Monday, October 24, 2011

Danny's First Show

Saturday, we loaded up Danny (Magdan) and Willie, Monica and Bill's TB and drove to Donida for a schooling show. We had no expectations of any glory, it was just a great chance to get the boys out to see a variety of interesting things at a busy barn. The weather was typically October - rainy, a little gusty and overcast. But, that was fine, as there was an indoor warm up arena and the show was run indoors.

There were plenty of things to look at, from mirrors in the indoor arenas, to costumed horses and riders to a very busy waiting area. Both boys did great. Danny was a little tense to begin with, but as Monica rode him around with all the other horses, he relaxed quite a bit and even enjoyed himself a bit. As usual, Dan the Man didn't put a hoof wrong. While no one would say he was 'perfect', as his bending was a little squiggly (bending away from those scary mirrors and door openings), and he wasn't totally relaxed, he got progressively better in each class, really figuring out what it was that he had to do; follow the other horses, listen to Monica and then line up and stand for a bit. All the other horses gave him confidence - there were very few blow ups I saw, even among the greenies. Mostly, it was people having fun and getting some mileage on their horses.

Bill rode Willie and they did a few slightly harder classes (they included cantering), which has been one of Willie the ex-racehorse's 'challenges'. Willie did great, Bill looked good and they ended with a hunter class (I think that was what it was called) that included 2 tiny crossrails. Willie showed everyone else how to do it and got a well-deserved ribbon.

All in all, it was a very nice day, especially for me, as I was the transportation and moral support. Horse shows are pretty fun if you don't have anything to stress about! I was proud of both boys and Monica and Bill seemed to have a good time.

The only thing I didn't do was bring a camera - that is definately on the Christmas wish list this year!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Home from Tevis!

Jas and Patrick and Steve Hallmark and Tug (in front) finishing Tevis. Monica Bretherton photo.

This year's Tevis was historic for several reasons; first, it was run in October instead of July because of record snowfall. Second, it had to be rerouted 24 hours before start time because of more snow making the high country too dangerous for riding. And third, one purebred Teke and one partbred Teke finished! Yes, Jas and Patrick came through with flying colors, excellent vet scores and a great attitude.

The ride started at 6:30 am on October 8th, in a huge, milling rush. From our vantage point (that of crew), it appeared quite civilized and orderly. We later heard that was a bit deceiving. Horses were very amped up, some riders made unplanned dismounts, and several people ended up riding a much different race than they had planned. After the start, Monica, Alice and I walked back up to the Auburn fairgrounds (and up and up and up) where we were camped. We then broke camp and headed to Forest Hill where the 2 out vet checks were located. We were in convoy with the crew of Linda Fisher's Kenlyn group, who had brought Jas and Patrick with them from Colorado. This was great for us too, as they were a lovely group that most importantly, knew what they were doing. We just helped out as we could and watched and learned.
We watched the front runners come into the ForestHill vet check (Dennis Summers, Rachel Shackelford and Jeremy Reynolds, but don't quote me on that) and watched what their crews did. We had a bit of a wait until our first riders came in. The group of 7 horses and riders had split into two, which made it a bit easier for us to take care of them. The horses all looked good and the riders were very happy (mostly, a few 'bobbles' in there). After they vetted through they had an hour hold. Then, it was onto the 20 mile loop that we later heard was down and up (or vice versa) a canyon. This loop took a toll on quite a few horses and riders. Inde and Monica Bennett were pulled at Forest Hill, although I don't remember if she did the loop or not. Inde wasn't recovering as he should, so they made the correct decision and pulled. He looked great later, so maybe next year!
Our horses and riders came back in, once again in two groups. This time we had it down - tack was pulled at the water troughs before the in-timer, any sponging necessary was done there and then they walked up the hill to the in-timers, pulsers and vet checks. Once again, all our horses vetted through. Another hour hold and horses and riders rested and ate. They left for the ride home in two groups, and Steve Hallmark, on his big arab Tug went out about a minute after the group Jas was with. Once they were gone, we broke camp and drove back to the fairgrounds. We missed the first finishers, but once we were set back up, we watched some happy riders come in. Then, we took a few hours to rest and were back at the finish for our riders to come in. The first group came in somewhere around 2:15 am (not sure exactly) and Jas and Steve came in right around 3 am. The last two came in a little bit later. All the horses vetted through and were fine at their hour check (they did a post-ride check at about an hour after the completion vetting to catch any problems). We then poulticed legs, wrapped those that needed it, made sure everyone had full hay bags and tubs of beet pulp and went to bed. When we got up a few hours later, the riders were tired but looked great and the horses were the same. Amazing after 100 miles!
We went to the awards banquet, watched each rider get their completion awards and heard a bit more about the amazing reroute that had to be done to make this year's Tevis happen. The organizers should be immensely proud that they could reroute a 100 mile ride and get all the vet checks and volunteers organized in such a short time. I heard that their were 4 volunteers for each rider; at 170 riders, that is 680 people to re-organize within 24 hours. That everything worked smoothly was a real testament to organization and hard work. Sunday afternoon, we all packed up and left the fairgrounds, Jas and her group towards Colorado, Monica, Alice and I to Steve Hallmark's driveway for the night. We arrived back in Seattle Tuesday and now have to catch up a weeks' worth of work.
This was a wonderful trip and really made me appreciate the time, dedication and hard work that goes into making a hundred mile horse. I won't say I'll never ride a hundred (never say never), but both Monica and I agreed that we'd like to ride the Tevis trail in much smaller chunks, preferably in good weather, at a leisurely pace. But, who knows what the future will bring?
We also need to thank everyone that donated money and items to Jas to make this trip possible. Without the support of the Teke community and her friends and family, she wouldn't have been able to go and be the first purebred Akhal-Teke to finish Tevis! Thank yous will go out soon.