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

May 17, 2015

INDY 50/25 LD Hoosier National Forest

This ride was hosted by The Daniel Boone Distance Riders and thank goodness for them, as they put on most of our Indiana rides.   The Hoosier National Forest is a 202,000 acre Forest.  It has miles and miles and miles of hiking and horse trails.   Indy's ridecamp was out of the Hoosier Horse Camp which had electric (electric!) to run my fan from an extension cord, sometimes it is the little things.  Nice camp though, and easy access to the trail head.  Journey has not had a whole lot of hill work this year, the winter weather just hung on forever, so we did what we could but the amount of training was not conducive to a 50 mile one day ride.  So I set my sights on a multi-25 (which may have been too lofty of a goal considering day to was a quagmire of slick clay mud, like skating on ice at times).
All the holds were with all tack off, which ate into our total ride time significantly and the 40 minute hold as well as you had to tack back up.  Barely time to pee, and eat!
My ride goal was to attempt to bring home 50 points for our team "The Green Machine".  I figured worse case scenerio 25 points as we had slipped in the TEAMS standings as it heated up for the rest of my team members out west.    The weather on Friday was intermittently sunny and breezy, and spitting rain, only to switch back to nice just as quickly.  It was a beautiful day to ride in one of the nicest forests in the state.

Day one started out with the Spotted Wonder thinking she had entered the Preakness.  Ears tipped forward, a little bit pushy and wanting to pull.  We sat at the start and hung back just a little as I hoped to avoid the front runners as that is not my style and Journey is still trying to learn the ropes of the sport.  If she gets too head up she wants to go all bucking broncho and we did not need any of that.

We ended up waiting a bit and followed out a lady on a fairly young Kentucky Mountain horse that had a beautiful 8 mph gait.  I'm trying so hard to remember her last name, she was SO NICE, and I'm pretty sure her name was Carol and that she lives in Kentucky.  Our horses did alright together,  and we like-minded in pace so we just switched the lead now and then and rode our ride.  The trails were dry, and beautiful, with pines so tall soaring overhead, and just the stillness and our horse's breath.  My zone...

Waiting for the pack to disappear into the forest....
Journey did well day one.  The field was rather small (maybe 12 riders) and we placed seventh and she was invited to stand for BC.  I had no illusions of actually winning that but figure Journey could use the experience.  We had a nice dinner served up of deep friend chicken, hojo potatoes, and baked beans, won a cool mug and our completion t-shirt.  Ka-ching!  25 points for The Green Machine.

I got Journey settled in for some chow and a good nights rest.  Climbed up into my bunk and was just starting to doze off when BOOM big clap of lightening.  I came bailing out of the trailer and looked outside where it was just going dark and a hot streak of lightening explodes from the sky...and my standing next to a steel trailer, in an open field, and it is going to pour rain besides the threat of electrocution.   I had the foresight to rent a stall but had not used it as I wanted her to be able to wiggle around a little so she would not stiffen up over night.    Not to be!  I had to grab the pony and run full tilt through the field to the barn with lightening cracking and the rain starting to pour down.  (did you ever notice that rides and rain are a common theme with me here in the Midwest?).  I cram The Spotted Wonder into her stall and she looks at me like ARE YOU CRAZY?  There are no horse buddies anywhere in this row of stalls WHAT THE FRIG ARE YOU THINKING (yes, I read her mind), so I stand with my spotted goofball while the wind picks up with a bit of hail, and then the heavens literally poured buckets of rain for hours.  Kiss those dry trails goodbye sister!

Day 2
If you look hard at the photo you will see my shirt says "I'm here for the Win"  I thought it was rather funny since I have about zero interest in in where I end up as long as we ride to our App-titude, enjoy the trail, and complete.
Journey as usual had other ideas as you can see by my choke-hold on the beast, and we did a u-turn and gave EVERYONE a nice head start.  I followed out another rider on a gaited horse who's speedy walkin' thing just left us in the dust.  We did catch up to her later, and a few of the Green Beans in attendance at the ride, had some conversation and politely asked permission to pass, as I figured I need to get a handle on the first loop because the second one was gonna be a struggle.  I was right.  The entire 25 miles I could feel her rear traction just slipping and sliding and the only way you could make it stop was walk, and walking at Journey's speed will not get the job done.  I'd opted for easyboots for this ride and I debate that any kind of composite boot is worthwhile in slippery conditions.  I may as well have been on ice skates.   Though we did beat the clock, she failed the trot out lame on the right rear.  I still had time left 25 minutes and was asked to come back for a recheck.   I took her back to the trailer and LSEGH applied a blanket to her rump muscles and her hamstrings were tight as a fiddle string from the hills and the mud.   I started a deep massage from the rump all the way down the back of her leg.  Also took off the gloves and put her Rennies on as she had a pastern rub from the gloves.  We went for the trot out and I honestly didn't have much hope....but she passed it.  That said I'll never put my horse through a ride that muddy for back to back LD's.  My girl is stiff and sore in her hind end.  She has worked most of it out today, but I have a ride coming up in 2 weeks.  Figure she is going to do nothing but be a horse for the next five to seven days and see how things look before we even try a training ride.   I don't want to blow our summer.  We took home another 25 points for our team, but it was probably a bad call on my part, though I had no idea the trail would be that slick until we were already out there.  It was not deep mud, but that skim that just slides the hoof all kinds of direction.  One for the learning curve I guess.  She was also competing against fresh horses that did not compete the previous day except for one.  Even so my Journey greeted me at the fence today like what's up ?  She is a sweet little horse.  So two down, and hoping to attempt another in two weeks. Stay tuned...

End of trail...

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