I should rename this post to be: blogging on a netbook with wordpress is more annoying than anything!!! My regular laptop has to get sent in for repair so I am at the mercy of this 10″ mini-me that makes everything I do take twice as long! Ignore the goofy formatting, I’ll fix it when I get my computer back. Well, enough of that…on with the first part of my Tevis ride this year…..
Earlier this year I had started to plan on going to Tevis. Then I changed my mind. Then I changed it again. I even printed out an official entry form and filled it out.
Then I changed my mind yet again and decided to go do the new City of Rocks multiday ride in Idaho. My thinking was that I’d rather ride both of my horses two days with pretty good odds at getting to ride all four days versus a 50/50 chance of riding one horse one day at Tevis.
Only…..Bo did so well at City of Rocks and came through it in such great shape that I decided what the heck and got my entry sent in – a day after the deadline! Bo had been coming through every single ride all year at 100%. Entering late was okay though, as it gave me less time to worry about what might go wrong. I knew that I was ready and that Bo was ready, now I just had to get all of the final details into place starting with arranging my crew!
It’s really hard to not want to do Tevis when you have a horse ready, I just couldn’t resist. I think my biggest worry was “how much is too much?” in regards to how many rides Bo had already done this season. Our horses all go great until a point at which….they don’t! I always think of each horses’ ride season as having an imaginary line…you know the one that if you cross it, you’ve gone too far? It’s always elusive but also sometimes so very close and often invisible until you’ve gone over it. Then it’s too late. I don’t want to cross that line. It’s what keeps me riding conservatively; fear of going too far, too often, or too fast, and hurting my horse.
The final crew plans turned out to be pretty easy, as it turns out I already had one person volunteer and when asked if she was still up for it she said yes! We tried to get a reasonable airfare at such close timing for my friend in TX but it was too late. So I sent Kayla (some of you may remember her as a junior rider) a text to see if she could do it and she said YES. So it was all set; I had my husband plus Aurora and Kayla. Then if that wasn’t enough, Lenny volunteered to come and help out at Foresthill — he has my retired endurance horse Rocky and lives in Auburn. Cool, got the crew all set!
The next thing I did was make up lists and get my trailer and tack cleaned out and organized. It was definitely time to do a good thorough once over of all of my tack (and trailer contents) – while I had done it last year while preparing for the long XP I realized that since then I have ridden my horses more than 5,000 miles. That sure puts a lot of wear and tear on things. I took everything apart and put it all back in working order, clean and neat — that took longer I think than riding the Tevis!
We left early Friday morning for Robie Park. It is nearly 60 miles away (a local ride, yippee!), so no reason for us to go up any sooner than that. Once I got up there and got set up, visited with some friends and got checked in it was time to go for a pre-ride.
Zach Rabow and I went for a ride for a few miles out and back on the starting trail. Our horses were both strong and full of ‘go’.
Ashley from Renegade found us and brought over more crew shirts – I already had gotten some but this was great — now my crew would each get two shirts plus hats. I know from experience that crewing at Tevis is a really LONG day and it’s nice to be able to change into something clean at least once during the day (or night).
I had planned on using strap on Renegades this time. In 2010 I used glue-ons, and…well, honestly….I really prefer to not have to glue boots on especially for a one day ride. Bo had been doing really well in the strap-on boots all year to this point and had even completed the Owyhee 100 in May using them .
Only then..and almost coinciding with the time my entry got post-marked for the ride…..the infamous Tevis Gremlins struck. Is there anybody left that doesn’t think that Tevis Gremlins exist? Well, let me tell you….they do! And they came visiting!! They decided to be sneaky and take a bite out of the back of Bo’s hind heelbulb! I wasn’t sure if I should be upset, or relieved that at least it wasn’t something more serious like so many of my other friends have had happen to their Tevis horses this year. The wound (a hind heel bulb ding) looked small, about an inch to inch and a half in length and didn’t seem like much….at least not until I pulled the scab off revealing a pussy soft area underneath. Oh man! This is where it pays to have friends that are also veterinarians and of course I had to send a panic-text-complete-with-photo to said friend who said “You need to get XXXX on that!”. Long story short, she prescribed it and I was able to pick it up at Walgreen’s and get it on Bo’s wound the same day.
I was agonizing over whether or not I should go ahead and use the strap-on Renny’s, or go with glue-ons. On one hand, the captivator on the strap on boot would protect the wound and keep it from getting worse. On the other hand, the captivator could possibly irritate the wound and make it worse. Bo was not showing any signs of tenderness or soreness so I felt that he would at least be able to make the ride using glue-on boots. Oh boy, talk about anticipation not knowing up until the last minute how this would work out, or even if it would work out!
I made sure everything was really clean when I put Bo’s strap-on boots on him at Robie on Friday for the pre-ride. I knew that this pre-ride would tell me what I needed to know, or at least I hoped it would — and that following that ride I’d be able to make the final decision on whether or not I was going to go with glue-on boots, or stick with the original plan and go with the strap-on boots.
After returning from our pre-ride, I removed the captivator on the back of that hind boot to inspect the heel bulb. It looked great, and had not been irritated at all. I put the captivator back on and then proceeded to take Bo down to vet in.
We vetted in with Jim Baldwin, who had just recently vetted us at the City of Rocks ride. Earlier in the morning I had introduced him to our friend Peter Greig from New Zealand. I met Peter and his wife Kaye in Australia last year at the Functional Hoof Conference. Peter is a FEI official and he and Jim knew a lot of the same people. It is such a small world sometimes, that we endurance riders are all connected to each other through.
Dr. Baldwin checks Bo’s pulse and says it was kind of high — up in the 60′s. Then he says, wait it’s dropping. Funny that two years ago the same thing happened when we brought Bo down to vet in at Robie. Interesting as Bo appears to look calm and collected on the outside but apparently he is taking it all in. This is the only ride that seems to have happened with Bo, normally he’ll be down much lower upon first check. In some weird way it made me feel better to know that I wasn’t the only one having some fluttering heart beats at the whole idea of doing the Tevis!
Once Bo’s pulse dropped the rest of the vetting went well, and we got our # — 59 put on both sides of Bo’s rump, and I got my wristband put on complete with an emergency phone # on it. I had not received any crew passes (due to late entry) so I managed to get a packet with the passes so that my crew would be able to get into Robinson’s Flat in the morning.
Next up on the agenda was to go over my crew stuff and instructions with Aurora. Kayla was meeting up with her in Auburn on Friday evening at the hotel. I had a crewbag packed for Robinson’s and was also going to send a small ice chest, an insulated cooler bag (so the crew would have drinks and snacks too), 3 buckets and a small folding chair. That all went in a wagon. I used duct tape to label everything in the crewbag so that things could be found easily. Plus it was all written down on my lists that I had placed into plastic sheet protectors in a small binder. The binder also had directions, maps, cell phone #’s and anything else that might be useful for my crew to have, including some $$.
We had Aurora trot Bo out to familiarize themselves with each other. She also braided Bo’s mane for me, which was great. There was so much to get done and we were all busy socializing as well, which certainly slowed down our progress. It was nice to be able to leisurely get it all together.\
Chad (the barefoot trimmer) came and helped me do some fine tuning touches on my Renegade hoof boots for Bo. I normally don’t do anything to the boots other than a cable adjustment. He made sure that any excess on the bottom of the boots was trimmed off. This meant that I was going to have to pay attention to which boot went where in the morning. I hoped that I wouldn’t have a hard time paying attention to the whole right and left thing at 3:30 a.m.
Everything was coming together – Aurora left with my stuff and instructions to head to the hotel in Auburn and meet up with the others. They were going to car-pool with some other friends who were crewing for two other horses from Nevada. Since I knew they would be getting a really early start in the morning I didn’t think Aurora needed to stay for the ride meeting.
They told us about various studies and research projects going on – a 100 mile survey from Dr. Balch and the AERC Research Committee. A thorough lameness exam workout for horses pulled during the ride for lameness by Dr. Hassan and finally — Dr. Fielding’s crew would be pulling blood on every single horse as they came into Robinson’s – immediately after pulsing down and prior to going to vet. That was being done to determine metabolic parameters.
Then, Bo and I spent some time looking at the beautiful Tevis moon rising high above the towering pine trees that surrounded our camp. No words were spoken, this was our quiet time together, a few special moments to be had before morning. We had at least made it this far, what a relief!
Next up….our ride! I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of sleep and was excited to have the opportunity to at least get to start the Tevis one more time.