Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bad Luck in Fort St John - Chase Endurance

Horse-canada.com - Full Story

Chase Endurance | June 9, 2016

Once again I was hopping on a plane in order to get to a ride site. However, this time I was heading up north to Fort St John, BC wherein I was advised that the forest fires had died down and were not infringing upon the riding trails. The reason the fires had died down was because it snowing, and snowing, and… well you get the picture. I arrived to a complete white out. Luckily, I thought, I had reserved a 4×4 so I shouldn’t have any problems getting to the ride site. But when I asked the rental agent for my 4×4 I was told that all had been given away and the only vehicles left were minivans. The rental agent advised me as long as I stayed in town, I shouldn’t have any problems.

So I drove out of town after picking up the essentials at the local grocery store. It was still snowing. I drove about 60 km north while it was still snowing and came upon a handwritten sign that read “camp” with an arrow pointing to turn. I turned and it was a gravel road with a foot of snow on top. I drove about a mile and noticed about 50 tents in a field. I thought it was really unusual for ride camp to have so many tents and no horse trailers in sight so I kept driving, the snow was getting deeper and finally the van just stopped as it could not plow into the snow any further. I grabbed my phone to call the ride manager to see if someone could drive out and help clear a path so that I could drive further however, there was no cell service. I tried to back up but the van was just spinning out on the snow turning to ice and it was fishtailing closely to the ditch.

Of course, there were no shovels or even an ice scraper to help dig me out. I didn’t want to get my riding gloves wet, so I dug with my bare hands in the snow until I reached gravel behind each tire. During the digging, I remembered a conversation with my friend Elroy wherein he asked whether I wanted to join him to ride at Mount Adams in Washington. I told him “no” as I really wanted to get in more training at this 3 day endurance ride in Fort St John. I asked him why he doesn’t want to attend this ride. He told me that the weather was often unpredictable and it was such a long drive that he didn’t want to take the chance. Did I tell you that Elroy is a very smart and experienced endurance rider?...

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