongst the worse.

I am starting my mare 'Gift of Grace' on her first year of very slow 50's this one was to be her 3rd so far. I pulled a baby off her 7 months ago and she is coming along nicely. I have good trails to condition on right out my door so I feel confident about her fitness. BUT what I have not been doing is training for the underwater 50 miler we experienced this time!

The ride location is a swamp on a good day and after all the rain (more then 2 inches ) it was somewhere between a lake and a river by definition. WOW in order to be prepared for this kind of ride, you have to give up the trails and find the nearest river and ride 50 miles up stream to get the same muscle groups worked! I was riding with my neighbor and friend Kori , she on her 14.2 hand mare. Needless to say this was a real work out for that little mare. We laughed and had a wonderful time of making the best of a wet, cold day.

Unfortunately Kori's mare crow hopped straight into the air ( most likely a stick we could not see touched her belly ) and Kori went flying high and then disappeared into very deep murky water. I was behind her watching aghast - momentarily I was concerned I would never see her again and worse I may have to crawl off my mare and wade thru freezing cold snake infested waters to locate her. But much to my relief she popped straight up soaking wet and began to laugh hysterically! I am so proud of her - what a model of true sportmanship and good humor.

The rest of the story is that we both completed our rides with a ride time of about nine and a half hours. Kori wet to the bone and beginning to freeze, but still smiling and both our horses strong and ready for another fun adventure! Thank you to all the volunteers and vets and ride management! And congrats to all those that finished way before us as we were the true turtles ! Also a special thanks to Louise B. for sticking it out with us to the very end on her lovely gelding "Toby"- Congrats to her as well!

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