Friday, April 08, 2016

Tevis: This is What Stitches Me into the Fabric of the World, by Hilary Haynie

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by Hillary Haynie
April 7 2016

It was 5 a.m., August 1st, 2015. 200 horses and their riders stood in the quiet darkness of the Tahoe National Forest. The adrenaline kicking in, and the butterflies stirring in my stomach, were settled by the calmness of my partner “Karl.” Only 100 miles of the world’s toughest terrain in front of us and a year of training behind. This was the moment. “Let’s do this!” I said.

200 horse and rider teams took off down a winding and treacherous trail, and the dust became so thick that even my bandana did not keep it out of my mouth. The first 13 miles of climbing straight up Squaw to Watson Monument, meant that the year of physical training for myself and my horse was about to be tested. The sound of steel against hard rocks, and the motion of a large and obedient steed under my saddle, rocked me into a peaceful lullaby state.

We reached the top of our first huge climb at almost 12,000 feet. As I took a firmer hold of my reins, I looked back over my shoulder to see our accomplishment of the last 13 miles. Clouds were gathering and the sun poked tiny holes in the sky, magnifying the beauty of the landscape. The terrain was rugged and isolated, but I felt the presence of God in that moment. The moment I realized I was taking a once wild and free animal, strapping leather to its back, and asking him to travel 100 miles over rocks and through streams and down canyons. He was more than willing...

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