Monday, August 29, 2011

Virginia Highlands Endurance Challenge, Start to Vet Check

After a restful night I was up at 6:30.  My watch was now inexplicably showing the correct time.  After taking care of Hank I walked down to watch the start of the 50 mile ride.  It was exciting as usual with large groups of riders trotting and cantering out.  I started saddling up at 7:30 to be ready for the start of the 30 mile ride at 8:00.  There was one other local rider I was talking to before the start.  I asked when she was leaving and she said after the rush.  Well, the start of the 30 was not a rush.  When time was called people just started meandering out.  Not wanting to be over time like last year I decided to take off near the front.  Hank was calm and I had no safety concerns.  We trotted and cantered on level or gentle slopes but walked on the steep climbs.  I think there was a elevation change of 2500 feet so lots of steep climbs.  I was passed a lot on these climbs but caught up at the water stops where the ones that passed me were resting.  Then came a new part of the trail that opened up into rolling pasture/range land.   Here Hank shined!  We were able to canter almost all of the 4 miles through the open space and make up tons of time.  Sadly, as I entered the range land, there was a horseless rider.  She had been thrown and her horse ran off.  She was o.k. but the horse still had not been found by nightfall. 
 The last 1/2 mile was a steep climb again so we walked that to try and get his pulse down.  The pulse has to be below 64 before the vet check and then there is a 50 minute hold before going back down the trail.  What a difference it makes to have a wonderful crew there waiting to help you out.  V greeting me at the timer and J and E were there to help unsaddle.
 Hank's pulse was down immediately and he flew through the Vet Check with all A's again.
 V and E took turns holding him and letting him graze during the hold time.  Anyone notice any similarity between V and Hank?
 I got to rest and eat a little lunch while Hank was being expertly attended to.
 The ride manager commented that I was riding with the bare essentials.  Lead rope and spare shoe on this side and sponge on the other.  I was the only rider with a western saddle (it's synthetic so very light), western pad and jeans.  Almost everyone else had sheep fleece pads to sit on and the large platform stirrups, stretchy pants,and  breast collars and croupers on the horse.   The rider on the Percheron/QH even carried a dressage whip the whole way.
You could see our place from the Vet Check.  The scenery was spectacular.  
Hank was all ready for the timer to release us for the 15 mile trip back.  
Conclusion:  Vet Check to Finish tomorrow.


50+ Horses said...

Loved this Post and your description of the ride! Very cool to have your family working as a team to assist you. Hank is a great looking horse and the scenery is beautiful. Looking forward to Part 2! :)

The Japanese Redneck said...

15 miles in the saddle....that's a long day!

Crystal said...

That sounds like so much fun! And a good start to the ride.

V's hair matches Hanks tail, taht too cute!

C said...

Loved the V/Hank shot. You have a great crew!! So cool to see everyone pitching in to help.

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