Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cheap Thrills - Zapped Ranch

Reprinted from Karen Bumgarner's blog: http://zappedranch.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/cheap-thrills/
Posted on June 28, 2011 by zapped6000

photo: Blue and author Karen Bumgarner at Oreana, photo by Steve Bradley

Owyhee Cheap Thrills gave riders two days of fun in the Oreana sunshine thanks to John & Steph Teeter. As always the hospitality is awesome and they even opened up a small new pasture for riders to hand graze their horses in! Always so much fun to go to the rides and see all my buddies. I love it!

I took Blue to ride the first day of the two day ride. I started with Linda Ballard and her mare, Aire, Blue’s buddy. Tamara Baysinger with her mare Consolation came along with us too. Cons was quite full of it when Tamara got on, she took off and had a bit of buck to her. But Tamara made a great save, stopped her safely and stayed on board! Woohoo for cheap thrills!

Blue was calm until we got up on the road and several other horses surrounded him. He got nervous real fast and so did I. More cheap thrills! He is quite timid and thinks strange horses are going to kill him just because everyone at home beats up on him. We had tried to start late so we would stay calm but a lot of other riders had the same plan. Grrrr! Took a couple miles with him in the back, where he was happiest, to settle down. Consolation and Tamara led the way and set a nice pace for us on our first loop of 15 miles out through the Badlands. We got hung up with a group of riders again at a gate and again it took Blue a bit to figure it out, putting him in the back was again my option. Back in camp Tamara was a couple minutes ahead and unfortunately Linda’s mare was off and pulled. Blue vetted through with A’s and a bouncy trot that pleased the vet.

We had a 40 minute rest hold that seemed to whiz by. Mix feed for him, I ate, cleaned his boots, I drank, tried to get what I needed for the next 20 mile loop, took him to eat grass and it was time to go. Whew! Off we went on two slightly reluctant horses. Blue was whinnying for the red mare and his last rides had been one big 50 mile loop where he didn’t have to leave camp again. I’m sure when we ride out of camp on loops that horses think humans are just plain stupid.

Meanwhile we trotted out for the high country, toward the famous or maybe infamous landmark of Booby Rock. We kept getting in groups of horses and Blue was just rattled and he popped a right front boot off. More thrills!! We had creek crossings offering lots of water for the horses and gorgeous wildflowers along the way. Only Blue was such a handful I didn’t get to take any pics. That was a bit disappointing. Eventually we managed to separate out from the group and he settled in happily behind the grey mare that was his new buddy.

Back in camp. A succesful vet check again with A’s and a bouncy trot. Food, boots, drink, graze and out again. Our last 15 mile loop went out to lower Hart Creek, through the sand and some ravines. A few horses caught up to us in this slow stretch but didn’t want by. Tamara put Cons inbetween Blue & the growing herd behind us. Then we caught three riders. The parade got longer, my horse got bouncier, he knew he could get to the finish a lot faster without me! Then we caught two more, still no where to pass. Finally it widened out, briefly, and Blue pulled out through the brush and zipped around. Now Blue was in front and very happy. He was feeling cocky passing those horses and getting racy, tossing his head. Even with the martingale I was getting ears up my nose! More thrills! We left the notch of Hart Creek Canyon, passed through the gate and I decided this was it.

We had about 8 miles yet to go. And I let him out a notch. We both knew this trail and he ate it up, climbing the hill through the rocks at a good strong trot. “Please Lord don’t let us lose a boot now!” Thrills! He trotted all the way up to Knife Ridge. Walked a short distance. I looked back and the herd was spreading out and had dropped back walking where we had trotted. He picked up the trot again, cruised right on up to the top road and knew he was heading in. We weren’t going real fast but faster than we had all day at 10 – 11 mph. His legs weren’t moving faster, his stride just lengthened as he found another gear. Both he and Cons were having a blast! At the top of the slide Tamara and both I got off and led down as we had done earlier in the day. We got back on before the creek crossing where the two horses tried to suck it dry. We left just as one group of horses was coming over the top to start down the slide.

Both horses were eager and strong and would’ve happily raced in but that wasn’t an option. Just a nice trot was all I wanted. We lost that dang boot again after the creek, I popped it back on as fast as I could, jumped back on and didn’t waste any time with it. I held my breath at the next crossing but it was OK this time. Never lost a boot like that dangit! Tamara and I decided maybe that foot was a bit smaller than the other and needed a smaller size, next time. We trotted into the finish in 11th and 12th. Only we really had no idea where we were in the mix of things with all the shuffling of riders until they told us.

We vetted through one last time, again A’s and the vet said, “His trot still has lots of bounce!” For me it’s a thrill to know my horse has finished healthy, happy, sound and yes, still bouncy. It just doesn’t get much better than that!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pine Tree 100 - Char Jewell

June 27 2011

Horse: My Last Nickle – 10yo, 16.2h, Anglo-Arab, 620 miles in CTR & Endurance in less than two seasons (first ride was end of July 2009)

· Nickle was bred for this sport – he’s a 2nd generation on our farm, we bred & owned his dam and purchased his sire when he was born. His sire was a full Russian/Crabbet Arab who had over 2,000 CTR & endurance miles. Several of his get are competing today in CTR & Endurance.

· Nickle was sold when he was young to an eventing home and then we had a chance to buy him back when he was 6. He stood around for 2 years while I was working on growing my own family.

Me: Char Jewell, first ride was a CTR in 1986, 3,781 miles in CTR & endurance, primarily on three horses

Every winter here in Maine, those of us who do not head south for a fun winter of endurance riding, are stuck dreaming about the upcoming season. During one of those day dreams I decided to shoot for my & Nickle’s 1st 1-day 100. At that time he had 465 miles – had completed two 1-day 50’s very well that previous summer along with a bunch of CTR. So, I devised my plan…

I begged & pleaded for crew. The first person I contacted was someone that I’ve ridden hundreds of miles with and she knows me very well. She also knows that I’m not good at taking care of myself during competition. I get distracted taking care of my horse instead, which usually ends up in me feeling woozy by the end of the day. My Mother volunteered to help take care of Nickle as well as a couple other friends. Luckily for me, they were all green to crewing a 100 mile and didn’t know what they were signing on for. HA!!

As preparation we’d head for a 25 mile CTR on April 30, 1-day 50 Endurance on May 15, and a 3-day 80 on May 28. If he sailed through those rides it would give him 4 weeks to coast until the 100.

Things went better than planned.

At the 25 mile – he came through with a perfect score of 100. At the endurance, he accomplished his best time yet for a 50 – around 6:20 hours (the results are not posted yet) in the Mountains of Vermont. Just a few minutes off top 10. At the 80 mile, he missed Grand Champion by ¼ point with a score of 99.

Nickle has a history of not eating well at rides. A year ago I started him on Neigh-Lox. He internalizes his stress from travel and competition with the result being not eating well and poor gut sounds. The Neigh-Lox in his feed during the competition season has helped tremendously. The other surprising thing that happened at the 80 mile was that he started eating everything I put in front of him. Between the heavy competition schedule that month and the Neigh-Lox he was eating “like a horse”. He finally figured it out!

He was ready.

But, was I? I am not what you’d classify as, um, “physically fit”. Could stand to lose 30 lbs and gain some tone, but working 50 hours a week at a desk with the only exercise of mucking stalls on weekends and chasing my 4yo daughter – that’s not gonna happen any time soon.

In the 3 weeks before the 100 I wanted to get a bit of night riding in and some conditioning rides to keep him ready, but not tired. I can only ride on the weekends, so that gave me 6 riding days in those 3 weeks. We took two night trips, one for less than 5 miles and the other 14 miles. We did 3 rides of 8 miles or less on the other days and one 15 mile. Totaling 6 rides of under 40 miles total.

I found myself in the 3 weeks leading up to the 100 to be neurotically attentive to Nickle. I do believe he knew something was up. Twice daily checks of his body for any hint of trouble resulted in a suspicious boy.

I went into this ride with two major advantages 1) only a 50 minute drive, where some of the other competitors had a 12+hour drive and 2) I know those trails like the back of my hand – I’ve been riding up there for 20 years. I do have to admit that for the first time in years, I had butterflies about a competition. It was weird to experience that feeling again after so long.

We drove up Friday morning, got there by 9 so we could get a decent parking spot. Glad we did as all the competitors from “away” were already there and good spots were becoming short. It rained. Then it rained some more. Oh, did I mention that it rained?? We worked on getting the truck packed between rain showers and drove out to set up the hold location for the 1st & 2nd holds so they didn’t have too much to do first thing in the morning. The other 4 holds were all back at camp. That makes life much easier. I kept him bundled up with a fleece and rain coat so he was warm with a selection of food for him to munch on. He vetted in with all A’s.

I slept pretty good Friday night – woke up around 11:30 to hear a thunder storm rolling through. Got up at 3 to feed, got last minute things organized and tacked up at 4 for a 5:00 open trail.

Loop Breakdown:

1) 17.5 miles – 40 min hold (this loop ended up being a bit short due to a last minute trail change)

2) 11.9 miles – 40 min hold

3) 13.7 miles – 40 min hold

4) 22 miles – 30 min hold

5) 11.8 miles – 20 min hold

6) 11 miles – 20 min hold

7) 11 miles

Pulse parameter all day was 64. 11 horses were entered in the 100.

My plan for this ride was to ride a bit faster than CTR pace, walk all the crappy places and walk all the big uphills. I wanted to make sure I stopped often enough so he could grab bites of grass frequently along the way to keep his guts happy and hydrated. I looked at the ride results from previous years and the average wining time is 12:18 and the average 10th place is 16:01. My goal was to finish with a ride time of 14 hours.

This year I decided to try less electrolytes – I mixed up 8 syringes - each had 1/3 dose Perform N Win and ½ dose Perfect Balance mixed with Pro-CMC. I also carried a syringe of Lyte Now on my saddle in case I felt he needed a little something extra while on trail. He got one dose Friday night, one Saturday morning and one at each hold. I gave him 3 doses of Lyte now based on his pulse reading higher than normal at certain times while on trail. So he did the whole 100 miles on 2.5 doses of Perform N Win, 4 doses of Perfect Balance and 3 doses of Lyte Now.

The weather was absolutely perfect. Light rain/drizzle & low 60’s – cool enough for the horses, but not cold.

The first major difference I noticed was the start. Everybody just walked up the road. Very nice change from the mad dash on 50’s I’m used to. Right from the first couple miles I hooked up with Patti Steadman riding her husband’s horse Sarge on his first 100. The two horses were perfectly matched as to pace and seemed to like each other. Of course riding with Patti is great fun. She talks just enough to keep your brain working but doesn’t talk your ear off like some people can. And yes, she is as funny in person as she is on paper!

Loop 1 went well – average pace was 7.6mph, we walked immediately to the PR folks as he was down when we walked into the hold. All A’s with a 52/60 CRI. Horses had started coming in to the hold when his CRI was done & he started to nicker at them, Nick Kohut, our head vet, said he had no worries because he knew if it weren’t for the horses coming in his CRI would have been better. I had all sorts of food for him to eat, but all he wanted was grass.

Loop 2 was great although we did hear some rumblings of thunder in the distance. Patti took all the blame since she took her rain coat off at the hold. We held an average of 7.1mph and walked immediately to the PR folks when we came in to the hold. His CRI was 48/52 with all A’s except a B for hydration. He hadn’t started drinking yet, we were still stopping for grass frequently.

Loop 3 we headed back to camp with an average pace of 8.1 mph. It was starting to get warmer so I pulled his tack before we went in for our PR. His CRI was 64/72 with all A’s except for a B on gait. He had to come for a recheck – they though they saw something on his RF. Boy, I can’t begin to describe how stressful it is knowing you have to go for a recheck. I know I could have done a better job cooling him out before we went in for his PR – I think that’s why is CRI wasn’t great.

Loop 4 the longest of the day at 22 miles – we averaged 7.5 mph. Very sad to report – about half way through this loop Patti’s horse grabbed a front shoe with his hind foot & tore it off half way. The nails that were still in were too tight to try to pry it off. I was desperate to try to get it off so we could put an easy boot on, but Patti insisted we leave her. By this time Sarah Jack, who I’ve known since she was born, had caught up with us (she makes me feel old). She was riding her horse’s second attempt at a 100. I was very glad to have company as Nickle gets pouty when he’s alone and especially so when he lost Sarge. Even with company I had to keep after him to go forward. He was waiting for Sarge to catch up. We pulled Nickle’s tack coming into the hold – his CRI was 60/60 and all A’s.

Loop 5. Nickle definitely figured out something was going very wrong. The furthest he’d ever been was 50 miles in a day. We’d been back to camp, pulled his tack. He got to hang out at the trailer. He was very confused about going out again & didn’t like it. At all. He was VERY pouty and I had to get after him about moving out. His pulse was great but attitude was not. About ½ way through this loop he perked up and we did some cantering and he was moving freely – definitely a happier boy. I wasn’t really worried about his pouty attitude. Most everything I’d read people said horses get a lull around 65 miles. He hit it perfectly. We averaged 6.5mph – there was a lot of steep downhill, muddy yucky crap on this loop. He came in to the hold – I didn’t pull his tack because I didn’t want him to think he was done. His CRI was 60/60, all A’s except for B’s in hydration, gait & muscle tone.

Loop 6 a short 11 miles. However, most of it was either uphill or downhill. At this point we’d been 77 miles and I didn’t want to waste his energy on trotting up the big climbs, so we walked the uphills and trotted the flat & downhills. We averaged 6.7mph (there was a LOT of uphill to walk). Again at the hold I didn’t pull his tack his CRI was 64/64, all A’s except for a B on gut and a C on gait. Another recheck. 88 miles completed and we had a recheck. OMG!! I was so worried about him at this point that I totally forgot to take care of myself. I didn’t eat a thing and barely drank anything. That was not good. After a committee discussion the vets decided we could go out. They felt his shoulder muscles were sore, nothing too serious, but I know all that uphill and downhill on this last loop wasn’t going to help. I was stressed and a bit panicked to say the least.

Loop 7 same as loop 6. We left at 8:31 – due to the cloud cover it was getting dark quickly. I had 3 glow sticks on his breastplate and a headlamp with a red light in case I needed to see anything in particular. We started out and he was fried. I mean really fried. I’d ask him to trot, he pick it up for a 100 feet & quit. He still felt really solid under me, but mentally he was done. He was doing his slow walk of death. His pulse was still good, so I knew he was OK physically. Sarah tried to get her horse to lead, but he stopped dead in his tracks, laid his ears flat back & threw his head. No luck there. I was seriously contemplating turning around and calling it a day. Seriously. Then after a couple miles of jog/walk we could hear a group of 4 riders coming up behind us – they’d been 5 – 10 minutes behind us all day. I told Sarah that we better stick to them like glue otherwise we’d be out here until midnight. She agreed. I was so glad we did decide to stick with them. Their horses were experienced 100 milers and were still willing to trot along where we could. It was so dark that we couldn’t see the horse in front of us. Only one of the 4 from the other group had any glow sticks on so Sarah & I worried that we’d run into someone and had to depend on our horses to slow down when the horse in front of them did. We just couldn’t see them. Pretty scary actually. We stopped a few times for grass, but since it was so dark we couldn’t see where the grass was. We ended up depending on the horses to stop to get grass, apparently they could smell it, because we sure couldn’t see it. Nickle by this time was famished. He was trying to drag me off into ditches to grab at weeds. I felt really bad since I just didn’t dare let him crawl into a ditch off the side of a dirt road. I was afraid we’d sink out of sight. I just couldn’t risk him hurting himself at this point. In retrospect I should have had my Mom give him something to eat at the pit crew spot, but I just wasn’t thinking clearly. I forgot to ask for a drink or something to eat for myself too. Not a good move. When we were walking I could feel he felt off on his RF, but when we trotted he felt even. I knew his shoulders must be sore, but did still feel solid under me. We averaged 4.9 mph on this loop. By the time we got in at 10:47 I was fried, could barely think clearly. We pulled his tack and started dumping buckets of water on him. I grabbed a handheld & believe it or not his pulse was in the high 50’s. I literally held my breath while Nick did the completion exam. He can be very cagy when he wants to be. He was standing there busily writing on my rider card, not looking at me. I was fearing the worst, no one else was saying anything either, the silence was deafening. He looked up at me with a serious face, then, slowly, a smile spread across his face and he said, “Congratulations.” I immediately grabbed him and hugged him, said, thank God and everyone cheered. Sarah got her completion too, as did the other 4 in our little band of 100 milers.

His CRI was a 56/56 and finished with half A’s and half B’s, overall impression of B+.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Maumee Valley Endurance Ride, 2011 - Janice Taylor

MaumeeValleyRide.blogspot.com - Full Story

Last year we had just awful weather for our first Maumee Valley PI ride, so we were certainly hoping for better this year. Because of the down turn in the economy we shorted it to a two day ride this year so as to cut some expenses. Still, we didn’t have as good of a turn out as we hoped, but we sure did have a good time by all that did make it to the ride. The Daniel Boone Distance Riders put on this ride, and it is a mandatory ride for members to work one day so as to qualify for our year end, 300 mile award. Therefore, we have lots of workers to make things go smoothly for the riders. No waiting for anything!

DBDR have team competition too, so we end up taking turns working as teams, and riding as teams, so as to gather as many points as possible. It is all in fun, but also competitive!

First days ride, weather was great. A little muggy, but the trails were shady and lots of running water in the creeks for the horses to drink and sponge from. The trails here are just beautiful. We had a controlled start up the worst section of the whole trail, then off we went. I was riding along with the front group, when Connie Caudill (one of the trail markers) started noticing that ribbons had been pulled down…a lot of ribbons! Yikes! It is really hard to understand why people take delight in sabotaging our trails… Connie is really good at marking trails well enough so that even if you are flying, you cannot miss a turn… But, alas, these saboteurs were a dedicated bunch and lots of turn markers and ribbon were either stomped in the ground, or gone completely. So, Connie and Bill Wilson, another trail marker started tearing off the ends of ribbon that was up, to remark as we went along. So it was trot, canter, stop, trot, canter, stop for several miles until the trail picked up again. I was sticking with the trail markers for sure… I HATE getting lost. And so were my granddaughter, Paige, and her sponsor Vickie Crance. They usually go a bit slower, since Paige’s horse has just started his endurance career and had only one 50 under his belt. But he looked good and they too didn’t want to get lost in the maze of trails. Actually, there was quite a group of us, nine if I remember right. But what about the other riders who had dropped back? There were fifteen I believe in the 50, and about 12 or so in the 25 miler. At least there was a very good map with numbered trail markers. So hopefully, everyone had one handy.

When we got back to camp, my GPS clicked over to 18 miles. Very accurate mile calculation on trail manager’s part! The Vet Check went smoothly, (lots of workers :-)) and there was a wonderful cool breeze right there. How nice of Mother Nature. Paige and Vickie had dropped back a bit when the trail looked like it hadn’t been touched by the bandits, but came in shortly after us. All looking good, Yeah!...

Read more here:

My new Morgan masters Maumee Valley! - Charles Coleman

June 19 2011

I like to give a big thank you to the Daniel Boone Distance Riders for putting on such a nice very well run ride even though Mother Nature has not been real cooperative. The campground is great we had hook-ups, showers, picket lines already strung and the most greatest thing of all hose hook-ups! Hoses are a Morgans friend. For all this we pay a very reasonable fee (cheap actually). The campground also sold ice another yep very Morgan friendly. This is the 2nd year the ride was held we supported it again but turnout was poor both years so not sure DBDR will be willing to lose money and try for a third. But if they do I highly recommend it.

The best way to convince Charles to take me and my girlfriend also named Mary to a ride is to go visiting along the way. Kentucky was not exactly that but it was a good excuse to see my sisters farm and visit with her and her husband. Charles thinks I should be more family oriented so Tuesday night we headed southwest. My sister events so she has paddocks to put horses in and they could rest overnight than we head to the ride Thursday which would only be three hours from her farm. In tow was Hawks replacement (probably the 12th one by now) named Justice and Possum Marys 3/4 Arabian whom our goal this year is to finish out his ECTRA 1,000 miles. I had forewarned my sister that Justice like Hawk can not be turned out with other horses including one he spent 10 hours with in the back of a trailer. In that respect he is like Hawk. We arrived 6 a.m. Wednesday put the horses in seperate paddocks. When you pull an all nighter like that it is just best to stay up and give up on that lost sleep.

This was Justices first long trailer trip and his fourth ride in four different states but the others were not 10 hours away. He handled everything fine thus far. But Justice has 2 issues(other than the turn out alone thing) one is he will not back out of the slant load trailer so he goes in first and turns around the other is he balks. This one has been the big issue by balking I mean not moving forward when you mount in fact I have seen the rafters in my barn one too many times. I think this trip proved this issue finally got fixed. I had been getting on him every day even if we just rode 50 yards but I never use my legs and ask him to move I just sit there and let him go when he wants go figure! We did go for a short ride to see how Justice would do and he was fine new places and starts of rides have not been pretty on him.

Onto the ride game plan 25/25 for both horses Possum for the miles Justice for the mind. At the briefing maps were limited but were handed out if you wanted them and I could read a map just fine when I had good eyes but alas the eyes along with numerous other body parts are fading fast. Since Marys are not any better than mine and since the trail was marked to death last year we did not bother to take a map. Mistake number one. It is warming up rapidly so the start times were moved up to 6 and 6:10 for the LDs. We left on the 16+ yellow loop (50s did blue first) in a control start Justice was an angel. Got to the gravel road suppose to be a mile of it but it went on and on forgot to pad Possum mistake number 2 than the whole herd came galloping back realizing the trail had been sabotaged. Luckily while the main bunch kept on running another rider(younger with good eyes) had her map and she saw where the turn was missed ribbons were on the ground. The turn was the only part of that trail down but we had lost time and now had to hustle since we had a 50 minute hold and another 10 mile loop. Might I mention that it was hot and humid and Justice is full Morgan and bigger than Hawk. I was not worrying to much cause I had a hose. Mistake number 3 I should have worried more. It always helps right?

Anyhow we got in even with the hose it took 24 minutes to reach 60 (see I told you I should have worried more). Justice had all As but Possum was being called stiff right front so yet another worry. Management shortened the 10 mile loop it had some issues but we got around just fine. Justice cooled down better after this loop cause now we were walking the gravel road worrying about Possum whom was now Grade 2 at the finish right front. Justice was all As day one done.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fort Howes - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing Blog

Thursday, 16 June 2011
We left for Ft Howes on Monday morning at 5 am. The four horses we took were Stirgess, Turbo, Bey and Kutt. Bey was a late edition as Tevis was postponed and Bey was primed for a 100 mile attempt.

We drove about 20 mins before we lost a trailer tire. Damn! Any how we were able to get that changed pretty quickly but our spare , the one that came with the trailer, looked a bit haggard. We decided to drive until we would be in an area around the time of morning that businesses open and then find a tire place. We found a Les Schwab near Elk Grove. It was just our luck that there was a Starbucks in the parking lot next door. We hung out and were on the road in no time.

The rest of our drive was uneventful to Wells NV where we unloaded the horses into a large arena. The trailer lights decided to not work all of the sudden so Jeremy got on his bike and rode to a gas station to get some fuses. After inspecting it Jeremy found the spot that was shorting out and fixed it and replaced the fuse. We then tried to take a little nap. Jeremy's last words before laying his head on his pillow were,"If I can't fall asleep in an hour we are going to start driving again."

I had almost fallen asleep when Jeremy announced he could not sleep and we were leaving. It had been 20 mins!!! Crazy crack-head driver. I fell asleep shortly after we started driving. It was raining really hard. A couple of times we had to pull over to mess with the trailer lights, Jeremy was able to make them work and away we would go.

I woke up around 5 am, we were in Idaho somewhere. Jeremy handed me a coffee and told me to start waking up as he was "done". I woke up and started my driving about an hour later. Jeremy hit the hay and I drove for the next 4 hours.

Sometime around 2 pm we made it to Ft Howes. Hurrayy!! It was already better than last year as we left home with 4 horses and arrived at the ride with 4 horses.

There were a few rigs already there. We parked next to Valerie and set up camp. The horses all looked fine. Later we went for a walking ride...

Read more here:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Eenie, meenie, miney mo! - Patti Stedman

Life Lessons from an Unlikely Endurance Rider Blog

June 15 2011

Let me preface this blog post by saying that I realize how wildly blessed I am to be faced with this dilemma!

It’s ten days out from the Pine Tree 100 endurance ride in North Waterford, Maine, and I am working hard at NOT trying to speculate as to which two of the three horses Rachel and I should take to ride.

I’m open for votes, but have decided that I will not make the final call (thank you, Tom Hutchinson, Ride Manager, for being kind and patient about horse changes) until this Saturday or until I can compare all three boys on equal footing, literally.

Here’s the details:

Ned, 17 this year, and a veteran of 7 100 mile rides, has come back into fitness like the slow, steady gifted athlete that he’s proven himself to be over 12 seasons of competition. He has blessed us with scattered moments of overt enthusisam, and has also shown Rachel, for the first time really, Pouty Ned. One must always tread lightly on Ned’s attitude and sizeable ego, and Rachel has a unique gift for cajoling the big boy into otherwise unexpected cheerfulness. I tease her that it’s because she’s a tiny little sprite of a person (comparatively, anyway — when I climb on Ned these days he looks back and says “one at a time please”) but I think it is more her appreciation for his cranky quirkiness and gruff exterior which indeed houses a generous and kind soul.

That said, Ned does not really owe me any more 100s in the heat...

Read more here:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Old Dominion - Nancy Sluys

June 13 2011

Whew, I have just returned from an epic weekend at the Old Dominion 100 mile Endurance Ride in Virginia! I went there with my 7 year old, Zanie, to do the 55 but once I was there I decided at the last minute to bump up to the 100! I’m not sure what came over me but I just couldn't bear the thought that I would be missing the best part of the trail and really the “Old Dominion” IS the 100 mile ride. Zanie had finished the Biltmore 75 mile ride easily 5 weeks earlier and a slow NATRC ride 2 weeks later where she had a perfect vet score and had been resting for 3 weeks since then. I felt like the time could be right for our 1st 100.

I came by myself and had no crew, I contemplated riding in the cavalry division but being Zanie's 1st 100 and not knowing what all she would need I decided to send my crew bags to the vet checks instead, as management had offered to take a separate bag to each vet check if you would pile it in a certain location. In hindsight I should have ridden cavalry (where I would have all my stuff with me on my saddle) as there was a mix up with my bags and I ended up with no supplies for most of the ride :-(.

The weather preceding the ride was extremely hot, it was 99 degrees on the trailer ride up there but on race day the temps were a little better with the high expected to me in the mid to high 80s. A big storm the night before had cooled things off a bit but did play with the humidity. We got started in the dark and by the time we reached the first peak the sun was just coming up offering spectacular views of the sunrise over the Shenandoah valley and foothills to the right and the peaks on the WV border to the left. It was pleasantly cool as we made our way to the first vet check at Bird Haven around 17 miles into the ride. When I arrived I found all my crew bags had been delivered there. Being a bit nervous about that I went ahead and sent the 3rd vet check bag with a friends crew just in case.

By the time we made it to the second check at Laurel Run we had already had a number of fierce ascents and the temperatures were climbing as well as the humidity. I was using Easyboot glue ons and had been having great luck with that at other rides but had lost 1 of them on the way to this vet check. I replaced it with an Easyboot Glove that I had in my saddle bag. I now had no replacements if I lost another but miraculously there was a lady there who was an Easycare dealer and had a whole truck full of boots who would sell me one, what good fortune!! Laurel Run was a “no Crew” check and they had hay and grain there for the horses but I did notice that my vet bag had not been delivered there but I still had one dose of electrolytes that would get me to the next check. It wasn’t a big issue then but we would be returning to this same location in the middle of the night and I was hoping that my bag would make it there.

We left Laurel Run and began a long climb up a gravel road in the heat of the day. I had been riding primarily by myself all morning but I was now hooked up with Karen Bell on her horse Sammy. We took it easy walking most of it and when we got to the top where we entered a single track trail. Karen’s friends Shannon and her daughter Morgan had caught up to us and we headed down the narrow trail single file. By now it started raining and everyone took this as a blessing as it cooled the horses off immensely and us to! The weird thing was that it was the exact spot in the trail where it started raining on my 1st OD in 2008, the only difference was that time is was a 3 inch downpour and this was a pleasant light to medium rain. This part of the trail is absolutely beautiful with profusely blooming laurels on either side of the trail. Sometimes they were so lush that it seemed like you were traveling through a flowery tunnel! The going was slow at first but after a while there were places to move out a bit, you just had to play the terrain. We made into the Buck Tail Vet Check and I looked around for Robby Doll who had my vet bag that I had sent. I was really glad to see it as it had my people food in it, I couldn’t eat the sandwiches at the last check because I am allergic to wheat and I was getting pretty hungry. Buck Tail was our long hold at one hour and I was glad for the chance to relax a bit. I went ahead and sent the remainder of my crew bag stuff with Robby in case I needed it later and we went on our way.

The next section of trail went pretty fast comparatively as it was a wide sweeping grassy forest service road that you could really move out on well. I was still with Karen and company and we saw several other riders on the trail as well. By now we were well past the 50 mile mark and Zanie was getting hungry. We grazed a little and she also got really good at snatching grass as we were walking and sometimes even at the trot! The Waites Run Check was just a stop and go so as soon as we pulsed down I let Zanie eat some grain that was provided and we continued on our way. The Waites Run Check was at the farthest point on the big loop and as we left the trail made the turn towards camp (40 miles away!) I could feel Zanie’s energy pick up as she trotted down the mountain, in fact she was on a mission. I discovered on this ride that she is very good at downhill trotting and it seemed easy for her. We passed several riders and she just kept on going over rocks and everything, it felt like she was just floating over all that bad footing. Down and down we went eventually passing another group of riders one of who was Diane Doll who came along with us. When we hit another gravel road I had my “why did I just do that” moment. We stopped at the side of the road to graze when Zanie suddenly snorted and started shaking her head. I thought she had sucked up a bee or something but then she humped up like she was going to buck. Diane, who was watching all this, called for me to get off my horse, which I did. She humped up then buckled and tried to roll. We were both scared that something was really wrong with her. I walked her for a few minutes and she seemed to calm down but when I tried to get back on she started to go down again. At this point Diane took off to the vet check, which was about 2 or 3 miles away, to notify them that there may be something wrong with my horse. In the mean time I tried to figure out what was going on, her eye didn’t look especially bad and she wasn’t sucked or cramped up or anything but she was clearly uncomfortable in some way. Her neck felt pretty hot so I thought maybe she had become overheated coming down that mountain fast so I stopped and sponged her with water in the ditch next to the road. That seemed to do the trick and she started to calm down. I was pretty nervous but we continued on foot. She drank from the water and ate grass voraciously and seemed to come back to normal so I eventually mounted up again and continued down the road and she acted like nothing had happened. About this time one of the vets came driving up in a truck to check on me but Zanie was fine. We walked and slow trotted into the Big 92 Vet Check much to everyone’s relief!! She got all A’s on her vet card except that her back was sensitive. I was puzzled at that because she has never had a single back issue to date. I started to put some things together in my mind about the incident. Zanie is a horse who is always very itchy when she is exercising hard and she can be a head shaker at times which I’m still trying to figure out. I think she got overheated on the trip down the mountain and when we hit the gravel road it was the hottest, stillest part of the late afternoon and the blood rushed to her head and also her back due to friction of the downhill trotting. She just went crazy with itchiness and tried to roll. The sponging cooled her and stopped the tingly feeling. In hindsight I really should have not let her trot down that whole mountain but she felt so good! That, however, may have been my undoing. Why do we have these moments during rides that we think we can perform feats that we have not trained for? I should know better but I’ll put that in the live and learn department and hope I don’t make that mistake again.

Once I vetted through and she was fine I looked around hoping that my crew bag for that check had made it but alas it was not to be. At this point I just about lost it, I felt like I was working at such a disadvantage not having my supplies.

If I had only ridden cavalry I would have had what I needed with me. By now the bag I had sent out with Robby was depleted of feed and electrolytes and all my night time stuff was in the missing bag. I was starting to feel a bit weak and sick to my stomach from not having quite enough of the right food for me and I came really close to pulling at that point but Zanie had recovered so well from the incident and was looking like she could make it so I sucked it up and got back on my horse.

I had bummed some feed, electrolytes and a head lamp and had found an old energy bar I had stashed in my cantle pack for me plus a banana someone gave me and headed out for our return trip to Laurel Run 8 miles away mostly on gravel road. Pretty nervous still about Zanie’s condition we just walked and walked the gravel road. By this time everyone I had passed was well ahead of me and we were alone again. It was an incredibly beautiful evening with a 3/4 moon shining bright and the whip-o-wills calling loud as can be. I kept the head lamp off to conserve the batteries and had no problem seeing in the moonlight. At one point I became very sleepy as I had not slept well for days before the ride due to insomnia I’ve been having. I got off and walked on foot for about 2 miles and found myself with my eyes closed, napping while walking. I didn’t know I was so talented! This gave me some energy and I got back on and I felt bounce and purpose in Zanie’s step, she was getting stronger too.

After a while I noticed her flicking her ear back a few times and knew someone was catching up to us. It would be good to have some company for the final journey to camp. In a few minutes Jennifer Sapira and Linda (oops I forgot her last name) joined us. The coolest thing was that they were our team members (OD had a team competition ) and we had not seen them all day. Our 4th team member was a woman named Juliette who was riding Cavalry and was behind us somewhere. At that point we were all still in the game.

With renewed energy we made our way to Laurel Run for the second time. The pickings were meager for me and Zanie as others were running low on supplies as well but there was good grass there and we took advantage of that. I knew

my pile of vet bags were all (hopefully) at the 1st and our last vet check so if I could just make it to there I would have some things to help me out. Someone did give me a half a dose of Lyte Now to help us make the tough 13 miles to the last vet check at Bird Haven. Jennifer, Linda and I traveled together and kept each other company, I even sang them the song I wrote called “the 100 Mile Ride”. This part of the trail was really slow as it was mostly single track through rocks and now we had mud to contend with since the rain. We trotted every step we could but that was only a few at a time between lots of walking. Our minds started playing with us and we wondered if we would make the cut off time. Suddenly we came up a little hill and it looked like a landing strip in front of us as we came on the Bird Haven Vet Check. There were lines of light sticks showing the way in and out and big portable lights for the vet area. A surreal sight after miles in the dark with shadows dancing!

I vetted Zanie through as soon as we arrived and once again all A’s except for her back which had gotten no worse but no better either. Cat Carter had come out after the 55 to help the 100 milers and I was so glad to see her! She held Zanie while I looked for my bags. The place looked so different in the dark and I got pretty disoriented but finally I located them and found some feed for Zanie and a bunch of stuff for me. My shirt was wet and I had been wearing my rain coat to keep warm as it had become chilly but it was damp too so I was catching a chill. I was able to change into a wonderfully dry long sleeve shirt and it felt like heaven. I replaced the head lamp I had borrowed which was now dead and downed some yogurt and energy drink and a swig of green tea and I was revved and ready for the last 6 miles. Our team forged ahead into the night.

Six miles, “piece of cake” you say. That was the hardest, longest, muddiest, rockiest, darkest six miles you will ever travel! On and on we went trying to make headway. At one point we hoped we would make it in on time but once again that was just our minds playing around again. We came into a clearing with a big radio tower or something and we knew we were close. We started sniffing around for that turkey crap odor that would signal our return to the road to camp. Sure enough, we caught the whiff and before we knew it we dropped down onto the gravel road. Our horses picked up a strong trot as they knew where they were too. A half a mile and we see the lights of the finish line. A small but hearty group of folks were there to welcome us home! We did it, the Old Dominion 100 Mile One Day Ride with 45 minutes

to spare! I went right over to vet out and Zanie looked really great, bright eyed and animated. She got a completion

and I have another 100 mile horse!

As we walked back to our trailer I heard the remaining riders cross the finish line with just a few minutes to spare but they had made it!

I learned a lot on this ride as I always do. One is that I need a lot less stuff than I think I do to make it through. Another which is one that I seem to have to learn over and over from time to time is ride like you train, if something seems like too much it probably is. You may get away with it but why take the risk? At the pace I had been going which was sensible and steady I would have finished several hours earlier than I did but by hurrying down that mountain I lost all that time and more trying to recover and finish safely. I also learned that I have an incredible horse that takes very good care of herself, is efficient and can trot down mountains (I’ll add that to my training!) and looks better at the end of 100 miles than when she started! I think I have something here!

Happy trails, Nancy Sluys and FYF InZane “Zanie”

Camp R U Crazy - Katrina Mosshammer

June 13 2011

Not the OD, but it was hot, humid, hilly and rocky...

I took Gobbie on his second 50 miler this w/end at Camp R U Crazy in Okla. I knew this was going to a different experience for him since we were starting a 4 am. It dawned on me last w/end that we had never taken him out in the dark before so we took him out for a 10 mile loop. We put glowsticks on the other horse and both of us rode in headlamps and took turns with him in front with a light behind and then in back and then had the other horse go ahead of us and then come back at us with the lights. He handled it all very well. Only balked when the lights hit the reflective trail signs the first time. So I was feeling more confident about doing this 50 on him.

Mom went down with the horses and the trailer fri morn and I was going to come over when I got off work. I got to camp at about 9:30 pm and pretty much everyone was asleep. Mom tried to tell me what she could remember of the ride meeting, which was basically this: “The first loop is 25 miles, it will be glowsticks and pie plates for about the first 20 miles then orange paint on the ground. And actually it is all orange color paint but there will signs telling you where to split off for loops two and three.”

So I crawled in bed, after getting the animals squared away for the night, at about 10:45. Camp was set right next a beautiful, rock-bottom creek with a wonderful swimming hole. Well it appears that it is the favorite swimming spot for the locals too. There were teenagers swimming and partying in the creek until almost 1:00 am. So I didn’t fall asleep until a little after 1 and the alarm was set to go off at 2:30. Mom got up at 2:30 and told me she would take the dogs out and feed the horses so I could try to snooze for a few more mins. I got up at 3 and got dressed and saddled. At about a quarter til 4 all 8 of us riders were gathered and ready to start.

We went out at the back with a fellow back-of-the-packer, Deanna, and we soon let the others pull out of sight. We were both riding with headlights and our boys were getting along together. Deanna went in front when we left the main road onto a two-track and we were going along thru lots of rocks and some ups and downs, when all of sudden I felt Gobbie “trip”, which was an all too familiar-feeling trip when the back foot rips a front shoe off. I asked Deanna to look and see if she could tell of he lost the shoe but she couldn’t tell. So I hopped off and sure enough, front left shoe was gone. I had the same problem on a ride with my mare in March when she pulled her right front 4 miles into the 50. Well I guess Gobbie felt the need to out-do her because he managed to do it at about 2.5 miles into the ride.

Mom had told me she was sending the e-boots out with Deanna’s crew and she said he was going meet us the first time around 3.5-4 miles. She went on ahead and was going to tell Bill that I was walking that way leading the horse. Gobbie wasn’t happy to see everyone leave him alone in the dark and was dragging me down the road. I had walked about 3/4 of a mile when I saw Bills headlights come over the hill to bring me the boot. We got the boot on and headed down the trail with not very much time lost.

Gobbie was moving out ok in the boot and I kept checking every couple of mins to make sure it was still there and soon I saw the faint glow of Deanna’s headlight, so I had actually gained back some of the time I had lost. Then we got close enough that he realized it was another horse and he started charging to catch up. Sure enough I felt him fling the boot and got him stopped, all the while he was screaming his head off for the other horse. I walked back about 20 yds and found the boot, re-taped the foot, put the boot back on and mounted back up, a process which was repeated several times that day. I knew that I was going to have to keep him alone all day or he was just going to keep pulling the boot if he saw another horse and tried to keep up. So I went ahead sacrificed the cool of the dark, and walked him long enough to get a big gap between us and Deanna. By then it was almost dawn and we started getting into some rough trail. I was kind of glad that we had slowed down as this would have made me nervous traveling at speed in the dark. Finally got back on good trails and we moved out again. Went a few miles and there went the boot again. We met Bill again at about 19 miles, but at some point I must have hit the stop button on my gps and then started it again because I was thinking I was only 16.5 miles out. Bill offered me the smaller size boot but it was too small. I told him that I thought we would probably be done any way because we lost so much time. He said “No, you’ve got plenty of time. You’ve only got about 6 miles left and you are only 15 mins behind Deanna.” So we set off trying to make as much time as possible with out losing the boot. Got about a mile and a half from camp and he pulled it off again, this time scraping some good chunks out of the wall of the hoof. I just slipped the boot on without taping it (as I had used up all of the vet wrap in the previous re-booting) and led him into camp.

Came into camp and mom rushed to cool him off and I said don’t worry, he hasn’t really worked much yet. Sure enough straight As and his CRI was 40/40. Vet said “looks like he will survive ;-)”

Loop 2 was just a smaller loop inside of the big loop with common trail going out and coming into camp (as was loop 3 inside of loop 2). Met the photographer out on the trail and he told me what the loop lengths were for the last two loops, which I didn’t even know. Started getting hot this loop and we both started dragging a little but my goal was to make it back by 2 pm at the latest since the last loop was 6 miles and there was a 45 min hold. We lost the boot 2 times on this loop but me managed to make it back to camp at about 1:30. It was now the heat of the day and he was definitely feeling the effects of the heat.

So we left on the last loop with about an hour and 20 mins to do it. Gobbie has a wonderful 6 mph jog the I can sit and we would walk a little and then I’d ask for his jog and he do it for a while and then drop back to a walk. We had only covered about 1.6 miles in the first 30 mins and I knew we we going to have to pick it up a little bit or we would run out of time. He lost the boot again and as I was putting it back on a friend who had just came down for the day to pleasure ride came riding up. She had intended to ride the loop backwards but had taken a wrong turn and was riding it in the forward direction. I told her to go on ahead so I could keep him alone and I knew she would be moving a lot faster than us. So, much to Gobbie’s dismay, we watched them lope off down the trail. I held him back long enough that we wouldn’t catch her and that he wouldn’t be charging to try to catch up. We made little time until he realized they were gone and the settled back into our little walk/jog routine. We met mom at the finish line with about 15 mins to spare. We put the saddle in the truck and led him in the mile to camp and he was 48 at his final pulse. I was a long, hot day but we endured, and got turtle to boot. Now he is 2 for 2 on his 50 milers. :-)

Katrina Mosshammer (AERC # 5763)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Wyoming Pioneer - My First 50 - Karen in MT

May 31 2011

Loop 1, 25 miles: Last year at Fort Howes I had tried starting the ride late to keep Rosie calm, but didn’t fool her – she still knew everyone was out there ahead of her and we had a rough start. So for the Wyoming Pioneer, since there were only 5 or 6 riders in the 50, I decided to try starting with the pack. We had a controlled walking start, but Rosie was already gearing up. One rider who was going to ride slow had offered to ride along with me, so I tried riding behind her for a while but Rosie was a fire-breathing dragon. Here we are at the back of the pack...

Looks fine until you see how much sweat was on her in the close-up pictures – this was within the first three or so miles! I was not wearing gloves at this point and ended up with a few cuts and blisters from pulling on my braided leather reins:...

Rosie was not happy as the 25-milers, who had started a little behind us, went by.

Riding this ball of energy was hard work AND fun...

More, with photos: