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Dead horse alive-TEVIS part1-IMPORTANT

This is the first part of the story- The second part
IS VERY IMPORTANT and needs to be read by anyone doing
TEVIS- regarding losing your horse. I am committed to
providing information about rescue -and communication
to ALL riders-so NO ONE will ever have to experience
the panic and pain of the horse missing and not have
access to rescue info.! Best wishes to all-and
Remember this name-"Bring Em Back Alive"   This story
was originally sent to Sue Garlinghouse.

Willy weighed 836 pounds last year, This year he
weighed 892 pounds. I spent the last week before ride
stuffing him with wheat hay (what the boarding stable
feeds) AM and alfalfa in the PM, along with two extra
meals of beet pulp and LMF feed. He looked great! Made
sure he was electr.'d etc.( The Tues. b4 I was
cruising ridecamp and saw someone had received a"Tevis
angel" from you (Sue Garlinghouse) -it was a write up
on suggested "stuff' to pack, and I thought -ooo, an
angel!; this will be apparent later in the story.)
Anyway, we took off from Robie he was strong, heart
rate good s, steady, strong pace. He did not drink at
squaw , but did nibble at grass. I had my times
written down from last year so knew the pace I needed
, so He drank at the next 2 stops, I electr at the
stops and took time for him to eat grass and gave him
some handfuls of lmf also- coming into Robinson he
looked great! Amazing. looked better than last year,
and he weighed there at 846-still 10 lbs more than
last years start! At dead wood -After the canyons etc-
he was A- overall and looked great. he had C on skin
tent (on one side only?!) so instead of going on-I
went back to the water tank and hung out some. He did
not drink but a helpful volunteer brought him a very
soupy mash that he actually had to drink. I waited til
he finished, gave him some more electro. and walked
out. We came behind a guy and just easy started down
to Volcano canyon. At this point I decided to go slow
get water blow, get water at Michigan and make up time
on the wider roads after Mich Bluff.   After all he
was strong and healthy and seemed to have energy for
it(thanks again for email article)...BUT about a mile
and a half out of deadwood after the first set of
switchbacks,there was a little straight away where we
picked up a little trot, he flubbed a step, struck his
right leg out to catch himself , the ground was at the
edge, soft, leafy loam on the edge of a very very deep
steep canyon. His foot went off, his face hit the
ground and I pitched forward and we both rolled off. I
got caught in a BUSH- my fat rear wedged in the trunk,
his head in my lap.  For an instant we hung there. I
thought I did not want him to scramble so I was
punching him in the head yelling get off get off- (I
thought I was going to die) he righted his head, his
nose was level with the trail. He tried to get his
front feet up , but as he scrambled, the ground just
gave way so he fell, slipped down. I couldn't see as I
was hung up, kind of upside down. The guy (Gordon
Palmer) who was riding in front stopped, laid down on
the trail- put his hand out to me- one hand still
holding his horse,. He said grab my hand- I was afraid
I didn't have the strength to pull myself up -but I
guess it was do or die and I managed to pull my self
I got picked up from the drag rider about 645 and
taken back up to Deadwood. I told them I had marked
the spot where Willy went off with my half chaps. They
told me I could catch a ride to Foresthill in the
horse ambulance. I got to Foresthill about 830-845. At
midnight tried to find a hotel to sleep. Finally we
did in Sacramento!!(230am) Woke Sunday morning to go
find help to search for Willy. At breakfast I called
Animal Control and the Auburn Sheriff.--They would
call me "if a horse wandered in"  I sent my husband
home with the 2 dogs-so he could take care of our son
and work etc. He said he would call in sick and if I
needed him he would come right up with truck and
trailer. Harriet and I went to Auburn Fairground to
speak with management in high hopes they would have
some names of people who know the area and of some one
, people or agency to help.- Nothing!          At
100pm I set out with my crew person Harriet- with her
4 wheel drive, Knife in my pocket to do the deed if I
had to- flashlight food etc..I had sent my husband
home earlier with truck and trailer and dogs  cuz I
didn't know how long I would be.  He got a call about
2p from "some guy" who was going to meet at Raley's
with jeeps , rope, chainsaws, etc to look for the
"horse"- So we met them there since we were near by
going to Deadwood.  (long story short)  I jumped out
of the car at Raley's- and said "Who are you guys?"-
nobody-just guys who heard a horse went off 22 hours
ago!!! and nothing was being done!- I broke down and
sobbed and overwhelmed since the last 24 hours I was
maintaining for safety and planning. ( I wondered-OH
God- is my very best friend hurt, bleeding suffering
in pain inrocks somewhere? I felt so horrible) Here
were my guardian angels!!!!!!!-(Steve Elliott, Dave
Putnam, and Dale Peterson)  God saves me with a bush
and sent me these guys! A gentleman with a bad hip-who
had been up 36 hours working Tevis and a guy with a
broken arm, and a ham radio operator!!- So off we
went-now rushing against day light -I cant walk that
fast (I'm 51 by the way) and my leg is trashed and
swollen like a fat sausage. - I was going to take them
to the spot. I had left my half chaps there to mark
the spot, the drag riders brought my half chaps back
and left a glow stick.  Steve and Dave, beat us,
me-Harriet and Dale- to the spot; three of us were
coming down the switchbacks when I heard a voice say
"GOOOD Boy."  I could hear the ham operator (sooo
excited)  "He's up on all fours looking very bright!!
and he REALLY wants out !!! We were All crying and
overwhelmed with joy and relief! "
To make a long story short (AGAIN!)  He was in as good
a shape as he was (24 hours w/o water after doing
about 60+ grueling miles)  with your (SUE Garlinghouse
)help.  Because you suggested feeding along the way he
had on his back a portable pail, which I bought
following your suggestion, that we could get water to
him. He ate a little beet pulp too. We made front page
of the Auburn Journal Monday- with a story Willy had
trampled a snake on the ledge he was on- Harriet said
yea Denise there's a dead snake down here ! Any way he
is like me -you should see my fat blue leg!- bruised a
little scrapped, and looking great! (UPDATe @ 8/8- He
looks great! 2 weeks on a grassy pasture at Lacey's
Arabian Ranch in Graden Valley and he could do a 100
today-but I must save him to do drill team at State
Thank You Sue! We got him out about 7 and he  was
walking Fast- I guess he figured he walked in and he
was going to walk out. I had to give him to Dave cuz I
couldn't walk fast enough! 
I am still overwhelmed at being alive myself and at
these men who came from nowhere to help " the Horse".

Denise Thornton ( 

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