Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ozark 100--It Rained....(Notice how that sounds a little like Noah's Ark) by Lucky Six Nellie
by Marirose Six
April 29 2011

I got suspicious when Mom fitted me for shoes, 2 pair even, but didn't nail them on. Then came the haircut. We must be going someplace warm. Then the shoes were nailed on. Now I am getting excited, I love seeing new places. We trailered a short ride to another trailer & my buddy Hawk. It's always fun to travel with friends. From there we rode two more days to a place called Missouri. Each night we stopped at really cool places where Hawk & I could move around & relax.

Turns out that it really was kind of warm in MO. I had forgotten about humidity, I was reminded.

When we got to Brushy Creek Lodge, Hawk & I got to wander around some eating grass--my favorite thing to do. We didn't stay long before being loaded again & dropped off for a short ride. I just love new trails. It was so much fun to cruise down the trail with hawk & Kerry. That is until it rained. Thunder, lightning, the whole deal. That didn't slow us down though, I was headed for the trailer & another ride to the next camp at Bass River Resort. We were able to hang out at Bass all the next day. While there I ran into my friend Skylark, she & Ronnie were going to be riding with us. We vetted in for the ride in the afternoon. And then it rained that night.

Come early morning Mom saddled me up in the rain. Then she unsaddled me, I heard that Brushy Creek Camp was under water (that is where we were supposed to be riding to today & then beyond to finish on the trail we rode Thursday). The start of the Ozark 100 was postponed. It rained. A new trail plan was put together, the ride must go on...

By the time Mom saddled up again the rain had stopped & we headed out on the trail. Nine horses & one mule (me, of course) hit the trail. What a beautiful trail it was too. Dogwoods blooming, creeks gurgling. Everyone was having fun. Then it rained again, but that didn't stop the fun or the beauty of the trail. Birds were a singing but only one squirrel braved the rains to run across our trail all day...

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ozark Trails 100

Keith Kibler
April 2011

Keith's blog at

Paul Sidio is my friend. We have ridden several 50s together and one previous 100. When I heard that he had the idea of doing a point to point 100 in the extremely remote Ozarks in So Missouri I was immediately interested. When I learned that no one had made it more than 65 miles, in the last ride, I did have a bit of concern. So, when Paul asked if I could help clear part of the trail, I took the chance to help and preview the course at the same time. The trail was no worse than the Shawnee National Forrest and that is where we normally train and ride. I took some advice and invested in Vettec for additional hoof protection.

The week before the ride featured my 2007 ford developing a head leak. The truck could not be repaired in time and Sandy’s truck could not pull the live aboard. Our only option was a stock trailer and a tent. Sandy said, “great, I love a tent”. She was not being sarcastic and is such a trooper.

Sandy, the super crew!

We went to the ending spot, which was a horse campground called Brushy Creek near Black Mo. As we set up our tent outside the stock trailer, I had the thought that the Clampets had arrived. We slept in the tent through a night of raining and headed off to the Bass River resort for the start.

Barry and Linda Cole were the race directors. They took Paul Sidio’s vision and had the courage and daring to run with it. They are to be admired. I do!


Nine riders started the ride in the 100 and one in the 75. We were supposed to start at 5:45. It started to rain. The Forest Service predicted rain and more rain, which meant seriously swollen water crossings. The race start was pushed back. It was announced that the race plan was modified and that we would find out more later but that we would not be riding point to point. We would ride down the trail until the 20 mark and meet our crews. Sandy is as thrilled with Endurance as I am, but 100 miles is too far for her. Sandy is a wonderful crew and I looked forward to seeing her.

We all put on our rain gear and took to the trail. Lucy Estebook and her fine Arabian "Flyer" went to the lead. Kate and I went with her. We wound around the trail and had a blast together. We were the first though the "gate and go", which was around 9 miles from the start. Lucy’s horse threw a shoe and she had no boot. I gave her what I had. At the first Vet check, at mile 20 we were 18 minutes up. Sandy put a little smaller boot on Flyer.

Lions and Tigers

The race director told me to ride until I got to Hazel Creek Campground. He said I would know it when I came to a sign that said “Hazel Creek Campground”. We were told to turn around when we got to the sign. Off we went and Flyer was flying. I stopped to take a nature break and found Lucy on up the trail, across a small wide spot in the trail, that had a couple of picnic tables. There was no sign of a “Hazel Creek” sign and so we kept going. We eventually came to a sign that said that “Hazel Creek” was was 4.5 miles behind us. It was not our best moment. We turned around. We headed into the vet check knowing we had ridden at least 9 miles too far on the trail. Flyer was done as a result of the shoe issue.

As Kate and I started to leave, the co-race director was on the mobile to the race director. She said, “don’t leave, the race may have to be canceled because of flooding.” Someone started to pull Kate’s saddle. Then the race director said, “the other riders are across a creek that can’t be crossed now and here is what we are going to do. You can go on but you have to turn around and come back. As long as you do 100 miles you can ride back and forth. Just do a 100 miles.” I agreed, took off, went to the creek, and then turned and came back. Did I say it was black as ink out by now?

When I came back for the next vet check, I was told that the race had changed again and that the other riders were now on the same side of the impassible creek. I was told to ride until the next vet check. I did that. On the way the rain increased and it actually started hailing. Kate paused and seemed to ask me what I had gotten her into. As we racked along, I noticed two orange beads glowing in the brush off the trail. I went back and looked again. It was a large rattle snake coiled on some dead fall. We left him alone. I continued to ask Kate to step into raging creeks in the dark. She never missed a step. She did step into a deep spot in one crossing that left me thinking we were going under.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears

We got to the vet check, and the race director said I had to ride some extra miles, to make up the section where the others had crossed the creek that I couldn't cross, and I did that. At one point, I was told to ride down a trail following glow sticks for 5 miles. I did that and on the way back I noticed that a second set of glow sticks were on the trail. I was in a loop. 5 miles became 7 miles. I could not find my way back to the vet check. It started to rain again. It was 2:30 am and I had been sopping wet 17 hours. I called out loud for help. No answer came back. I was on the verge of panicking. The only thing I could think of was to get off of Kate and sit under a tree and wait for help. I realized it might take days to get that help. I was desperate. It was time to pray. I did just that and got the answer of which way to go. 15 minutes later and I found myself at the vet check where the other riders were waiting. We all did 4 miles of road riding and the race director told us to head down the trail for 10 miles to the finish.

Kate was in racking mode and off we went. A mile later, Kate and I came to a point where the trail went into a larger trail that made a sharp right turn. It had an OT sign on it but it did not look right. I went backwards on the trail, and found my friend Paul and the other riders and asked if there was a road ahead. I heard “what road” back from the dark. I turned Kate around and we went back to the sign and headed down the wider trail. I heard the others behind me. I turned and went back to where they were and they were gone. I could not believe it. I called for them. I called loudly. I heard nothing.

So, I went back to the vet check again and the vet crews were gone. I turned around again and went the mile back to the sharp turn. I knew something was wrong. I looked closely at the OT sign and saw there was a second OT sign behind it and a smaller trail. At 4:30 am, in the rain and with wet bifocals, I simply could not see the second sign. I was elated to have found the right way on trail again but realized I had once again given away the lead. Worse, I would now have to hustle to finish within the 24 hour time limit.

We were now well over 100 miles, not including the back and forth over the last few miles at the wide spot. We had 10 miles to go and Kate acted like she was starting the event. We racked on. I watched the GPS and the clock and I knew it would be close. The trail wound around so much it became maddening. Dawn broke and it stopped raining. By 7 am I had 35 minutes to finish and I knew that if I could stay on Kate, we would make it.

We racked into the final vet check to find my Sandy’s beaming face and what sounded to me like thundering applause. Everyone thought I was lost. Sandy knew we would make it somehow. I had a problem. I could not get off of Kate. I could not raise either leg. Sandy and another helper took my feet out of the stirrups and I hugged Kate and rolled to the ground. Once Kate completed I was standing talking to Sandy and all of a sudden a wave of emotion swept over me and I started crying. I felt like a complete goober but I really couldn’t help myself.

I had gone from elation to despair to elation and been wet and cold for 24 hours. Our finish time was 23:35. The other riders had done their 100 miles. Not including the riding back and forth at the wide spot, Kate had carried me 119 miles and finished 15 minutes behind the leaders. I love this horse.

Lions, Tigers and Bears, OH MY!

It appeared we were the only horse that could stand for BC. I fed Kate and got 1½ hours of sleep and a shower. When I went to the vet, the race director came up to me and said, “You are not going to believe this, and I am SO sorry”. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said that one of the other female riders from Wyoming was objecting to my getting placing because the race directors had had me do parts of the course in a different order than the others when they thought the impassable creak was separating me from the competitors. I was in shock. I mentioned I had done what I was told to do to the best of my ability and he said he totally agreed. He said they knew I had done the mileage and more but she was objecting.

I told him I understood that someone might object to Kate standing for B.C., but I had no idea why someone higher in the placing order would object to our getting last place. He said it was crummy, that he knew we had done well over the 100 miles, and he was visibly upset.

This man had done a wonderful job and the last thing I wanted to do was see him upset by anybody. I told him that I argued for a living but would not argue for myself and accepted my belt buckle as my completion award. I should say, “Kate’s completion award.” They made a special “hard luck award” and he announced at the awards lunch that I had done everything asked of me for 24 hours and that Kate was a super horse. I truly appreciated that.

It has been my pleasure to have completed over 80 triathlons, 2 Ironmans and 10 x 500 mile biking events. This race was the hardest thing I have ever done. The trail is not impossible as 6 of us completed the event. However, you need to have a really tough horse, a crew and a good attitude. I would also say that faith would be important. It sure was for me.

I will cherish my belt buckle the rest of my life. Thank you Barry, Linda and Paul!
Rack on my friends. ( Well. Many of you can “trot on”)
Keith and Kate
Got to go hug my horse, well, as soon as I wake up.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Australia: Shk Majid al Maktoum Challenge - Jay Randle

April 18 2011

We arrived on Friday afternoon and I was astounded at the location! It was very easy to access; from the highway it looked like something special was happening, and the lay-out was well designed.... with the exception of the requirement that all vehicles had to be parked in an east-west direction.... which made the large paddock a very hot place to be, with no shade available. For the next ride at this location, may I suggest that (if the same requirement for all the parking to look "neat" is in effect) all vehicles should park on a north-south axis to allow for shade patches to be utilised??

The big screen was certainly an eye-catching feature! However the repetitive nature of the videos played pre-ride was pretty ordinary. Once the screen was showing actual ride and vetting footage, it was great! I thought it was fun to try to spot the camera operator!!

The site is used for field days, and has some permanent structures and some concrete pads which are used for temporary display stands. Although there seemed to be plenty of power boxes, and a number of water taps, both power and water were unavailable for over half of the area due to a lack of generator power, I believe. Hopefully this will be rectified in time for the June event.

There was a free feed put on on Friday evening for all riders, officials, strappers, volunteers, etc. Which meant everybody! The food was good, and plentiful, and the atmosphere was similar to some American and European rides I have attended where similar style catering is common-place. Maybe a bar would have made it even more fun...

4am Saturday morning saw the start of the 160km 3-star event, with 6 starters. At 5am the 120km 2-star event commenced, with 27 Open and 10 Youth starters. That the track was fast was evidenced by the quick pace of the first leg, and it certainly made the strapping and vetting areas very interesting! It was pretty clear early on that there were going to be heavy casualties with lots of lamenesses visible. From talking to various riders I discovered that the track, although flat, had a multitude of different types of footing, including soft sand, hard packed tracks, rocky patches, muddy patches, and muddy soft patches with hard spiky rocks underneath! Most people I spoke to mentioned that it would be a good idea to pad for this ride in future.

A 40km training ride was also offered on Saturday, with pre-ride vetting from about 7am, and the ride commencing at 10am. Although the morning dawned quite warm, and then it turned hot for about an hour, by 10am it was raining lightly and quite cool! So the training riders set off on a wet track, although most looked like they were enjoying it! My good friend Kate Gadsby had delivered a 40km horse for one of my young riders, Sam Barling, to do her second 40km on, and they both set off looking great. The training ride was 2 legs, of 25km and 17.5km, and Sam and Deep Forest Contest completed the ride very well and easily. Thanks to Kate Gadsby for allowing Sam to ride her beautiful Connie!

By this time the 120km ride was really getting interesting, as I had 1 horse entered in the Youth Division: Aloha Farina (owned by Lisa Stone) being ridden by Natashja Burton. Farina and Natashja did the first leg of 40km in 2:35, the second leg of 30km in 1:46, the third leg of 25km in 1:39, and the final leg of 25km in 1:34, for a consistent average speed of over 15km per hour. Farina vetted well after each leg, and ended up with a total ride time of 7:51:56.

The weather during the day fluctuated from drizzly and mild to hot and steamy, with patches of windy and cool. Quite a number (more than half the field, I believe) of competitors were lame in the trot-outs, and a couple of horses were treated during the day. After the third leg, Natashja and Farina were in 5th place, however the leader vetted out at the third Vet check. I then told Natashja to pass one particular rider who was just in front of her, and so the pair ended up in 3rd place, just under 6 minutes behind the winner! Natashja rode a very good ride, and Farina looked great throughout.

The strapping area gave everyone plenty of room, and the water supply was maintained by one of the ride volunteers who worked his butt off to keep the troughs filled. Because the ground is mainly sandy, there was not that terrible problem of sloshing through increasingly wet and muddy conditions in the strapping area.

Saturday evening saw some celebrations, and Sunday morning saw the start of the 80km 1-star event at 5am. We had one entry, Splendacrest Superb (owned by Clare Fleming) ridden by Gerard Bou. The 80km ride was in three legs: 25km, 30km, 25km. The first leg of 25km wasn't enough to even begin to tire out Super, and he was still jumping out of his skin after the second leg. It was only after he completed the 80km that he started to look tired, although G was pretty tired well before then! Super and G completed in 4:53, for 7th Open placing.

There was an exciting gallop finish between the 2 front-runners, and I heard that the "maximum speed" registered on the GPS unit of one of them was 49.4km per hour! There was also a protest after the race, second against first, due to the location of the finish line having been changed without the knowledge of the riders. However the original placings were upheld, with the winner's time being 3:38:30. Pretty fast ride!

I was very pleased with our results on the weekend, and look forward to the June ride at the same location. My overall impression of the event was favourable, and I acknowlege the effort put in by the Toft family and all the volunteers, FEI Officials, QERA volunteers, and anyone who helped to make this event such a good one. I would certainly recommend the June ride as an event not to be missed, however the inclusion of an AERA 160km alongside the FEI*** 160km ride would be welcomed.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tough Sucker 2011

Karen Bumgarner

When I think of a ride in the Owyhees the first thing that comes to mind is the magnificent Snake River. The Snake winds around through the desert and tall canyon walls, creating quiet oasis and beautiful ranches. The pioneers followed much of the Snake and the Oregon Trail still exists. And lucky us as Tough Sucker riders, we get the privelege of riding portions of the Oregon Trail. To trot where the oxen pulled wagons and the pioneers walked is an amazing experience. And from the dry hill tops looking back towards the river, one wonders how they must have felt leaving the river behind, and knowing that if they stayed there that it could mean death from the Indians. Recall the Utter Disaster blogspot from last October.

It is amazing that much of the Owyhees are as wild as they were 150 years ago. Minus the Indians. :-) But as you ride along its pretty easy to replay some of those old westerns in your head and imagine Indians popping up along the horizon. Hmmm maybe thats what makes Thunder look for something to jump at!

These Owyhee rides remain some of my favorites. And they must be the favorites of others too as riders drove in to the ranch near Oreana for the ride on Saturday April 16. It wasn't a big crowd but it was a happy bunch of riders as we started the day with no wind and a promise of sunshine. The first loop took us to the Snake River and it was peaceful and gorgeous. Even though the water was high and rapid we still had a nice spot for the horses to drink. The trail then went out to the Snake River Birds of Prey area and wound around the desert all day long. Some folks find the desert boring but it is chock full of beauty if a person just looks for it. Even the dry washes with their high walls can be entertaining especially when Thunder is on "Troll Patrol". HAHA.

I think the ride had roughly 40 riders all total on the 25, 50 and 75. Only 5 of us were on the 75 and Thunder and I managed to place third about 30 minutes behind the front runners. He was still full of spooks and playful moves, all in a days work of Keeping me entertained and improving my riding skills. We finished about 8 PM and it wasn't even dark yet. Hooray! We vetted in for the last time of the day with A's on his vet card all day long!

Except for a 5 minute rain shower, it was a sunny beautiful and warm day. So unlike Tough Sucker weather but I truly enjoyed it!

Karen's Horsetales Blog

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Home on the Range Endurance Race

Rideacurly Blog

March 28 2011

Well, we are home from the endurance race. I was so sore yesterday, I could barely walk. Here I prided myself that I was in good shape - yah, right. I guess not so much. Traveler, my husband and my kids and I loaded up the motor home and headed over to the beautfiul Palouse country for the first endurance race of the season. We just went out on the 25 miler - and overall, Traveler was great. I was worried about his "stallion" behavior, but he held it in check for the initial vetting in and was in good shape and vetted through perfectly. He spent the night tied to the trailer and I kept one ear open all night listening for any low nickering, to make sure a mare didn't get loose and visit us in the wee hours of the morning. At one point I thought I heard something and I bolted up right, listening intently, when I realized it was just my husband snoring. LOL. And then the race started. He had been doing really well, listening to me and being under control, and then 50 mares in heat took off at a run and they were leaving him behind!...

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