It’s interesting how much more effort it takes to prepare for the Tevis Cup than any other ordinary ride. The easiest part is getting the horse ready, it seems. That’s because I’m always riding anyway! Then there is the paperwork, crew arrangements and all of the other organizing and planning that goes into getting ready for the Tevis.
Most of the rides that I attend take little preparation ahead of time especially since I go by myself — I just pack up and go!
Tevis is one ride where there are a lot of details, some big, and some small…that all have to be attended to especially if you want to have a stress free ride on ride day.
So far I’ve got my crew arranged. I’ve got lists made up for each of the stops including checklists for what to pack. I got my entry in late, so I didn’t get a stall at the fairgrounds. As it turns out that is okay as I can keep Bo on the trailer in a dirt lot after the ride is over which will allow me to keep a closer eye on him.
I’ve been going through all of my tack and equipment making sure everything is in good condition and clean. I’m still deciding what headgear to use on Bo for the start of the ride. He goes so well in this one Myler bit, however it has shanks on it that he just HATES if they hit the side of a water bucket, and I don’t want to cause a delay in him drinking because he is bothered by that. I know I’ll be able to change him over to the S-hack but he’s much too strong and fit to start him in that.
Bo’s feet were trimmed early this morning and won’t need to be touched again for a few weeks. His Renegade boots came today so I will have time to get them adjusted and fit. I’ll have four boots on him, two spares on my saddle (1 size 1, and 1 size 2), and another spare in each size in my crewbag. Bo has already completed three 100’s using the strap on Renegades and is doing well in them. So I am confident that they’ll work well for us on this ride. It’ll keep me from having to glue and un-glue boots on him, which is something I just absolutely hate doing.
I ordered some Numotizine which will be used when we wrap Bo’s legs after he finishes the ride. I don’t normally use it as it costs about twice as much as regular clay but for a ride like Tevis I figure he might as well get to use the good stuff.
I’ve read through all of the information on the Tevis website including the contents of the riders packets. Here is a link to the page with all of the forms that will be in the riders packets. There are some forms that need to be filled out and turned in at Robie Park when we check in on August 3rd.
There is also info on the research study that they are doing. They will be drawing blood on EVERY horse at Robinson’s Flat during the ride and expect it to take 5-10 seconds per horse. I have my doubts it’ll go that fast and will make sure my crew has food for my horse to eat in case we get backed up in a slow line. I’m more concerned about somebody getting hurt when a horse balks and backs up for goes up in the air. I hope that they can get blood from 200 horses safely and quickly without it impacting my ride.
Another important thing that needs to be noted is the change to the finish line. For many years the finish was at the Overlook. Last year they changed it and this year will be similar — we keep going once reaching the overlook and continue to the timed finish line. No crews will be allowed there. Then, we continue on into McCann Stadium where we will do our victory lap and then our final vet check. Once we do our completion vet check after finishing we have to return no sooner than one hour and no later than two hours for one final welfare check. No trot out is required for that check, they are checking metabolics.
I’ll wait till closer to the ride to get the feed together for each check and placed into the marked gallon baggies. I don’t want to do it too early due to the heat. Most everything else that needs to be done prior to the ride will fall into place as it gets closer. I’ll get Bo out on the trail a couple more times and then do a nice pre-ride on him up at Robie Park the day before the ride.
My biggest concern this year was over whether or not Bo was doing too much. I know he’s fit, boy is he fit, strong, healthy….and opinionated! He is much more solid now than he was in 2010 when he did the Tevis. It can be hard sometimes to know when enough is enough, and when you are doing 100’s and rides like Tevis you have to be a bit more conservative. When it comes to the sport of endurance riding, you often have to make choices over what is most important to you. My favorite rides are multidays and that’s where I find the most challenge, though I do also like riding 100’s as well. They are all different types of challenges. Bo has come through every single ride he’s done this season in very good shape. This is partly why my entry was finally sent in so late — I wanted to be sure. I didn’t want to feel like I was asking for too much and didn’t want to bring a tired or worn out horse to Tevis. He will have had three weeks between the last ride and this one. He was ridden very conservatively at the last ride so the timing should be perfect.
The only thing I haven’t figured out how to plan for are those darn butterflies that take over my stomach just before the ride! I suppose that without them, I’d probably sleep really well and THAT would make me worry that something was wrong!!! (lol)