Sunday, September 9, 2012

Big South Fork Endurance Ride, Part One

J and I just returned from our second endurance ride in 2 weeks.  I know, a lot of people do two 50 mile rides in 2 days, but hey, this was still big for us.   It started with a 5 hour trailer ride to Tennessee.   The horses hauled well and J is #1 at driving so no problems getting there. 
 After we unloaded and let the horses settle in we went for our pre ride vet check.  Jessica passed with all A's.  I'm not too sure she appreciated getting her number put on however.
 Hank passed too but drew the usual questions about all of his lumps.  "No, they are not hives.'  "No, I don't know what they are." "He's had them since we got him 3 years ago."  "No, they don't seem to bother him."
We set up as usual, horses tied to the trailer with us sleeping inside.  This is not an ideal arrangement especially with a horse that jerks at the hay net, rubs her head a lot and clinks her halter snap on the fender all night. (not naming any names)  At 1 AM my watch alarm went off.  It's a cheep watch with lots of buttons.  I think I must have set the alarm when I checked the time with the light button earlier.  Then it started to pour down rain with thunder and lightning.  And finally a truck alarm started going off.  Needless to say, we didn't get much sleep.
 The morning dawned misty and humid.  We got saddled (J could use some crew help) and all of our supplies ready.
 J has started lunging Jessica before he gets on at these rides because she has been known to take some bucking fits.  If he lunges her first it seems to help.   We started the ride right behind the fast pack then got passed by 2 riders that were right on Hank's tail.
 Over the next few miles we passed about 10 riders.  The trails were well groomed for the most part but lots of rocks in places and some large sandstone boulders to cross.  
 Then came the river crossing.  J was very nervous about this.  His last experience on an endurance ride with crossing a pond ended up with him drenched when Jessica decided to lay down in the middle of it.  It was right before the river when we came up on a Grandmother/Granddaughter pair.  Nana's horse had taken a bad step and was lame and her stirrup had broken.  Nothing she had with her would fix the problem  She asked if we had any duct tape, and yes, as a matter of fact, I did have some with me.  While she was fixing her stirrup she explained their problem.  Lilly, her granddaughter, was only 13 and needed to ride with a sponsor.  If Nana's horse was lame Lilly wouldn't be able to finish without her.  After asking our names, she asked if we would sponsor Lilly which eventually meant just letting her ride with us.  She had been doing endurance rides since she was 8 and had actually been on more rides than we have so we didn't think it would be a  problem.
This crossing was pretty uneventful.  Both horses and Lilly walked across no problem.   Then about ten minutes past the river here comes Nana flying up the trail.  Apparently, she couldn't hold her horse back by itself and it wasn't lame anymore, so she took back over with Lilly.  
Find out about the half way vet check and return trip tomorrow.


NeighGirl said...

What do you use to draw the numbers?

4RRanch said...

NeighGirl, it's a cattle marking paint stick. It takes about19-14 days to wear off by itself.

Virginia Reasor said...

very entertaining post about the ride. Looking forward to hearing about the rest

Crystal said...

looks like a good size river crossing, Im assuming Jessica didnt lay down this time? Cant wait to hear about the rest of the ride.

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