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Darolyn's report - Pres Mill Race , Part II

Up early this AM & out to Alwatha (sp) (where race is & horses stabled).
Rode Quister an hour.  Such an experience to be riding along looking at the
small herd of Gazelles that are inside the race track area,  their tiney
tracks are everywhere... just like deer tracks at home.  But instead of the
egret tracks like we're used to, there are huge Emu tracks, as one of those
guys is wondering around too.  Off to the south, one can see the Falcon
rookery & the mountain they built for their falcon competitions.  I
understand they
take it more seriously than the horse racing.  Off to the west I see the
small bands of racing camels being exercised with their colorful blankets
on.  They spend up to 3 Million dollars on their best camels... (and we
thought they spent a lot on horses).  On every high point in eyes reach are
magnificent compounds that belong to this or that Sheikh.  About half way
thru my hour I paired up with a native rider on a nice dark gray.  The horse
was young & he was being worked slow.... we rode together for the next half
hour & spoke in halting English as he didn't have much english to call on
and my Arabic hasn't kicked in yet. ;-).

On returning to the stable area, I went down to the newly provided camel
(for desenthization).  Not too surprised, when after a couple of initial
startles... Quister was actually just curious and I believe would have
sniffed noses with her if she would have cooperated.  Then... his bath,
breakfast & a roll in his private "tiny" paddock.

We've just come back to the hotel for lunch & then back to the stables later
to meet some of our "suppose" ride crew & practice a bit.
Did lunch & then back to compound... Cowboy & I picked a couple of likely
grooms & started training them on how to crew.  They were apt learners so we
should be ok.  {In actuality.. race day, not only our two trained boys, but
a small army of natives & American friends almost had us begging people to
back off,}

Jan 22
Just a quick daily report.  Had dinner last nite with the Knavy Navy.
Larry, Valarie, their farrier, John Alexander, & Dr. Beecher, their personal
vet for the competition.  Laura Whaley Pearson arrived late last nite.
She's Ron's daughter who brokered the sale and lease of the horses.  The
(turned down to ride) group had a conference call with the AHSA this AM at
5:00.  I don't believe anything was really settled except for repeating that
if Michelle rode there wud be repercussions.  Turned out that the people in
the hearing weren't real well versed in "Endurance" & what was required for
an intl. competition.  We need to get this cleared up!

Out to the stable early this AM...  Quister had gotten a small kick
yesterday when turned out in the paddock.  Iced him & finished clipping some
more hair off.  Then took tour of Loops 1 2 3 5 by vehicles.  Pretty
interesting.... lots of sand & dunes & camels!!!!  Took lots of pics.  &
video.  Getting ready to head back to barn (just came in for lunch) & will
ride a bit.  Tomorrow is suppose to be vet check in, however, as of yet, we
have seen no schedules or anything.  I'm sure someone will point us in the
right direction though.
Must run... they're waiting on me... off to the briefing
Had our rider briefing in "the big tent".  About 100 yrds X 100 yards....
Big screen TV intro'd the event, than went through all the particulars by
video presentation.  PRETTY IMPRESSIVE!!!!  This is goina be fun.  Still
warned that there will be about 100 cars with the 100 riders out on the
course.  That won't bother Quister... in fact, kinda scary, cause he isn't
scared enough of vehicles to stay out of their way.  I just can't imagine
what it must be like to have that kind of chaos out on course.  We're trying
to decide if Cowboy Mark should follow me around the desert or stay & be
ready for me in the vet check.  Hard decision.

Jan 23
Well... we're in to "count down" now.  I'm starting to get excited!!!  Had
the "vet in" yesterday.  The grooms led the horses down from our quarantine
area, (that was after Shaikh Monsiur's vet, Dr. Andrew, gave a quick check
over ), to the race base camp.  Its less than a mile from our barn.  We all
walked in, collected our passports which had been created since I got here,
checked with the registrar, weighed, (yuk--no problem making weight) &
trotted the horse.  Quist & the others all looked great.  NO problems at
all.  Maybe I shudn't complain about the weight thing.  Both Betty Baker &
Nina Gibson we're having a devil of a time making weight.  They changed from
the new 155 pound minimum to 165 which was the old standard.  They were
really scrambling to fill up bottles with sand, find lead weights & gel pads
to make up the difference.

Rode for an hour... Quister was magnificent.  Had to keep a steady hold on
him the whole time.  Interestingly enough, I had never used a heart monitor
on him, so when I tried one yesterday, I was not terribly surprised with its
findings, but they were even more exaggerated than I had imagined.  I always
knew he was an efficient "galloper", (probably have CeCi to thank for that
since that was her favorit gait", but couldn't believe the numbers.

At an easy trot he was 112 or so, then as he moved into the big trot he went
all the way up to high 120s & 130.  The moment he would break into his
canter, it would start to drop.  When he was in that little baby doll canter
it would go as low as 108 & up to 113.  That's about a 12 mile an hour
canter.  Soooo... U know what I'll be doin' come  tomorrow.  So much for the
"big Trot" campaign.

He's eating well & the spot where he got kicked doesn't look too bad... just
a little touchiness & slight swelling.  We're icing & poulticing pretty

All the rider/ahsa stuff has been settled.  Betty Baker is back on Corky,
Michelle is definitely not going to ride & everyone seems satisfied... (at
least those that are riding).  Some disappointment in the others, but they
seem to understand there is a "sticky wickett" protocol that has to be
followed within the Intl. auspices.

Welll... once again.  The car is waiting... I'll try to touch base before
the race again. but don't know if possible.  If not... I'll get back as soon
as I can.  Wish us all luck.
Love to all.
djbd & the Cowboy

Jan 25
Whew!!!!  Its over... what a day.  Came into the hotel barefooted (from
getting my foot massage on way home) & was too embarrassed to trek into the
business center to e... also a bit weary!!  What a race.  Started and
maintained a 12-14 mile an hour average through out.  Slowest loop was 3rd
quarter... he had shown a tiny bit off in vet check, vet didn't see it, but
Grace ramsey did, so we iced like crazy, then didn't push that loop.
Decided later that he had bumped his old splint bump & he was just ow-ing a
bit.   We
had a terrible head wind.... used my goggles off & on all day long.. still
got lots of sand in my eyes.  He came in better that loop, but we got passed
by two riders about a mile out, pushed a bit to keep up with them & it cost
me in VC... slowest recovery all day.  6 Min., most had ben 2-4 min.
recoveries.  Left on last loop in 6th place... 1 min. behind 5th place, 11
min. behind 1-2 riders... only a 10 mile loop.  Caught 5th place about have
way around loop.  Worst loop of the day as far as deep sand went.  It was a
key hole & almost all the key hole was fetlock deep sand.  Shannon (Aus)
(5th place) drafted off of me for about 2 miles after I caught her, then
when we were a about 1.5 from finish started to really get after her horse
to try to leave me.  Quister really doesn't respond to whipping, so I just
jockeyed up on him, shouted encouragement & he just kind of toyed with her
by barely staying ahead for almost 1/2 mile.  Then her horse gradually tired
& Quist just kept his little baby doll canter going, less than a mile out
from the finish line we passed a horse who was being loaded into a trailer.
He had fallen in the finish line sprint.  This moved me up to 4th.
{At the time I didn't know if this horse was a lead horse or a horse coming
onto the last loop-- upon reaching camp was told that it was a Spanish
female rider & she and the first two horses were racing in.  I had been
trying to spot soft spots in this manicured part of the tract every trip in
and out & had hoped I wouldn't be tempted to race in as they did look a bit
dangerous to me.  So... to set the record straight, the horse did not
collapse out of exhaustion... he simply hit a very deep sandy place at full
speed.  They did a full flip & crash.  I understand the rider was ok, just
well shaken, and I saw the horse later my self, & he was fine.}

Back to my finish.   After Shannon slowed to a walk, I allowed Quister to
trot and slow canter on in.  Still made 4 minutes on her & was truly
thankful "racing in" was not a temptation.  BC looked as if it might be
within our grasp.  Took a few minutes to recovery... (too many people around
I think---where did they all come from).  He was well spent, but over all in
good shape for a 8:12  100 miler.  Winner did it in 7:49.  Unbelievable!
This was Quister's & mine fastest 100 ever.  Our average speed was 19.48 Km,
around 13 mph.  They spit out wonderful stats at each VC, & his speed only
varied about .5 mpkm on each loop.  Its only taken about 20 years... but I'm
finally following my own advice of -- Steady, consistent pace... don't do
the first loop any faster than U think U can do the last loop.    My arms
were quite sore as I had to pull him back for the first 40 miles... then my
legs/feet got sore from standing at a gallop so much.  The short canter was
his primary and best gait.  The heart monitor proved it over and over, when
even at the 80-100 mile point he was still cantering at a 108-113 heart

The other North Americans there were proud, cheering and really supportive.
Valarie K. also finished, (She rode one of the Shaikhs horses, Damien, when
she decided that she didn't want Jedhi to go), Nina and Betty had bad luck,
"Goat" went off slightly, & Corky got "sanded" (tired of that stuff).

Art Preiz was there, not only cheering us, but making sure the game was
played fair and right.  He attempted to get them to enforce the "no crewing
between P stops", but had no luck... those Arabs wanted their water, so in
the middle of the race, an announcement was made that you could be crewed
anywhere.  Now actually, this leveled the playing field somewhat as some
competitors had lots of crew already handing them water on course.  IMHO
however.... that is why the race was so quick.  If you can imagine pouring a
liter of water over your horse every 1/4 mile or so, almost every step of
the way... you can imagine how much cooler & more efficiently he's going to
run.  I actually would like to see high level competition (any & everywhere)
have "no contact" with the crew.  Let management furnish unbiased helpers at
P stops & make it a true contest of horse conditioning & rider skill, and
not skewed by who has the best pit crew with the most hydro-toys, (big
tanks, sprayers, bottles and communication devices).  One rider even rode
with a head set on.  I trust he was talkin' with his mom back home. ;-)

Most riders, were weighed at least once during the competition & all top ten
were weighed immediately upon crossing the finish line... no one was allowed
to touch you or the horse until the rider took the saddle into the weighing
room.  That was handled quite well.  Then soon after your completion check,
all horses went into the hospital, where blood was drawn & urine collected
under absolute circumstances.  (Rider observation & signatures required)

Then the BC Check.   I believe 6 or 7 of the finishers checked.  Shaikh
Maktoums horse was BC... he finished 10th... 1.5 hrs off winner... go
figure...  They didn't calculate weight or time I don't think.

Cowboy was awesome crew, everyone loves him here.  He helped coach the
Shaikh's helpers into proper crewing manuevers.  ;-)

All in all, I had a great time.  The people treated us all with great
respect and comaradarie.  I visited with riders from 10 different countries
probably, as I made my way around the course.  Great horses and great riders
are a wonderful combination anytime.  I believe 54 finished out of 84
starters.  Actually a better percentage than most high level competitions.
The vets were on their toes and no super emergency treatments were done all
day... a small quantity of preventative fluids on a handful of horses was
pretty much it.  Lameness was picked up quickly and in most cases, these
high level riders pulled themselves when they became aware of it.

Ride Camp comments;
Reading the news story on endurance net about the millenium cup I was very
saddened to see a "one liner" about a horse "biting the dust and
collapsing".   Is the value of that horses' life of so little consequence
compared to the outcome of the race there?  I would hope it was just very
poor reporting.

DJ:  And it was, (poor reporting), as mentioned in the story above, the
horse hit a soft spot in the sand at a pretty good gallop.

Does anyone know if the Sheiks change the name of the horses they buy here
America?  Are any of the winning horses, in the Millenium Cup, American
If so, what breeding? How old? etc.
DJ:  They do occasionally change their names... obviously Conquistador was
N. American bred... (Canada to be exact).  He is 7 (almost 8).  That is the
age they prefer to buy, but they do buy up to 12 I suppose in unique
circumstances.  They actually take very good care of the horses, have quite
regimented training programs and when a horse is useful no more for End. he
goes to a retirement ranch or is given to a family or riding school so that
he continues a useful life.  We were told that they only race 100s 2 or 3
times a year.  That's actually less than my good horses go.

Yes, they are in a bit of a learning curve over there, but they are working
harder than any nation I know to learn and improve the sport by implementing
research and testing as they go.  They have the $$ to do the research that
our vets only dream about.  Hopefully good things will come of it.  &...
note that even with all the heart monitors, fancy treadmills & aluminum
light weight shoes,  a lil' ole Texas horse on his first trip abroad, ridden
by a lil' ole silver haired lady was knockin' on their back doors and havin'
a gas doin' it.  Remember,... that's what the sport is all about... havin'
fun and reachin' for the stars.  Thanks to all that assisted me and Quister
in getting there... special thanks to Sheikh Monsour for making it possible,
a big thanks to Cowboy, my new husband that is the best crew and cheering
squad a lady could have.  Also a sweet thanks to all of you who have called
or e mailed with congratulations!!!

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