Quote

Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Farah Wins Best Condition @ Mt. Adams 55-mile~

The morning of the ride! Butch was up ahead of me, feeding Farah & going down to watch John & Diane start in the 100.  By the time he was back, it was time to get Farah saddled & then warmed up.  Cassandra had suggested a softer & gentler approach to her lounging routine - to include bringing her back in for some cuddles & softness between direction changes.

All that seemed to work pretty well.  I stepped into the stirrup & we walked down to the start area. There were already many horses warming up & the usual tension in the air!  I love it when she grazes - it mellows us both out a little.
Waiting to go~
I was happy that Farah was distracting herself, but it wasn't long until she saw horses coming back off the old way to start.  I knew that change would add some interest to us leaving camp, with me still in the saddle :-)

Butch filmed the start.  Once the trail was open - Farah let loose with a small buck - nothing like her usual antics & I moved her forward - trying to avoid the other hyper horses.  With about six riders ahead of us, Farah was All business!  I was so proud of her!  A couple of the young FEI riders were in the lead - on the single track trail.  Within a mile or two, we were asking for trail & moved past along with Brittany on her gray mare & the lady on the paint.

By the time we'd reached the hold for the 100's, at ten-miles, Brittany had missed trail turns a couple times.  It was a busy place, but Max answered my query as to where the Snow King loop continued on, at the far side of the hold.  Farah - in the lead - missed again the same turn as last year - but realized her mistake as Brittany whipped onto the trail - cutting us off.  That was my clue that it would be a horse race.
Coming into camp at 7:39 a.m.
To say that we were flying - would be an understatement...  We did the loop faster than last year - in one-hour 9 min.   Post~  Farah pulsed down just slightly slower, but ahead of the gray.  Butch vetted her through - with a different vet & had no issues with her kicking out.  We followed our usual routine & were ready to leave after the 30-min. hold.
8:14 & ready to leave~
To this point, the paint had been staying with us, but this loop dropped back.  Gotchen is my favorite - someday I'd like to come back & ride it when I have time to enjoy the scenery!  :-)  The burn area had changed, birds pecking holes in the burned trees, tops fallen to the ground & thanks to the great crew that did all the chain-saw clean-up!  With Brittany in the lead, we took a wrong turn & ended up running head on into a pile of slash.  No fun & I apologized for Farah being too close.  I'd been holding her back every stride & the two mares were as Brittany said;  "loving the competition".
9:43 a.m. - finished with Gotchen - at 31-miles
 Farah took just a couple minutes longer this time than the gray, to pulse down.  She also wasn't drinking as much as I expect her too - but again vetted with all A's - except a B in gut - which was up from a B- the first loop.  I told Butch that I was not going to head back out unless she was totally eating & drinking normally, which he assured me she was!
10:37 a.m. We leave on Ghost Loop~
I didn't know it, but our in/out times were very close to the timeline we'd established in last years ride.  I'd seen Brittany go galloping out a couple minutes before - but was actually glad.  The weather was really changeable, from cold to drizzle, some wind, to sunshine that warmed things up in seconds.  It seemed very humid too & I wasn't comfortable with the two-horse race.

Since this is the loop with the short steep climbs - I new Farah would do well.  We dropped back to a pace that was comfortable for us both & just kept on truckin'.  We did start running into the 30-mile riders again - I'd ask for trail & most riders were so courteous.  Farah took a couple of the hills with leaps so smooth - her athleticism is just amazing.  I swear she used less energy bounding up - than if I'd asked her to take it slower.  When we'd stop for water or to leave our number with a radio operator - she would listen to see if anyone was coming up behind us :-)  If they had been, I'm sure our little 8.9 to 9.5 trot would have zipped right back up into the double digits :-)  For being on our own - no competition that Farah was aware of - she was just motoring right along.
12:13 p.m. 45-miles gone - we return from Ghost!
Both of us were feeling just fine at this point.  (Just minutes different from last year.)  Farah still not drinking as much as I would have liked - but as Butch kept reminding me - it was substantially cooler than in other years & her vet scores had stayed consistently  A's.
12:50 p.m. Morrison - 10-miles to go!
Farah was not happy to that we were leaving on our own...  I felt sorry for her - since she does enjoy a race so much :-)  But, I was happy that we had not seen the front-runner again & hadn't attempted to catch her.  (I had a plan in the back of my mind :-)  I knew we'd probably opened a decent gap behind us & the rest of the riders - from our morning speed - so when Butch again sent us off with;  "Get out there & don't waste any time"...  That's what we did.

We both know Morrison loop well by now & just cruised along.  I hadn't taken my stick, just didn't want to use it & as I watched my heart monitor show such low lackadaisical readings, I thought maybe I should have :-)  As we got to the last water tank, we met Tani & a friend heading out.  I asked Tani how many 55-mile riders were in front of us & she said;  "No one"!  "Get OUT of here!"  :-)
2:05 p.m. We Finish!
There were so many riders in front of us as we came around the edge of camp.  Even so, I kept up the trot until we were closer.  Butch tried to video our finish - but his camera didn't record.  Our ride time was probably about 30-min slower than last years - but Farah was totally cool & dry.  She felt like we could have gone on forever.

John & Diane were there to see me finish - help with tack & guide me to the scale.  Butch took Farah back to camp & started cleaning her up.  John offered to show Farah for BC & Butch gratefully accepted :-)  He'd had his hands full keeping Mike happy with a supply of red ribbons - though all the other Vets had had no issues at all...
3:05 p.m. John takes Farah~
I wish I'd had the presence of mind to video John's trot-out with Farah.  He did a super job & the gold girl I'm sure was surprised that a human can run that fast!  :-)  It was pretty thrilling for me to see her look so beautiful & trot so sound after our fast 55-miles.
Farah with John~
It was too bad that we didn't have room to do the final trot out in the big grassy field.  Instead, John was asked to use the space across the road & into the pulse/crew area.  Certainly not ideal but he made it look positively easy!
Wowing the onlookers :-)
Her scores were wonderful, she looked amazing & I felt like I'd accomplished my goal of finishing with a healthy, happy horse!  As I've said many times - anything beyond that is the frosting on the cake.  On this day - mine was chocolate!  :-)
Results~
Sunday morning, at the ride meeting, I was thrilled when it was announced that Farah had won Best Condition!
American Gothic - Endurance Style!
Just the evening before, Diane & I had been discussing some of the horrible BC awards that they'd received in CA.  We had a word for it - now I have the tool to take care of those other awards!  A  disappointment - after seeing the nice coolers that all the 100-mile competitors received for completion awards.

Butch tells me that he'll hang the pitch fork in a place of honor in the barn.  A good friend - known for her sewing talents - has offered to make something for Farah - to commemorate our accomplishment. :-)

4 comments:

  1. Congrats! Sounds like quite a speedy ride, what fun! Farah looks great, and love the American Gothic photo.

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    1. Thanks a bunch - we all had a good time :-)

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  2. Yay! Congratulations to you! LOVE the last photo. Sounds like a great ride. =)

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  3. If Sissy hadn't such horrible feet, she would have been a great endurance horse. However, I don't think my body would hold up! Congratulations! I'm impressed with your patience with your horse. It paid off, as I know the challenges you have had in the past. That is a big feather under your cap! Sara Jane

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