A photo of my ride photo from day 2.
This past weekend was the 2-day Bill Thornburg endurance ride. I rode both days of it on Pro Bono (“Bo”). The weather was perfect, though a bit warm for those of us with horses that already have winter coats.
Ride entries have been down a lot this season and this was a fairly small ride. The first day there were 28 or 29 in the 50 and on the second day there were only 12. I’m not sure how many were in the LD, tho on the second day there were more than were in the 50.
Daniel Brown and wife Callie along with Jeanine Corzine and crew do a great job on the ride. They have a lot of volunteers and do a fantastic job with everything. The trail was expertly marked the entire way! On the first day they had hot dogs for lunch for us, and both evenings of the ride we were served an excellent meal of tri-tip. Awards are nice – t-shirts for completion both days and lots of other items. I got a middle of the pack water bottle on the 2nd day – finishing 6th out of 12 . I also got a small flatback bucket for finishing in the top ten.
I’ve done this ride before when it was called Git’r'Done. The footing for both rides is excellent, with only a very small portion having any rocks. This time they mentioned at the ride meeting that some of the roads had been resurfaced with volcanic rock. That caused me to put Bo’s Renegades on in the morning because I didn’t want to take the chance of making him footsore. As it turned out, the footing was still just as excellent as I remembered it. Bo’s boots were removed and he completed most of the first day and all of the second day totally barefoot.
Overall I am pretty happy with Bo’s feet. They have done a lot of work this season – more than 2,100 AERC miles including some really tough, hard footing and miles — and yet, his feet are still healthy and strong. He can walk and trot through anything without flinching. It’d be hard to find nicer looking feet on a horse that has done the mileage Bo has. Well, there is Chief <g>. His feet are looking very nice too!
On the first day of the ride I started out near the back of the pack, riding with Chris Herron and his stallion Hawk. Hawk was really wound up and looked like a fancy parade horse. Bo was also quite amped up but at least he was managing to go straight down the road to the start. It was like riding Godzilla though, and it took a lot of work to keep Bo rated.
We did a slow trot alternating with walking where the sand was deeper. The first loop was 24 miles and took us at the upper end through a lava flow of volcanic rock. It was really pretty and the weather was gorgeous! Bo was drinking well and at each water stop they had plenty of hay so he was happy to be able to grab a few bites each time we stopped.
With only about 4 to 5 miles to go on the first loop and being nearly back to camp the front runners on the LD ride started blowing past us. It was a bit scary, and it wasn’t because I was scared for me (Bo handled it quite well), but the riders themselves were running on their horses and didn’t seem to have much control, and I wasn’t quite sure they were all going to stay on and make it back to camp. There was one kid whose horse was zigging while the kid was zagging. I held my breath until they got out of sight, thankful that there had been no wrecks. Bo was secretly wishing he could be one of those LD horses, start later–go faster–finish sooner — what’s not to like?
We made it into the vetcheck, got our arrival time then walked right over to the pulse box. They took our time and I went right in, figuring that Bo would probably be down to 60. He was – he was at 44. Kristen Mason was the head vet and the second vet was Fred Beasom. They wanted everybody to wait a half an hour to vet. We headed into the arena where all of the horses and riders were having their lunch. It was fairly crowded. I found where Tony had dropped off my crewbags and buckets (Thanks Tony!) and got Bo set up and eating. Chris was having a more difficult time finding a quiet place to take Hawk too. There was a mare running around in circles in the round pen next to us screaming, and that didn’t help matters any. Bo didn’t care and ate well, but Hawk was distracted.
We vetted after a half hour was up, then got ready to leave for the next loop. We had a total of three loops with two vet checks in between. The temps were heating up and I knew we’d probably be slowing down to accommodate the horses. Bo has a heavy winter coat and is quite the furball. We had an nice ride on the next loop, I think it was something around 18 miles (not sure what it was exactly), then back in for another vet check. Bo was well down below criteria again and so we went to spend another 20 minutes letting him eat, vetting on our way out.
The last loop was nice, horses were mellowing out though Bo knew where camp was and wanted to speed up coming into the finish. I got into the finish and went right over to vet. Criteria at the finish was 68, so I knew that I shouldn’t have a problem given that Bo’s recoveries had been so good all day. I got Kristen and Chris got Fred. She checks Bo’s pulse and tells me “44″. Hey, Chris, I say….”44″!!!! Had to tease him as he always points out when his horse does something better than mine. I trotted out and while Kristen was writing on my card, Chris says “hey Karen….”32″!!!” Really? Wow, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything!! lol Just then Fred turned around and said “not even close, try “85″! he he. It only took a couple of minutes for Hawk to come down, but that was enough for Chris to decide not to go on the 2nd day.
I got up on the 2nd morning and was totally sore. I don’t know if it was from holding Bo back so much the first day, or because the ride was so flat (a total elevation gain and loss of around 2100′ – that’s pretty flat!) — or was it because I didn’t sleep real well with Mr. Fidgity Bo on my trailer? He is awful by himself at a ride and is much nicer to camp with when Chief is there too. All night long Bo zipped back and forth on the high-line, played with his rubber feed pan and buckets. He ate so well that when he ran out of food he would then get really obnoxious, so I’d get up and go give him more feed.
Most people wouldn’t believe how much food this horse can eat overnight. I estimate that he ate about 35 pounds of food one night, which is a lot. I don’t like to put the soaked EGM pellets out in a large enough quantity that he won’t run out all night because I’m afraid he’ll eat too much. He just doesn’t seem to stop eating and it makes me worry.
I headed out by myself on the second day on a much calmer horse than I’d had on the first day. Bo was back to his normal self, and it was quite nice. We had a good first loop and came back into the vet check area for lunch. The vet check area is a ways from our actual camp, so we have all of our stuff there ahead of time so we won’t waste time going back and forth to our trailers.
Bo was doing really well. His CRI at lunch was 40/40, and at the next vet check his pulse was 36. He was handing the heat very well. Sunday was hotter than Saturday was so I was glad that things were going so well. I kept putting as much water on Bo to cool him down as I could at every opportunity. That is where they really excelled at this ride – there was PLENTY of water for drinking and cooling horses. There was even a water hose at one of the water stops out on the trail that I used to hose Bo down, boy was that nice!
At the last water stop about six miles out I stayed for quite some time letting Bo eat hay and sponging him down. Since there were only a dozen riders and I was in the middle of the pack I knew I had plenty of time and would still top ten. No reason to hurry up, Bo would benefit more by eating and getting cooled down than he would be hurrying up in the heat to get finished.
The ride to the finish was nice, a very slight breeze came up that felt great. I walked where the sand was deep and trotted the rest. We vetted right through at the end and spent a few minutes visiting with Kristen before heading back to camp.
I spent another mostly sleepless night listening to Mr. Fidgety on the trailer. I don’t think I’ll take Bo to a ride again by himself. He’s too obnoxious, and really….you would think that after doing two days in the heat with a heavy coat that he’d be a better camper! On one hand, I am glad that he moves around like he does as it keeps him from getting cold or stiff, or from having any stocking up. I’d really like to get some sleep though. Bo again ate like a monster. We headed home the next morning around 8.
For those that may not know who Bill Thornburgh was or why the AERC has an award named after him, here is a writeup by daughter Callie:
Continue reading Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & Photos