Monday, November 18, 2019
My 2019 AERC National Championship 100 - Caroline De Bourbon
by Caroline De Bourbon
RTR Thunders Nusabre led us to a 3rd place victory at the 2019 AERC 100 Mile National Championships. Could not have asked for a better weekend with this amazing horse.
At 6:15am on Saturday, Sabre and I headed to the starting line, ready to take on the trails ahead. We headed out in the controlled start and before we knew it the trail was open! I found myself in about 20th place and quickly realized that if I wanted to place high then I would need to be competitive. Sabre picked up a lovely canter and squeezed us into the top 10 riders. We stayed with them heading into the first vet check at 17 miles.
Even though we came into VC 1 with many riders, we were able to leave 2nd due to Sabre's amazing ability to pulse down fast. We left VC 1 feeling great. Soon, Jeremy Reynolds and his horse Etta (Sabre's sister) caught us. I guess Sabre enjoyed seeing his big sis again so we continued on with Jeremy. I had ridden this part of the trail earlier in the year at the Laurel Mt duck ride so I knew where we were going. We came into Vet Check 2 (33 miles). Once again, Sabre pulsed down quickly and we were out of there in no time.
We continued up Rattlesnake Wash and down power line road into the 395 vet check (55 miles). We were held there for 30 minutes then we were back out on the trail in 3rd place. By this time I was riding with Jeremy and Alisija Zabavska. The horses flew into the hour hold at camp (65 miles).
My crew and I cooled Sabre down and immediately took him over to vet. He looked awesome on his trot out, gut sounds and everything else. However, the vet was a little concerned about his CRI. Sabre had been getting amazing CRIs all day so this through us all off a bit. The vet said that I should come back in 30 minutes to recheck him. We did another CRI a half an hour later and this time it was much better and back to normal. However, the vet said that It might be wise to see how he was feeling and if I needed to slow it down, slow it down. And I defiantly agreed.
We took off from camp following Jeremy and Alisija. Sabre felt like he had done 20 miles not 65. The hour rest definitely helped him. We began to climb up the mountain side with the sun beating down on us so Alisija I decided to take it a bit slower. We made it to the top and headed down the other side and caught up with Jeremy and all rode into the 395 south crossing. Etta seemed to be juiced so they pulled away. However, Sabre caught his second wind now that the sun had set so we cantered most of the way into the last vet check at 395 (90 miles) for a 20 minute hold.
As we were waiting to leave to head back to camp, the out timers told me that Sabre had a lot more gas in him and that he was ready to go. That boosted my confidence for the 10 mile ride home. Alisija left 1 minute after us and caught us soon after. We rode the rest of the way home together. We raced across the finish line and she beat us by a close few seconds. It didn't really matter to me as I was THRILLED by Sabre's performance on his 3rd ever 100! We walked in the last stretch with a huge smile on my face and a pep in Saber's step. I held my breath when we vetted through, crossing my fingers that we would get our completion. And yes, we did! A 3rd place completion! I was beyond amazed by this horse.
I spent most of the night getting up and walking Sabre around the fair grounds in preparation for the Best Condition showing in the morning. He seemed a little stiff the morning of but we decided to show anyway. Regardless if we got BC or not, I was extremely proud of this horse.
A huge thank you to the Ribely's for putting on a wonderful National Championships and all the volunteers and ride staff for helping out. A huge congratulations to all the riders as well as Jeremy Reynolds and Alisija Zabavska for getting 1st and 2nd! It was a honor to ride with both of them for most of the day. Thanks to Bill Whitlock for letting me ride your amazing new horse and trusting me with him. Thanks to my mom and Bill for crewing for me and brining me anything and everything I needed. Last but not least, the biggest thank you goes out to my amazing steed, Sabre. None of this would be possible without him. He gave me a wonderful Tevis this year and now an outstanding 100 mile National Championship. This was my first 100 by myself and he made it super easy. Love him with all my heart!
Thank you to everyone who made this happen and I can't wait to see what next season will bring!