Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vermont 100- Nancy & Zanie's ride!

july 25 2012

We got home last night from the Vermont 100 and I am just starting to reflect on the fabulous experience it was!! Zanie and I have had bad luck this year even getting to the start line of a 100 miler! At Biltmore she had a freakout at the trailer right before the start when her buddies suddenly left and was off after bruising her shoulder on the trailer, Then I was too sick with a sinus infection to do the Old Dominion so when I got bucked off my young horse just 2 weeks before the Vermont 100 bruising/cracking my ribs and hurting my shoulder I thought I was done for this one too. We were going to make the trip anyway just in case I could recover, also my sister lives in northern Vermont and we were going to pay her a visit for a few days before the ride anyway. 

Well the power of positive thinking won out and with lots of arnica, Alieve and my bionic Enell bra to support my ribs I made it to the start of the Vermont 100!!! How far I was going to get was anybody's guess. I had a fabulous crew to help me out which consisted of my husband, Bill, sister Betsy, niece Lisa, friend Lisa and her sister Karen. It was a real family affair!! After having no crew for most of my 100s it was so nice to just hand the horse over and plop my butt in a chair!!!

Well you know how it goes, as soon as we get on our horses all ailments miraculously disappear! At least while riding! I actually felt pretty good so I was optimistic that we had a chance. 

Actually I almost didn't get to start as the vet thought he saw something at vet in in Zanie's rear end and I had to represent later. Thinking that it was probably some stiffness from the trailer ride I massaged her and warmed her up better and she thankfully passed but is was niggling at my brain which made my stomach upset. Argh! Not what I needed the night before the ride!

Zanie started the ride feeling great and I soon stopped worrying about her soundness and started really enjoying the ride! The "trail" took us through downtown Woodstock and people were on the street corner cheering on the riders and runners! We got in with some horses at first that were too fast paced for my liking and Zanie was a little hyped up at the first 2 vet holds causing her to have a B on gut sounds and a CRI that was 2 points higher(very unlike her!). I realized that I had to disconnect and get her to start taking care of herself! We came into a pit crew stop by the side of the road (not a hold) and I chose to stay there until she calmed down and started eating well. There was good grass and soon she settled and ate a good meal and drank a bunch of water. After about 15-20 minutes we continued on at a more relaxed pace and really started to have some fun!. I had my camera and took tons of pictures and video clips (soon to be on Youtube). The runners were amazing and many times we came on their aid stations with the roads lined with their crews and spectators, it was like running a gauntlet of well wishers! "Good job!" was the main compliment/encouragement statement of the day! I was decked out in purple as usual and after a couple of these aid stations people started to recognize us and cheer us on even harder! Many times we would pass the same runner over and again as we would overtake them then have to stop for a vet hold only to overtake them further down the trail. The runners are not required to stop. A camaraderie developed between the riders and runners that intensified throughout the ride. 

The weather could not have been more perfect, the high was 82 with low humidity. After we got by ourselves Zanie started to get into her zone and by the time we got to hold #3  she vetted in with all As and stayed that way for the rest of the ride! The vets were surprised and pleased with her recovery and complimented my care of her and the decisions I had made.

We past through the most beautiful Vermont countryside, crossed a covered bridge, climbed the "Sound Of Music" hill, rode through private farms, it was just awesome!! People would put water tubs out in their yard and on several occasions would actually be there hosing off horses and runners! There were many times we passed runners aid stations and were handed watermelon or carrots for the horses, you could not go hungry on this ride! 

After a while I connected with several other riders whose pace was similar to ours and we enjoyed the company into the night until I missed a turn while they were getting some water and I lost them for the rest of the night. I only went a little ways out of the way before I realized my mistake and soon got right. The night riding was beautiful but with no light at all from the sliver moon I relied on my headlamp for navigation. Soon I started to hear the music from the finish line party and knew we were nearing the end. We rounded the curve and into the finish line to cheers form the large crowd and I realized that we had done it!! Zanie looked great at the final vet out having all As once again and an energetic trot and really was fit to continue!!

There is so much I could write about this ride and this is but a summary. Some day I will write more details but in this format you at least get the idea!!
To finish is to win!!!

Nancy Sluys

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