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Happy at the Biltmore

Well Folks,
    My family and I enjoyed this ride (after all was said and done) and you can already guess, both the horses we crewed for did finish.
     My daughters ( 40 and 36) rode Timex, a 14 yr. old App. currently competing and Firecracker, a retired Arabian endurance horse (1600 miles). The girls are excellent riders, but had not done much trail riding or endurance. It was hard to get the "hunter-jumper" daughter into tights and the Troxel helmet. The other one pondered long over what color of tights to wear. Looking good was a priority on their list! My, how things changed during the day!
    Julie and I had coached them on the major things they needed to know and even tried to teach them Angie's sponge trick! They did very well on pacing themselves, which included using most of the allowed time, and taking care of the horses.
    They were absolutely determined to finish, stayed focused on the plan and thoroughly enjoying the trail. Since they had not done much trail riding, they came off of every loop talking about how the horses took care of themselves etc. The other thing they kept talking about was "those 100 milers, don't they ever walk?"
    As they came off the second loop, they were very quiet and their eyes were taking on "that look"! But, food and water revived them and they tackled the last loop with great happiness!
    I was worried about the vet check being crowded, but that worked out and we were eventually able to use the tent next to us. I did growl at the timers when they would not let me meet our riders with water, but Julie grabbed my arm and dragged me away!
    We tried to pay attention and figure out what was going on, which entertained Julie and me as we waited for the riders to return each time.
    Firecracker was only used temporarily, but I want Timex to be a high mileage horse. To me, the greatest thing about our sport is the open-ended opportunities, to race/ ride for mileage, do LD - multi-day, compete on the international level  or set other goals. I feel that AERC rules cover most of our scenarios and FEI will finally fit into the picture somewhere for all of us.
    Thanks to Anne Ayala, and all the volunteers! Management of this ride was not an easy task!
Congratulations to the finishers! A tiny tear for the non-finishers! Next year I could be in the sad group. My phlisophy: "To finish is to win" To not finish is to lose.  Being nowhere is worse than not winning! The end. Ann Cofield

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