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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

July 12, 2014

Summer Breeze Make Me Feel Fine...

Summer Breeze was put on by the Daniel Boone Distance Riders, held at Deam Lake horseman's campground, Borden Indiana.  We set out from home Thursday afternoon with a planned route on how best to get there seeing I'd never been before.  About half way there we encountered a dreaded ROAD CLOSED sign and had to reroute.  The hour and half trip became closer to three hours with all the rerouted traffic.  We eventually did manage to get there and honestly the worst part was finding the actual rented camping spot as they weren't all that well marked. I was glad that LSEGH was with me as the camping spot was tight and situated between two trees and I figure the forestry would be happier with me if I did not ram them with great gray monolithic time machine.  We were there, and there was actually pretty nice!  Showers, restrooms, all those nice little perks.  

The trees also afforded us shade which was good for me, and good for my horse.  Water was within twenty feet, and there was a little green strip where I could hand graze Journey now and then.

We went through the usual procedure of getting signed in, turtles donated, then  paid up, and a letter on her hip.
Vetted in and trotted out for soundness.

And prettied up for the party.

Bella Boopster (ride dog)

I was sure I wanted to ride Friday, and wishy-washy on Saturday dependent on how we were handling the heat.  Electrolytes were on the menu for both Journey and myself from the time we got settled in.  She was dosed night before, morning of, at the half, and post ride.  I was dosed the same with my human electrolytes made by HAMMER.  The recommended dosage for me was 2 capsules every hour, so I was below recommended dosage, but since I hadn't used them before I was trying to be cautious since high sodium can cause other health issues for me, sort of a risk vs. risk thing.  So at this point in our adventure we were all set!  Just needed a good night's sleep, saddle up the spotted pony and ride.

I DID NOT SLEEP.   I hate that I can not sleep the first night camping.  Don't know why it is, but it makes for a miserable long night, and doesn't put me on my own best performance when I really need it.  Maybe I should take benadryl or excedrin p.m. or something.  Since I was awake anyway, I got up at one o'clock and gave Journey a wet beet, oat, hay cube mash, and retrieved her hay bag from the bushes where she had managed to take it down, and toss it down an incline which left her hayless.  Crawled back up into my bunk, and managed to fitfully dose for an hour.  The clock did finally roll around to 4 a.m. and I took Journey for a stroll so she could pee, and she had held it all night by the sound of things and the moaning and groaning going on.   By 5 a.m. I began getting myself ready, boots on Journey, and stayed fairly busy until our show up time of 6:15.  I rode her some at a walk, but opted out of trotting pre-ride this time.  It tends to make her excitable and cranky in a crowd of others doing the same.  We just found us a spot, and she nibbled grass.  The trail was called open and we filtered in somewhere mid-back in the pack.  She wanted to pick up the canter, and it was a bit strong.  I let her go just a little while and then pulled her off, let the faster traffic  behind us pass, and we settled in behind Stacie Johnson and her pretty Morgan horse.  Stacie's gelding runs about the same general speed as Journey so we just hung with them and it worked out okay.  Journey seemed to like the other horse, drank readily from the tubs set out for the horses, and didn't throw snarky faces or offer to bite him, kick him, or any other surly behavior.  When I would change places with Stacie though, Journey would kind of suck back wanting to hang with the gelding and I told her to just stay in front, or it would hurt her ride time.  Much of the first loop we were trotting 8-9 mph, which gave us plenty of time for walking hill, after hill, after rocky hill.  The trail was the best marked I have ever encountered.  At no point did I feel uncertain of being where I was supposed to be, and I will say that riding with someone as opposed to solo at least gives a person someone to problem solve with as turns and direction go.  It also lends a sense of security in case you or your horse should be in real trouble, knowing someone could sound the alert.  Not far into this loop we encountered a group of LD riders that were pulled over, one having blown out an easyboot.  It was the same group that I'd pulled off for earlier as they had up a pretty good head of steam.  Their set back moved us up in position by about four notches, and they never gained that ground back.  Stacie and I weren't blazing the trail but we were definitely running a consistent speed.

Trails out there were bone dry, and the dust was horrible being kicked up in a fine cloud by the horse's hooves.  It worried me with Journey's respiratory issue that she'd inhale too much of that  and I tried to steer her to the other lane whenever possible to try and minimize her sucking in too much of the dust cloud.  We had a few instances where she caught the toe of her boot on root or rock and nearly took a header.  Her action is so low to the ground and she just doesn't always account for the boot.  Regardless, we managed, and cruised into the  hold.

We had a pump up sprayer with iced down water in it, orange buckets for sponging, and a big tub for her to drink from, and a hay bag which she never touched.
Journey pulsed in immediately to my suprise and then it was on to the vet check.

Where she trotted out like a champ! Does she look like a distance horse or what?

We had a 40 minute hold, and it was getting hot. Journey spent a good portion of her break munching on grass.

And off we headed solo for the second loop.
We weren't a mile down the trail when I kick her into a nice strong canter, and suddenly she had a serious hitch in her gait...I ride a bit farther...and it is worse. She stops and refuses to move.  We were on a hard packed gravel road and I thought maybe she has wedged a rock in the boot.  So I stop her, unclip my rein so I can hang on to her and check the boot.  It had come off and was up around her ankle.  At first I thought it was the weird thing where it pops over and you need wire cutters to release it, but it only required me to release the pastern strap, and reapply the boot.  As I'm in the process of this Stacie comes trotting up on her horse having caught me with the boot mishap.  So I remount and we are right behind them again, and again it went like that for the rest of the loop.  The horses just move pretty much the same speed and nobody was going to lose anybody for long, so may as well just roll with it.  By this time it was hot, and quite a bit more humid.  By the time I was about an hour out from the finish I had no water left and was feeling a little squirrelly like I do before I have a heat related illness.  I kept thinking ...come on ride camp.  Becoming more concerned about caving in out in the woods than a completion.  So we made it back none too soon.
Stacie timed in first as she had lead most of the day, and I followed.  Between the two of us it would come down to efficiency in the pulse gate and I had an advantage....LSEGH with the pump up sprayer of ice water.  Her pulse dropped like a ROCK.  You could just see bliss on Journey's face when the mist hit her neck.  We weren't two minutes being ready for the pulse gate.
On next to the final vet in...

And trot out.

Her final vet scores were A's across the board.

So a little rest for the Spotted Wonder and some electrolytes and fluids for me then to the ride meeting seven hours later to find out our placement.

Snoozing in the sun.

 Journey placed 6th in the LD which was middle of the pack.  Job well-done my spotted one.  Job well done. ☺

***Her final vet scores. Evil person that I am I've blocked out my ride time.  I will announce the tack winner when official ride time is posted on the AERC website. Usually a week sometimes two.  For those that entered after July 10th, my apologies, but rules stated July 10th as last date to enter.  I felt in fairness nobody should be able to enter once I'd entered the ride.


  1. Congrats on your completion! Glad you were both able to beat the heat.

  2. Show us your horse water mister! I bet Journey loves your minimalist bridle in that hot weather.

  3. Congrats! You both look great :)

  4. You do both look really great. She was certainly enjoying HER nap. Did you get one? Congrats on the finish; 6th sounds pretty darn good to me.
    Bionic Cowgirl