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)