Sunday, April 19, 2009

Million Pines - Angie's Story

Whoopee, finally back at Million Pines my FAVORITE event after one year
of being a good mom and staying home for daughter's senior prom. (I
talked to her on the phone the other two years that she went and she sent
me photos of her hairdo on my cell phone) :-P We have gone to this ride
almost every year...I think 15 out of 18 that they've had. It's always
held on Josie's birthday weekend and she's had most of her birthday
celebrations there until a 3 year break where she went to proms that were
always held on that weekend. That's finally history so we were excited to
be back! Buddy Lynda Webber hauled down with us with her horse Bailey and
she and Josie would be riding possibly top 10 while 7 and I aimed for a
good completion a little farther back.

As Steve Rojek said, the weather was a "gift". It was cool, low humidity,
a light breeze, no sign of rain, PERFECT. They warned us the trails were
WET but that just meant there were some deep creek crossings. No mud
worth mentioning really. While I went south to Million Pines Jody went
north to Chicken Chase. Whoever that was that said they wanted to ride
with Jody, let me warn you...she is rediculously COMPETITIVE in ALL
THINGS. If you trained with her she'd try to beat you at training...and
she'd want Joni to beat you too! :-) So, she's turned Joni loose to ride
as an adult featherweight this year, meanwhile Josie is finally competing
more after graduation and she rides as a featherweight. Meanwhile Jody
and I are both dealing with trying to get a decent horse started and
having our share of delays, so our kids are getting the impression they
might be better than we are at this...and of course we talk to each other
about how *we're* the reason they're doing any good anyway...but she
still wants to BEAT ME at getting a horse started and her kid do better
than mine to show she's better at that part too!

Long story short. Perfect day, everybody had a great time, 7 had a good
day but Lynda and Josie were having a *really* good day. They did have
one mishap. There was the coolest swamp you had to ride through. I'd
give anything if the photographer could have gotten us there. Without
markers, and a great deal of faith in Wesley Crowe I would never have
*dreamed* of letting a horse put one foot in it, much less ride through
it. There was just a low black lake (swamp), in a darkish hollow, with
Cypress trees growing right up out of the water with the creepy looking
roots. The grove was thick but had a wide path through the middle that
was wide enough for a car to have driven through if it had been drained.
There was a good current crossing the path at one point and as the horses
stepped down into it the water went up high on their chests. When Lynda &
Josie were crossing it with the front runners Lynda's horse Bailey
stepped through is running martingale and had a not so fun "incident".
She had to jump off into the chest high water and try to disassemble the
thing with an anxious horse trying to go on with the others. He knocked
her off her feet at one point. Josie & Kyle stayed with her but it took a
while and they finally convinced Kyle to go on. Could have been a lot
worse I guess. >shudder< Lynda's pretty tall. I crossed the same thing
with a running martingale and if I'd have had to get off I might have had
to dog paddle! :-O

At the next check Lynda decided to drop back and let her horse eat a bit
so she took herself out of the hunt. Wesley Crowe's horse won the race
with Brandy riding, Josie, Steve Rojek & Elizabeth Allen? tied for 2nd.
When I finished Josie ran over and told me Jody had called and Joni had
won Chicken Chase. Great, Josie pulls off a 2nd and "Miss Competitive"
had to manage a first! >gWesley to give away that beautiful big hand made wooden tack trunk for
BC...Josie's Cade won!!! OK, so what *I* wanted to know was how Jody did
on Booger since I'm sure she'd consider that the tie breaker on the
weekend. Well, she finished higher...I *think* she said 11th...but there
were 30? entries. 7 finished 18th, but there were over 60 entries... hmm.
This could get involved. I mean...their times beat ours, but you just
can't compare different courses...right? I would be willing to call it a
tie and not count the rest of the season but that will never do for her.

Honestly, Million Pines is the friendliest, prettiest setting, best run,
*fun* ride I know. Nobody does it better and they just keep pulling off
the good weather. I had the prettiest camp I have ever had, parked in a
shady grove of pines looking across his beautiful lake watching his 2
Arabs and a very fit goat trot and canter circles around that lake night
and day. Josie has had a heck of a Spring and this was definitely the
cherry on top of the icing on the cake. She's been coveting that same
trunk for as long as she can remember and had been soo disappointed when
she was a little girl the year Kaboot came in 2nd in BC and *almost*
brought one home. This was a dream come true for her. :-)))

Angie McGhee

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