Friday, December 19, 2014

How to avoid getting lost: from the rider's perspective - Endurance Granny

Endurancegranny Blog - Full Story

December 19 2014
by Endurance Granny

Boy oh I wish I had all the answers to that one! Other than something happening to my horse my #1 fear at a ride especially at a longer ride (50 mile) is getting lost. Talk about the ruination of an otherwise great day! There have been two instances where I got lost and it cost me my ride. After spending months of preparation for both of those rides on different horses it was a terrible let down.

The first time I got lost I had decided to start with the pack to try and position my horse nearer the front of the pack to try and get an alone bubble to ride in "somewhere in the middle" as the ride progressed. This was on Phebes, and we had managed to finish 7th on our previous ride with good vet scores, so I figured if I could position myself in the middle we'd have some sort of a shot at 10th-? depending on how the day went. Well----it didn't go too well. Putting her near the front at the start got her all worked up, and me focusing on control, and soon finding ourselves IN FRONT within a quarter mile of starting and me still trying to get some kind of reasonable control of her at a canter we blew right past the blue ribbon (at first light of the morning I can't seem to see blue) and we were off...following ribbons, blue ribbons, in THE WRONG DIRECTION. At this point in our education I was not aware the ribbons should always be on my right (except at a turn) and I wasn't the only one...another rider was hot on my heels and we trucked right on seven miles THE WRONG DIRECTION until we met up with the pack head on coming THE RIGHT DIRECTION. That was embarrassing, humiliating, and a big old learning lesson right there. Phebes by that point had herself so worked up that I was worried she'd have a metabolic issue, so I rode back to camp and took a rider option as I could not see her finishing the ride with a do over as torqued up and sweated out as she was. It was kind of a hard lesson, but I learned it. Phebes wasn't ready for middle pack, especially not be starting in the front group. Race brain took over and the day ended badly with getting lost, which was probably in our favor...chasing the front all day would have been bad.

Now how could I have avoided all that? I could have let all the front runners leave, wait for some of the mid-pack riders to leave, looked at my watch and let about four minutes pass and walk on out to the trail and start. Things would not have been so excitable and my chances of missing the first turn would have been low. I'd still most likely have finished back of the pack, but I WOULD HAVE FINISHED...

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Like A Phoenix Rising, Lincoln Trail 2014 - Full Story

Posted on December 17, 2014 by Keith Kibler

SOMETIMES LIFE DEMANDS that you refocus.
My wife Sandy and I love the sport of endurance riding. We train and compete gaited horses, and endurance has been an
important part of our empty nest years. We both compete mainly at the 50-mile distance but she does some LDs and I compete in some 100s. Sandy has a long list of autoimmune disorders that would leave most grandmas at home in the recliner.

In September of 2013, I came into a vet check in a 100 and she was sitting in a chair with a bloody rag on her head. She had fallen and hit her head while walking her Missouri Fox Trotter, Samba, who had been pulled with a lameness issue.
A couple of months later, we found out that Samba had EPM. It became so bad that you could push on the horse’s hip and it would almost knock her down. Samba had also lost hundreds of pounds and no amount of feed and hay would put weight back on her.

Sandy fell again a month later on a bluff overlook in the Shawnee National Forest. After that, she was diagnosed with an ultrarare autoimmune disorder called Stiff Limb Syndrome. She is one of 400 people in the
world with that diagnosis. She was put on once-monthly immunoglobulin IVs. We treated her horse and we treated her.
Cancer tends to run with this strange disorder and Sandy was found to have liver cancer too. Her medical team took out the cancer and part of her liver in February of this year. For a month she lived and slept in a recliner next to our bed. Sandy dreamed of getting outside and riding a horse again. I kept treating the horse and then training the horse with the help of friends.

In April, several of my friends and I put Sandy on the tailgate of a pickup truck and we helped her carefully onto a horse for the first time since that fall in October. She refused to give up, and neither did the rest of us...

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Enduring the Endurance Ride

Kyhorse Blog - Full Story

by Kyhorse

November 26, 2013 by kyhorse
That’s not me. We stopped for happy hour at the creeks. The winners kept going.

I just finished my first Endurance Ride.

A caveat about what follows: It may sound like I’m whining. I’m not. But I wanted to give you a true glimpse into what it’s like to start this very tough sport late in life, and still survive.

For those of you who don’t live in the horse world, or perhaps even for those who do, an Endurance Ride is 25, 50 or 100 miles long, and in a natural setting: pastures, woods, gravel trails, etc. Winners are determined by fastest ride times plus time for horse’s heart rate to pulse down to an acceptable level (usually 60-64 BPM)

Hint: I signed up for the 25 mile ride, the lowliest of the low. Something the “50-milers” scoff at. To 50-milers…. well, 25 miles is just a frolic in the park for a few hours. But I have no pride. 25 miles is PLENTY for me...

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

End of Season Notes - JayaMae Gregory - Full Story

December 5 2014

It is difficult to describe the feelings I am feeling right now. There are many who, looking in from the outside, did not see the effort, the trials, the tears, the doubts, and the great fear that I have experienced in the last few years. And there are many more who know little of my life before Asali, for before her, I was a girl searching for a direction, but constantly losing my way. JayaMae is not my given name, you know. It is a name I gave myself. It has great personal meaning and I adopted it at a time when I wanted to leave behind a very painful past and take on a metamorphosis. I shed my skin, picked myself up, and moved my family 500 miles away, to begin a new life. That is when, quite by accident, I found Asali. What I have discovered in the last few years since we have entered into a partnership and taken on a sport I never thought I would endure – endurance – is that I am the same girl, in the same brown skin, that I was years ago. The only difference is that I have found a strength within myself I did not know I had before. I have learned to believe in myself.

Endurance is a sport that stretches beyond just knowing how to ride. It requires a true partnership with an animal ten times your own size. It is a sport that challenges your very core — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Endurance taught me to overcome the elements of the backcountry, to learn to be alone and comfortable in silence, to trust my mount and to trust myself. It taught me to take things as they come, that the best fun in the sport is when, despite a fall or a runaway horse or getting lost on the trail, you can smile through it all and keep riding anyway. The rides we did not complete forced me to reevaluate my training, my riding ability, and my horse’s ability. It was each non-completion that taught me that change is okay. And it was in those failures that I was hit with something very valuable, in the name of humility. Every ride, even those that are successful, somehow humbles me, for it is more than my own talents that get us to the finish line...

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Thursday, December 04, 2014

2014 France WEG Recap - Heather Reynolds - Full Story

1 December 2014
by Heather Reynolds

So France was an adventure. After my 2 days of flying right after Tevis I was really walking like a crippled person. It took a couple of days to work the kinks out.

Jeremy had driven our two horses, Chanses and Gold Dust Rising to the USEF headquarters in New Jersey before the flight so they could be inspected one last time by the team vet. It was decided that both horses were ready for the trip and were a part of the traveling squad for Team USA.

Jeremy flew with the horses while I flew by myself from California to New York to France. I arrived in New York late at night but the next day I met up with Meg Sleeper and Ellen Olson, two of my teammates. We had a good time in the VIP lounge, a little too good of a time! We almost missed our flight, and we were there most of the day!

The flight was alright but we were all really disappointed that we had booked ourselves onto an over seas flight that didn't have personal entertainment. Darn. Lucky for me I was good and tired.

We landed in France and found my rental car that we all piled into. The drive to our house we were staying in was about 4 hours away. Good times. We stopped and had a coffee on the way.

We finally found our B&B and got the tour. It was super cute, with a country flair. We tried to then navigate to the stable as the horses would be arriving at o'dark 30. We wandered around for a long while and gave up and had pizza instead! (By the way our B&B was more of a bed than a breakfast we found out!)

Jeremy Reynolds, Jeremy Olson and Lynn Kennely arrived with the horses and got to the B&B late that night. It was good to see Jeremy and hear how the horses were doing.

The next couple of weeks were a slow blur of meetings, paddock watch, trot outs, riding, eating pastries at the bakery down the lane, staying out of the rain, starring at the horses, eating more pasteries, keeping dry, standing around, trying to find trail checkpoints, watching the local guy who we rented the stable from work his thoroughbreds, riding in the least muddy area possible, putting horses on the walker, cleaning stalls and eating pastries. We also ate pastries...

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