Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Big Horn 100 2022 - Kelly Stoneburner

July 26 2022

Our trip started with a lay over with Steve Hugus and Isabelle Farmer who helped us get much needed rest and fed us delicious food as we were still pretty worn out from Tevis. We got to see their wonderful horses including their adorable foals who Cassidy especially enjoyed scratching and loving on. Isabelle gave Cassidy some lessons on her very talented upper level Parelli horses and Cassidy soaked up her knowledge and teaching skills! 
We met Kay Ickes at base camp- she drove 14hrs to come crew and be a part of the ride! 
The ride started at 4am. Jesse and I decided we would make the most of the flat lands in the cool early morning and both mares felt calm and relaxed and navigated the trail in the dark with ease. We met our crew before heading up into the mountains and both horses were eager to get going. We took it easy over the next part as the climbing starts and doesn’t stop! The views on this section are not easily captured with words as this is arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth. Jesse did all of the steep up hills on foot to be sure to save Bonnie’s energy. 
Coming into the first vet check we started to worry that Bonnie wasn’t eating with her normal gusto. Jesse convinced me to go ahead and he would hand walk Bonnie the rest of the way. I didn’t like to leave them but the mares were being very independent and this allowed me to get Reckless vet checked then help with Bonnie when they arrived. Bonnie passed the vet check but Jesse felt like something wasn’t right so he rider optioned. This impresses me more than winning or finishing any ride- putting your horse first! He said that on their walk to the trailer Bonnie clearly started to feel better and started eating ravenously. We think she had a little tummy upset but thanks to Jesse taking care of her like he did she will have lots of rides ahead of her! 
One rider left the vet check well ahead of us but Reckless left on a mission to catch up. I loved getting to ride right by where Jesse and I exchanged wedding vows one year prior up on a bluff overlooking the trail. We caught up to Jennifer Kaplan and her amazing gelding and we ended up riding the rest of the day together becoming fast friends and being thankful we didn’t have to do the long lake loop and trek down the mountain solo. 
Our horses just felt great and ate up the miles as the day progressed. It was so fun to have crew at each check as Reckless is such a big girl she takes some extra work and ice to cool her down! I felt very spoiled and pretty confused when I was told to go sit down and eat something as my crew had it under control.
As we headed out on the third loop- the very long lake loop- I realized that Reckless was missing a hind shoe. She stood perfectly still while I booted that foot. I noticed her other hind shoe was twisted as I had started the ride with shoes that were a little old and she had sheared the nails right in half on both hinds. In true endurnace fashion all decisions have pros and cons. I had chosen to keep shoes that were a little older to let her have extra long feet which she greatly appreciated on all the rock never taking a questionable step all day but now I was paying the price as I only had one boot on the foot that lost the shoe and a shoe half falling off. Jennifer helped keep eyes on my situation planning to tell me when the shoe fell off so I could keep it and nail it back on at the next check- this was gonna be a long loop of worrying. Coming up a long climb to the road I saw our truck and crew!!! I could not have been more thankful. While Reckless ate and drank I nailed the twisted shoe back into place and we were headed down the trail in confidence with a tight shoe in just a few minutes! 
At the last vet check Reckless was so hungry she ate huge bites and enjoyed lots of attention before we headed off on the last loop with both horses looking strong and happy. We had been leap frogging with two other riders and were fully expecting to see them again and swore many times we saw headlights right behind us once the dark settled in. I have never seen a single mile of that loop in the daylight and it turns out it was actually quite beautiful. The horses were happy to get water at Trappers creek and then we saw our crew one last time who even had hot coffee for us! We headed to the finish ready to be done with that long last stretch working as a team to spot glow sticks and stay on trail. 
We crossed the finish line and decided to tie for first which felt so good as we really did ride the majority of the ride as a team. 
Much to my surprise Reckless won best condition- this was definitely because of the hard work of my mom, Cassidy, and Kay who took the absolutel best care of her all day- thank you! 
Reckless has quite the story which deserves a little mention. CJ Wise and Derek Wise trusted me with her four years ago when they ended up with her because she had failed as a dressage horse and terrified her previous owners. We immediately named her Reckless after the heroic Sgt. Reckless from the Korean War. Reckless proved to be a challenge- she was so sweet and willing but would be overtaken by moments of “psycho” where my biggest challenge was just keeping her feet on the ground as she would stand straight up or throw huge bucks that were no joke. Loving her new job as an endurnace horse she proved to be very athletic and capable except when it came to pulsing. She would get anxious and worked up at the vet checks and we got pulled several times for not pulsing down if there was too much going on around her. I almost gave up on her as an endurnace horse. Nick Kohut and William McCullough you two were instrumental at Ft. Howes and Spanish Peaks for your incredible patience and kind way with her and I believe that you both had a huge hand in her mentally figuring things out and helping her become a real endurnace horse. I can’t thank either of you enough. 
For anyone who has not attended the Big Horn it is truly one of the most amazing rides and you should come. This ride means so much to me and Jesse that we exchanged our wedding vows right off the trail.
This year was in memorial to Jeanette Tolman as she poured her heart and soul into this special ride during her lifetime. Her family did an amazing job and gave her a wonderful tribute by beautifully putting on this ride. I will be forever grateful I got the privilege to ride this year and could not be more thankful for my family and could not be more thrilled with Reckless.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Tevis 2022 - Annette McGyver

by Annette McGyver

Tevis 2022: it’s a long one, We did ALL the things. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I saw somewhere on Facebook that if somebody doesn't think they're going to finish Tevis then they're wasting their money when they go. I don't know if this is true or not. I do know that I filled out my application as soon as entries opened and I planned on riding Johnny and I certainly planned on finishing. But then the gremlins struck and now I'm rehabbing Johnny. My friend Terry offered a horse to ride; I was still “in”. I previously took Rupert through the canyons and on a few other sections of the trail.

We had a great time, we started out by ourselves and he was a rock star through that fast start, (it sure seemed fast this year). It was a bit of a stressful ride through granite chief. We got stuck in a Congo line of 31 horses with a bad whiplash effect. (In hindsight I should have pulled off and let them all leave). As it turns out my friends caught me at Lyon’s ridge. I was happy to ride with them into red star. But when we got there, we were up against the clock; he was a little dehydrated and hanging at 72 but eating and drinking just fine, peeing and pooping as well. He got pumped up with an optional IV. We got Rupert settled in at Foresthill.

Time to rally and wait for our riders at Michigan bluff. I was refilling everyone's drinks and cooling anyones horses that needed it. Our riders were chasing cutoffs all day and gave it up at Foresthill, leaving just one of our group of four gaited horses out there. Scott had it in the bag, his horse looked good and strong!

Unfortunately he slipped off the trail just after Cal 2. We’ve all had a foot slip off and scramble back on, makes your heart skip a beat. Not this time, it was a pretty sharp drop off and they went over, tumbling down 15 or 20 feet to a couple of trees. The duff was deep and the soil was loose and it was just impossible to get back up again. It was pitch black. (*I will never ride these cliffs without a green or red headlamp again)

By the time I heard this was happening, they already had a team working on it but they needed some more manpower and equipment. I was told it’s best to get a horse settled and wait until daylight to attempt extraction, now I see why. Unfortunately he was not in a good spot for waiting. The team was amazing and the rider is one of the best horseman I know. He stayed in there working with the team for hours until the horse was back on solid ground. Wow, it sure takes a long time to shimmy a horse down 100 feet to the next switchback. The amazing rescue team got it done! On the hike out It took all of us to carry everything out. I couldn’t walk by his saddle there on the side of the trail, I am surprised I managed it!

I’m so sorry that this was his tevis experience - it was a crazy year and as I thank my crew for my ride (thank you), I have to show some love for the ride management, net control, horse rescue personnel, veterinarians, volunteers, SOS, and I don’t even know who I don’t know. The trackers were very useful for locating off trail horses and the enormous team of people involved in the background of this ride is overwhelming.

An honorary mention for Lucy Chaplin Trumbull , she did not start as her horse was NQR. She rallies like no other and jumped to join my crew. So glad she did as they are from out of town and it was awesome to have Lucy there. Thanks Laura Matthews!! Once I was pulled, she assisted in the live webcast, then helped locate horses that were off trail. Her extensive knowledge of the trail and access points is really unbelievable! 

Forgive me if I missed anybody, I don’t always know if I should name names either, there are a lot of people involved in a lot of aspects of this ride I was previously unaware of

And….Eddie (the horse) is looking good, heading home now. Now I can cry about it

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Great Britain: Golden Horseshoe Ride May 20-22nd 2022 by Jo Chisholm

EGB.myclubhouse.co.uk - Full Story

GOLDEN HORSESHOE RIDE MAY 20-22ND 2022 by Jo Chisholm

The Golden Horseshoe Ride has been a large part of my life over that last 25 years – from competing in many of the different classes from the 2-day 80km to the ultimate endurance test of the 2 day 160k class, and to being part of the organisational team from 2017 to 2022, this being our final year. However, next year the mantle is being handed over to a new team headed up by Shelly Bates and Maggie Pattinson. We are very pleased that someone has stepped up to take on this iconic ride as it is a part of the history of endurance in this county, and indeed is amongst the few endurance rides globally that many in the equestrian world have heard of.

This year, sadly, there were no entries in the top class of the 160km/2-day Golden Horseshoe and only three in the Exmoor Stag 120 km/2 day and two in the Exmoor Fox class 80km/1 day. The main entries were spread over the more popular Exmoor Hind class 80km/2 day and the single day 40 km and 24k classes. The lower-than-normal numbers are probably due to various factors taking their toll – the last two years have meant that many riders have not kept their horses up to full competition fitness and also the cost of fuel may restrict many to local rides rather than travelling further afield. It was clearly demonstrated that Exmoor demands the fittest and best prepared horses and riders, with the ‘introductory’ novice classes seeing a higher attrition rate than the higher mileage classes, where more experienced combinations were competing. The conditions were just about perfect with Exmoor having had a reasonably quiet winter and so, apart from the usual areas that tend to stay spongy, the moorland still had plenty of grass cover with firm going and the tracks had not been washed out. The weather was also kind to us during the weekend with just the right amount of sunshine...

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