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Re: Re: Sky's first ride.

Sorry,  this is long but some of you might enjoy it.

I want to tell you all about my new guy, Sparkling Sky's first 50.  He is my
back up horse to Clovis, my mule.  I got him around the middle of Feb.  He
had completed one ld in Jan.  He is a little firecracker to ride and all 4
legs go which way.  He was very discombooberated in the way he went down the
trail.  He raced on the track so all he understood was run fast and turn
left.  I'll skip all of the training methods I used on him and get to the
ride.  I entered him in the Gamblers Special.  The winds were so bad that my
husband was worried about me driving the 31/2 hrs trip by myself.  70 mph
I called Linda Morelli, a friend of mine and we planned on meeting on down
the freeway
somewhere.  We had each others cell phone numbers and another friend to
travel with.
Three rigs and 3 phones.  That should be safe enough.  It was.
     Sky was a really good boy when we arrived in camp.  The winds were so
bad that I had to lower the jacks on my camper to avoid getting seasick. The
dust was so bad that  I was crunching grit between my teeth.  His hay was
trying to blow back to Calif. so I had to put it in bags for him to eat it.
This was a new experience for him.  He wasnt sure what the bags were all
about.  I laughed at him and told him that the next few days were ALL going
to be full of new experiences.   He vetted in just fine.  He didnt have pads
on so I bought some new easy boots from Linda Flemming.  I foamed them on
and put him in his stall.  He kept smelling his new foot wear.  He ate and
drank well (thank gawd, one obstacle overwith).   I slept thru the alarm the
next morning. (I hate it when that happens.  Its the proverbial nightmare)
Luckily I only overslept by 1/2 hr.
A bit shaken from the alarm clock thing, I dressed quickly and checked on
Sky.  All was well.  The winds had died down and the weather looked
promising.  I saddled him early and walked him around camp as I tightened
his girth.  He was on the muscle and ready to work.  I let all of the other
horses leave before I mounted.  He thought about bucking but a word and
pulling his head around to the side stymied that idea.  I walked out of camp
and he picked up a nice trot as we hit the trail.  He was moving o.k., sort
of like riding an agitated snake!!  He was introduced to "ROCKS" right away.
Being away from other horses he was paying attention to me pretty well.  At
the ride breifing it was explained that there would be new trail on the ride
due to motorcycle destruction.   I was bringing up the rear, so I just
followed about 10 horse butts out in front of me.  I knew we were heading in
a different direction than the ride normally went, but, I still had the "new
trail" thing in my head.  Several miles out the trail turned south and I got
a little panicky.
I yelled to the riders that we were on the wrong trail.  We back tracked and
followed ribbons going north west.   A couple of miles down this trail we
met up with some 65 milers heading towards us.  WRONG WAY!!!! Again!!  Then
some other 50 milers came behind them.  Thats not the right way.
kidding!!!  (choice cuss words flew from my mouth).  About 10 or so riders
were standing out in the Nevada desert trying to figure out the map.  To
shorten this part of the story, we were about 5 miles off trail from the
turnoff.  @#$!%!!!@# I had just put an extra 10 miles on my new virgin
endurance horse.  I cussed myself as we headed down the right trail.  I rode
with an aquaintance of mine for a little while, until her horse kicked me in
the foot.  Fortunately he hit my stirrup.  I let Sky scoot on by him and
headed out at a good big trot.  Now here is where something interesting
happened.  My "snake" has a tuff time letting me ride his left diagonal.  I
could feel him trying to toss me over to the right side.  I insisted that I
ride the left.  All of a sudden he seemed to lengthen underneath me and
balance up.  I was riding his left diagonal effortlessly.  His trot smoothed
out even more and he asked for his neck.  I loosened his rein and he became
a "trail" horse.  Instead of crashing thru the rocks, he began to watch
them.  When the trail made a turn, he turned too, instead of bombing
straight ahead like he was possesed.  He was watching the trail!!!!!!! I was
grinning from ear to ear.  When we reached Bird Springs, the 1st water stop,
there were a few horses still there.  I slipped him in for a good drink and
then fed him the goodies I had brought for him.  Not knowing how much gas
was in his tank, I wanted to make sure that I kept adding fuel back into it,
just in case.  Especially since I had added 10 miles to his day.  I had
removed his bit after realizing he couldnt eat with it in his mouth.  He was
being such a good boy, I went against my better judgement, and attached his
reins to his halter.  I had an idea that he would be o.k..   As I rode up a
steep rocky gorge, I would pull him up and offer him some of the clump grass
that grew along the trail.  At first he couldnt figure out why we were
stopping and I was pushing on his neck.  He lowered his head just to humor
me.  Thats when he noticed the grass.  After the third time of doing this,
he had it down pat.  He even took it upon himself to stop suddenly and grab
for food.  That he got in trouble for. "Only when I say its o.k., do you get
to eat."  As I led him down a steep trail, some of the front runners of the
50 caught me.  I mounted at the bottom of the trail and rode with them.  Sky
got on the muscle and challenged them.  That is sort of his "thing".  Now I
got a little concerned about riding in the halter.   He was fine.  He paid
attention and manuvered well.  There was water was appx. 3 mi. from camp.
We met up with some more horses there.  Sky picked up his pace, not because
he was with the other horses, but because he could see camp.  He started
passing horses so I took ahold of him and kept him in a nice big trot
without bombing down the trail.  I tried to explain to him that these horses
were done and he had another 15 miles to go.  A new vet, one that I had
never met, vetted him at lunch.  "He's fine" just didnt set well with me .
I took Sky over and let him eat and drink while I attended to my chaffed
butt and legs. (wore the wrong tights).  Oh, by the way,  baby powder does
work well!!  That was the first time I had used it on trail beaten skin.
Just before I was ready to leave lunch, I checked Sky's hind shoes.  They
were both loose.  Linda Flemming added a few nails and reclinched the old
ones. Then I had Barney recheck Sky for me.  All  As.    I rode out of lunch
all by myself on a virgin endurance horse.  I didnt know what to expect of
him.  I walked him out of camp and as soon as we hit the trail he bounced
into a long trot and kept on going until we hit the Rocky Pass turnoff.  I
let Sky eat clump grass and go at his own pace as long as it was reasonable.
We had the same water stop 3 mi. from the finish.  Sky recognized where he
was and picked up the pace  but didnt get stupid.  He watched the rocks and
ditches and set a nice reasonable pace.  When we reached the road to the
finish line he was in the most awsome ground eating trot he has ever given
me.  I noticed a green pickup truck stopped alongside of the road.  The
people were watching my fine new endurance horse show his stuff.  Well, sort
of,  it wound up to be some friends of mine that live near base camp.  As I
recognized who they were I waved and yelled for them to meet me at the
finish.  I swelled up with pride as Sky flew over the finish line. Some of
the folks there applauded for him and a few came up to congratulate him.
Karen Chaton took his picture at the finish line.  I cant wait to get it
from her.   As I stepped off of him I almost burst into tears as I said, "
this boy done me proud today!"  He was great.  He had ridden 40 miles out on
the Nevada desert, ALONE! He never complained and never tried to quit.  He
even did an extra 10 miles do to navigator error.  He finished in appx. 10
hrs riding time.     I had planned on riding him the next day also, but,
when I woke up the next morning his left pasturn was swollen.  I iced it and
then took him for a walk and waved Claire out of her motorhome.  I gave her
my meal ticket and showed her his leg.  As I ran my hand down with the hair
I felt nothing but as I drug my hand back up his leg I felt something weird.
He had 2 cactus spikes about the thickness of pencil lead stuck in his leg.
I had to use Claires pliers to pull them out.   Out on the trail, before
lunch, I had noticed a tiny blood spot on his white sock.   He went 20 miles
with those spikes stuck in his leg.  I felt sick about not being more
attentive.  Yet, at the same time I was soooooooo proud of my little
"endurance" horse.      gesa n clovis n sky.

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