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