Meg and Toady 7. Ride Day - Into the Dark
So, loop 5 - 35 kilometers to go. Toady and Aliya left, looking a little puzzled about going back out without their buddy, but still forward and willing. Madiya jumped into the drivers seat, Grace in front, Juan and I in the back, and off we go. The horses trotted steady as the night fell.

Big orange ball of sun setting, horses trotting, more and more rigs accumulating behind us. (nothing better to do, might as well stay out in the desert a little longer). Music cranked up as we drove beside Heather and Meg - smiles and determination. It was getting chilly now and the wind picked up. We sent a driver back for rump rugs for the horses. It was dark now, we'd come across the water stops, piles of empty water bottles gathered up, a sad looking steward sitting in the dark by his umbrella, faithfully waiting for the last horses so he could pack up and go in. There were probably a dozen rigs following behind, spread out over the course and access tracks, plenty of light to ride by, and a strange sight to behold.

Meg and Heather, Trotting in the Dark

And finally finally finally Toady drank. And drank and drank and drank. Cheering and hollering and she still kept drinking. And drinking. I'm not sure how she was able to even trot again with all that water in her stomach, but she looked very pleased with herself.

Aliya was looking tired - this was the farthest that either Toady or Aliya had gone, and we were all thinking that this was probably far enough. Next time they'd be fitter, it would be easier for them.

Probably enough for this day. Into the final hold, pulsed down fine. Aliya actually looked great trotting - strong and willing, but she was muscle tired.

Steward in the Dark

Toady trotted fine, but was tired, and her pulse was higher than it had been all day (up into the 50's). It was pretty unanimous that enough was enough - the officials were ready to call it a day, it was getting close to cutoff time, 15 more km, not far to go, but what was the point, at this point. and enough was enough.

It seemed sort of a hard-sad day, or maybe I was just tired - though Heather and Meg and Madiya were in great spirits - hard not to appreciate it when the horses give their all, and despite the heat and sand, one receives the gift of an Endurance ride.

Watchful Eye
FEI Website

HH President's Cup
February 17, 2005
Abu Dhabi, UAE

Presented by Endurance Net