Monday, August 26, 2013

Virginia Highlands Endurance Challenge 2013

I won't keep you in suspense, WE DID IT!  Thumper finished his first Limited Distance Endurance ride and Jessica finished her 6th.  Thumper is now the 3rd horse I've trained and conditioned for this ride and finished.
 We hauled in on Friday afternoon, after it had finished raining, again.  I think we are the only ones that tie our horses to the trailer.  Everyone else uses portable corrals of one kind or another.
 Jessica weighed in at 1060.
 Thumper was a whopping 1115.  He is getting his number AL painted on his hip after he passed the vet check in.
 After a most uneventful night, we were up and ready for an 8 AM ride start time.  Notice the contrast between Jessica getting ready and the Arabians getting ready.
 This is Thumper getting ready.
 J and I are also the only ones to ride in western saddles and blue jeans.  The saddles are synthetic and only weigh 18 pounds.  I had the only Da Brim helmet brim too.  There was a woman selling tack that took my picture in it because she sells them too.  Cantle bag with spare shoe, duct tape, twine and water bottle, check.  Fanny pack with camera, horse cookies and granola bar, check.  Sponge, Check.  Looks like we are ready to go.
 We took off at just the right time, just behind the fast horses that were really racing but right before everyone else.  That left us pretty much by ourselves for the first 2-3 miles.  We were in and out of this creek for about a mile.
 Occasionally, we would catch up and pass a pair or someone would pass us.  At first Thumper was pretty jumpy about the horses coming up behind but he soon got use to it.
 The weather couldn't have been better.  The humidity finally dropped and the temperature was comfortable in the 70's.  The horses never lost any go, even in the steep climbs.   In fact, we did much more holding back than we did having to push on.
 The view was beautiful coming into the vet check.
 This is the picture I bought from the professional photographer.  I think Thumper really looks pretty.
 It was great for E to meet us at the vet check.  It is so nice to have someone hold your horse so you can get a bite to eat.  The hold is for 1 hour but that hour really flies by.
 The trail back is just the reverse 15 miles up and 15 miles back.
 This is probably one of the worst parts of the trail, very narrow and steep with 180 degree switch backs.
 We passed the final vet check with mostly all A's (B+ for gut sounds and B+ for overall impression). Do we look 75 pounds lighter?
Jessica got all A's.  Does that look like an A for overall impression?  I think J was trying to get her at a bad angle, he succeeded.  Jessica dropped 55 pounds.  They both drank well and ate at every opportunity.
Final placing......Jessica and J 20th   Thumper and K 21st out of 40 starting.  We had a ride time of  5 hour 33 min. pulsing down and finishing with 45 minutes to spare.  (Jessica's first ride that I did with her 4 years ago, we only had 4 minutes to spare.)  We might have been the highest placing non arabian horses there.
I've been having Thmper advertised for sale but since he had done so well I am having second thoughts.  But in the last 24 hours I've had 2 people call very interested in him.  More tough decisions to make.


Nell said...

Congrats on finishing the race with Thumper! Our family enjoyed seeing your pics since the kids had their first taste of competitive trail riding last month. Of course, ours was on a much smaller scale than an endurance ride, but it helps the kids see the potential for what they could do in the future with hard work and the right horse.

I liked your Da Brim, too. I've never seen anything like that!

cheyenne jones said...

An excellent ride by the looks of it, Thumper looks totally chilled!

Crystal said...

Sounds like an excellent ride, wish I could talk my hubby into doing something like that it looks like fun, but if its got horses he pretty much opts out

Jacob D said...

Sounds like fun and a lot of work. Congratulations to you, Joe, Jessica and Thumper! Great job. Beautiful photos and scenery.

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