Friday, May 21, 2010

Speed Trap (Mt Adams)
It happened so fast.

I heard the clattering hooves on the hill behind me and nudged Taz off the single-track trail.

One of the skills I was perfecting this time out was swiftly getting out of the way of other horses and riders. There was a reason for that.

Back to the beginning

The ride started at the Mt. Adams horse camp on Saturday, May 15th. I had a plan - discussed with my friends Cathy and Wendy, whose horse I was riding - to go as slow as we reasonably could and still finish within the six-hour time allowed for a 25 mile limited distance ride.

I thought this might be within Taz's grasp, based on his last few conditioning rides. I could have tagged along with a group of others doing the 25-miler, but I wanted to ride alone so I could adjust his gaits to the terrain rather than to another horse. I couldn't count on finding a ride partner as well matched as Louise Baker and Tika, who I hooked up with at the Home on the Range ride in March.

I also knew we might be pushing near Taz's limits, and riding alone would give me a better read on his real energy levels. He's not one of those self-sufficient, lead-mare type horses - it's hard for him to let go of a trail companion, even if they are going faster than him.

You know how it is if you have ever done this on the highway. Having another horse "pull" you along might be useful occasionally, but sometimes it sends you into a speed trap.


Mt Adams Ride...what I learned & more! - Darlene Anderson

Thursday May 20 2010

10 things I learned from managing the Mt Adams ride:

1. When you tell people they don't have to bag their horse poop, like the USFS makes us do at all the other rides on public land...they're going to do it anyhow, and then they're going to put their regular garbage in there too & the BCH are going to be really pissed at finding all that in their horse camp poop bins! Side note ~~> THANK YOU Terry Ross & Bob Wooldridge for going up there w/Bob's tracter & trailer & emptying all those bags & clearing out the BCH bins of the rubbish.

2. When you offer to do a 100 miler if you get X # of entries, thinking if you get 1/2, you'll get really stressed out the week before the ride when all but 5-6 of the pre-entries cancel. We ended up with 11 entries. Note to self #1...only offering a 75 miler next year, not matter how much anyone cajoles me!

3. Have friends w/big hearts & bigger chainsaws. Ask them to bring their gloves & boots.

4. No matter how well you explain the trail (I'm a minimalist ride meeting consists of, "Follow the correct color ribbon, which will ALWAYS be the right color on the RIGHT side of the trail!"...someone is going to get messed up & go the wrong way, or miss a turn, or misunderstand what you said. I tried...really I did.

5. No matter how many miles a person has, they may still make a mistake & you're going to have a crisis of conscience in doing the right thing by the ride & by the person.
I hate that feeling...

6. Involve the local community as much as possible. The little town of Trout Lake, WA, feels such ownership of this ride that they will do about anything to make it happen each year. I was amazed at the people up there. It was refreshing to see how much they care about this ride.

7. Give decent awards. Steph & I wanted to give away a cup that Max had won at another ride w/fresh sharpie writing over the bank logo it had on it, "Best Condition 100 miles, Mt Adams Ride". We got vetoed. ;)

8. Don't overwork your friends/trail crew, they won't come back if you do!

9. If you do overwork your friends/trail crew...FEED THEM WELL! Food & good beer cures a multitude of evils. does.

10. Build it...and they will come. We had a record number of pre-registrations & equally as many people showed up w/o pre-registering. Can't thank you guys enough. Made my heart happy.

Bonus #11. Have people there that take really good pictures. People love pictures of their ponies. I know this because I do. :) Thank you Jessica & Merri!!

Addendum...Note to self matter how well you condition your horse, how much you prepare him for 100 miles, find the best jockey available (thanks Mom!)...your favorite horse in the whole world might still find a rock w/his name on it after 37 miles. Ack...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Broxton Bridge Plantation Ride Story - Nancy Sluys

May 18 2010

Hi Folks, those of you who were not at the Broxton Bridge Plantation ride this past weekend in South Carolina missed a stellar event! This was a first time ride and the land owners and first time ride manager Joe Schoeh did an awesome job making us feel welcome and just about thought of everything!! My only 2 complaints about the ride were the heat (can't control that!) and the lack of grass (the owners cut it short right before the ride so everything would look neat). The good stuff...Big camp area with trees and lots of hook-ups, shaded crew area, groomed trails (yes, they went out and watered and groomed the trail the night before the ride!), traditional Low Country Boil (shrimp, potatoes, sausage, corn) for dinner on Saturday, historic civil war battlefield, plenty of vets, super crew awards, southern hospitality etc, etc!!!

I came hoping to finish 2 days on Zanie my now 6 year old youngster. She has started doing 50s this year and is handling that well so a 2 day seemed doable. She performed very well the first day, eating and drinking well on the trail and in the VCs . We were going a moderate pace and I was able to take her directly to the pulse taker at the end of every loop. Her CRIs were fabulous and all other paramiters were As. She was handling the heat very well especially considering that we had 2 days of frost earlier in the week and the temperatures were climbing into the mid 90s! She looked great at the finish and I was surprised to realize that our ride time was around 6:30, almost an hour faster than her previous ride. Of course there was absolutely nothing in the way to slow you down on those flat, groomed sandy trails!
I collected my ride card for the next day but wasn't sure that I wanted to repeat that hot ride. She has been doing so well and I have been so careful to make sure that she is having a good time that I didn't want to push my luck on another hot day.Since I'm still getting to know her at a ride I decided to hang around camp and observe her for the details that I would need in the future to know what is normal for her after a ride. I took her back to the trailer and let her into her pen. Then I hung around in my trailer and watched her out the window to observe. First she ate some hay for about 20 minutes then she stood there snoozing. After about a half an hour she woke up and took a long drink then went back to sleep. I noticed that her nostrils were flaring a bit so decided to check her heart rate. She was still around 58-60 which seemed pretty high to me but she was not uncomfortable that I could see. I decided to check my friends 2 horses heart rates to have something to compare it to. They were also slightly elevated so I decided that they were just trying to cool off in the hot weather which was about 94 at that time. I decided to take her for a walk to get her blood flowing and she ate grass readily. Her manure was a bit dry compared to that morning when it was quite loose so I figured she was slightly dehydrated from the ride. I was curious to see how long she would take to recover completely. When I took her back to the trailer she scarffed down a slurpy mash and drank some more water. She seemed a lot cooler than she had been earlier so the walk had been a good idea, maybe I should have cooled her longer after the ride before turning her loose. These are the details I was wanting to notice so that I would know how to manage her during rides especially when we start doing 100s.
She looked great that night and the next morning but I wasn't ready to gamble on competing her a second day with the weather so hot so I didn't start the ride. Instead I took her out for a 10 mile loop by herself to see how she felt. Well, she felt awesome! Light, sound and forward and ready for more trail. I had the feeling that she totally could have completed a second day with no problem but glad I didn't have the worry of the competition to think about. I feel like I made the right decision and was proud of myself for being sensible and not letting my competitive spirit get in the was of good sense. I now have some pretty good observations of how she recovers and what's normal for her. I'm looking forward to the AHA Region 12 Championship ride at Big South Fork in a month. I'm planning on riding her in the 50 on Friday and the CTR on Sunday and now I'll have the peace of mind to know that she can do it!

Happy trails, Nancy & Zanie

PS...I would definitely put this ride on your calendar. It was a pleasure!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mt. Adams Endurance Ride, May 15th, 2010 - Akhal Tekes, Cascade Gold Blog

May 17, 2010

I'm pretty sure I now know the meaning of 'endurance'. We're back from our lovely weekend on the slopes of Mt. Adams, near Troutdale, WA. Absolutely gorgeous views, snowcapped peaks, tall firs, lovely meadows, wonderful trails, lots of happy horses and riders. So, why the comment, you ask?

At my last 50 mile ride, Home on the Range, I did great until the last mile, where I ended up getting off my horse, putting my head between my knees and waiting until the world quit rushing around. We finished, the horse was fine, but after that I've been doing more conditioning rides and I really worked on what I'd eat and drink at the next ride, so I wouldn't have this problem ever again. Well....

We rolled into ride camp around 3 pm on Friday, got camp set up, vetted in, met some friends, took care of the horses and hit the sack pretty early. None of us slept well, a common problem before a ride - lots of excitement! We were up at 4:45, ate a good breakfast, got the horses ready and hit the trail a little after 6 am. We had a little bit of excited horses, until we got out of camp and then both Galen and Allie settled into their work. Nice loose reins, long, steady walk to warm up and then a good trot up and down stunning trails. Both Wendy and I had to comment on how many trees the ride manager's crew had to cut up - the numbers were amazing! At the ride meeting, they mentioned 80 downed trees cut on ONE loop. I think they undercounted...

Read more here:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mt. Carmel XP story and GETC results

Globalendurance Blog


Christoph and Dian just came back from a successful 5 day ride at Mt Carmel, southern Utah. The Mt. Carmel ride is part of Dave Nicholson XP series. Scenery was beautiful, the weather just about perfect.

Dave, the "Duck" added two days to this years ride, for many years it has been a 3 day ride. This time we went up to over 10.000 ft on two of the days. With the heavy snow Utah experienced last winter, the riders had to negotiate over some snowy patches still left at elevation.

As always, the Nicholson family did a terrific job managing this ride. Everybody was in good spirits and had a lot of fun.

Deb Whorf, a long time friend and former Moab resident, flew in from Maine to attend the ride. She rode Trinity on 3 days and placed two times 3rd and one time 6th. On the last day, her horse GE Trinity, received the BC award. GE Trinity was formerly owned by Garrett Ford and resides now at the GETC facility in Moab.

Christoph placed first on all days, tying for first on 3 days with Dian and one time with Tennessee Mahoney, who rode Just Magnum, a horse formerly owned by GETC...

Read more here:

I wonder if Ruth remembers???

Horsegenes Blog - Full Story

I wrote this for mouthy mondays on mugwump chronicles about an endurance ride my dear friend Ruth and I did years ago... I wonder if she remembers it like I did?

I must have been about 14 and my favorite riding buddy at the time was 12. We found a flyer for an endurance ride at the local feed store. It was over the same trails we rode almost every weekend. We just knew we were going to be a shoo-in to win this ride. We had no idea what the ride entailed or what endurance rides were all about, we just knew that our horses knew those trails and were in excellent physical shape. We were giddy and excited about our big find and made a pact not to tell the rest of our little group so we wouldn’t have so much competition.

The ride started way out on the outskirts of town instead of at the trail head. It only added a few miles onto the ride itself but since we didn’t have a horse trailer it would add a good 5 miles to our ride. But we figured that if we just rode more and more on the days leading up to the ride and really kept our horses in tip top shape we could do it. So we planned, rode and did everything a couple of teenage girls could dream up to get in shape for the big event. We made sure our horses were shod two weeks prior, we each bought some light weight saddle bags to carry our food and drinks in and of course we talked about what to wear.

So the big day comes, we get up, are saddled and ready to go by 3:30am. The ride started at 8:00 am but we wanted to be there in time to let the horses rest for a while before we actually took off on the ride. It was dark outside when we took off down the rode. We figured that the fastest, shortest way to get to the starting point was to go down the main drag through town. It was a large four lane boulevard, shouldn’t be too busy at 4am and after all there were plenty of stoplights. Finally we get down to the freeway, (yes I said freeway)...

Read more here:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Karen's Horse Tail: Prineville Endurance Ride

Karen's Horse Tails blog -
Monday, May 10, 2010
photo: Snowy Cascades to the West

Getting away to go to the Prineville Endurance ride was my Mother's Day present to me. I hadn't been to the ride in years and there were so many people that I wanted to visit with. What fun to catch up, it was like a reunion! This was the first time Thunder and I had ventured off to Oregon for a ride. And it was to be his first 75 miler.

My plan was the usual, start late, keep him by himself and out of trouble. Which wasn't too hard since most everyone took off fast and then I got on and we headed out of camp. He was a bit wound up but I thought the climb up Grey Butte would settle him down. Wrong! I was keeping him in a trot, but he was a boing machine with a pogo stick trot. On the narrow trails he was pretty good but whenever he got out in the open he was pretty spooky. Only came close to dumping me once and I hooked a heel in his side and hung on. :-) Whew! I really like those trails the Ridge Riders have built over the years! And the views of the Cascades are phenomenal!
My biggest concern was that he was so intent on wanting to catch horses ahead that he didn't want to stop and drink. I'd get him to stand at the water but he'd just stare on up the trail - watching. He breezed up Kings Gap and on into the vet check at Cyrus Horse Camp. He still didn't drink and he was pushing me everywhere. Despite his antics his pulse dropped well and he vetted with A's and we went back out the trail. A couple 50 milers caught up to us and now he really wanted to go. I got off and led him for about a mile and he calmed down. I got back on and he hit a nice trot. It is just easier to settle him down that way than fight with him.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

My Biltmore Store - Mary Howell

This was my 11th year at Biltmore. I was transporting a friend's horse from SE Virginia and planning to crew for that friend and a few others in the FEI 100. We arrived just before dawn on Friday to find camp already almost full. After a few hours sleep, I headed over to registration to sell raffle tickets to help subsidize this year's AERC championship (visit for details). While there, I enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new ones as folks came by our table after registering.

Early that afternoon, Kathy Downs asked my if I could ride a horse for her in the 50. After checking with those I'd promised to crew for, who were very understanding, I squeezed in registration and vetting "Gibby" along with my other duties. To check tack, I took him out for a half hour before the ride briefing, and de-spooked him on the big rock you pass near the start. He was leery at first but then started licking it like a salt block - too funny!

Friday afternoon was windy and fairly cool, but ride morning was much warmer than the previous morning and I knew we were in for it. The 50's 7am start was mellow, thanks to Jeannie Waldron and Sarah Fletcher, who led at a steady trot. I enjoyed riding behind Meg Sleeper's veteran horse "Troy," who never broke a trot and barely broke a sweat as he negotiated the trail. HIs rider, Sarah from NH, was one of the many young riders there prepping for the Young Riders Championship in July.

Since this was Gibby's first 50, I eventually slowed up and came into the first hold around 8:40. Kathy's husband Stan helped me crew while I ran back to the trailer for a t-shirt and my favorite reins. Leaving on the 2nd loop, I hooked up with Leigh Ann Pauley who set a great pace. The first part of the trail went along the woods behind my rig, so I called out through the trees to my now-retired Shiloh, who was serving as a buddy horse that weekend and whinnied back as he recognized my voice. He seemed glad to have the day off!

After a long drink at the water tub, our horses headed off the riverbed into the hills and that's when my left stirrup broke as the bolt holding its bar in place came unscrewed. I sent Leigh Ann on while figuring out how to patch it together. Claire, a SE region rider who caught up to me, loaned me some wire but I ended up using my sponge string after taking about 15 minutes to try patching with the wire.

I needed to go slower anyway since Gibbey's owner wants to take him through the FEI series, which means 3 50s slower than 5 hours before trying an FEI 50. I rode the last half of the 2nd loop with Natalie Muzzio and Steven Hay, who were great company. Gibbey vetted through around 11:40, and by that time the heat and trail were starting to take their toll. My friend Sarah Schick's horse Legs was off so she was out of the 50, which was a real bummer since it was her birthday. Megan, my friend in the FEI 100, had also pulled. Teddy at RunningBear was very hepful in trying to help with my stirrup, but since we couldn't find the right size bolt and nut, I borrowed a stirrup from Lynn Kennelly,.

With no other horses to pull him along, Gibby was sluggish leading out on the last loop so we just walked along in the sun and heat until Steven Hay caught up. He explained that Natalie had rider optioned. They pulled us along at a better pace and halfway through, Sandy Thompson, one of my teammates (Biltmore lets you pick teams and gives out special awards) came blazing by on her wonderful mare. We stayed with her a bit, but then slowed since Steven just needed a completion to be able to go to Young Riders and I was close to being under the 5 hour mark. We crossed 8th and 9th with a 5 hour 6 minute ride time. I was so proud of Gibbey, who was 9 but had just been under saddle about a year. Kathy said I could ride him again for her!

Now I put on my crew hat and started helping Eone, Megan Savory's protege from South Africa who had already qualified for the WEG in Kentucky on one of Megan's other horse and was now trying to qualify a second horse, the same one I had ridden with Megan in the 2009 Biltmore 100. Shammi is an elegant, gentle Saddlebred cross who is easy to crew and trot out. I also enjoyed watching other finishing up their rides - Nicky Meuten's horse, who won the 75, looked fantastic cantering out on the last loop.

Sarah and went into town to get supplies and watch the Derby (I'd promised Eone some ice cream when she came into her last hold around 7:30pm). We drank margaritas in a nearby sports bar and had a great time watching the TB's who looked like they'd been mud wrestling as they came around the muddy track. That rain was heading our way from Kentucky, but it was still hot when we got back to camp and the pink of cookies and cream disappeared in about 10 minutes between Eone and Austin Shaffer, who she was sponsoring since Deb Shaffer's horse had been pulled.

Standing by the finish line around 9:30, we first watched Samantha Sandler and Elliptic canter across all by themselves looking great. Our riders came in about a half hour later (ended up 3rd and 4th), as spurts of rain came down here and then. By the time Shammi finished vetting through and I'd shown her for BC, it was well after 11pm and time for bed.

At awards the next morning, we learned the completion rate was lower than usual - 70% of the 50s and only about 50% of the 75s and 100s completed. There were some hard luck stories, but one of the worst was the horse Anne Hall sold to Mr Hasumi. She had flown the horse in from California and he had flown in from Japan, only for the horse to step on a screw somewhere between his pen and the way to the vets in and not even be able to start. Ann was amazingly composed when we talked, saying at least the vets caught it before it could have been a career ending injury.

Sarah had a chance to have the vets check her horse before we left and fortunately his lameness appears due to a minor issue. We were on the road by 10:30am and I reflected how fortunate my Biltmore experience had been (Our team of Sandy, Ruth Sturley and myself was 2nd team in the 50).

Every year, Biltmore can serves up a share of disappointment, but if you hang in there long enough in this sport, you'll eventually have enough good days to make up for the bad luck ones and be able share in the joys of your friends when they have their GREAT days! - Mary