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Give Me Liberty

Wow, what a great ride!  And no FEI controversy; only AERC rules here.  haha.

I just love Liberty Run.  I really do.  And it's a fast run, might as well 
call this one a race.  The ride times were really short, as they usually are 

First off, I'd like to say that the ride manager, Vickie Parker, is a genius 
when it comes to keeping the vet lines short.  I've been to enough crowded 
rides, with long vet lines, to know that Vicki has come up with the solution, 
and every Ride Manager who runs a crowded ride (150 or more entries) needs to 
pick up on what Vicki has done at Liberty.

I won't go into detail, but basically, she has staggered the starts by an 
hour to an hour and a half, put the different distances on different trails, 
and the combination of the two meant zero wait at the vet check.  I never 
waited for one horse, except at the pre-ride check.  But on ride day, I never 
waited.  And, for once, I didn't get pulled.

Plus, she cut out one vet check in the 50, which probably means she cut out 
two for the hundred, and that only adds to the fact that I don't think 
anyone, and I mean anyone, ever waited in line, with over 150 riders in 

My hat is off to this woman, and I did tell her everytime I saw her.  She 
could have handled 300 riders, with no vet lines, the way she ran this thing. 
 I'm not joking.  I never saw a 25 miler and I never saw a 100 miler because 
of how she had things staggered.  I could go on and on and on about this, 
cause I hate long vet lines, but I hope you get the gist of it.  She's just 

Speaking of incredible, my gal, Val, was there.  I didn't get a chance to 
talk with her as usual; I'm quite shy and reserved when it comes to Val.  My 
entire persona takes on a transformation when she walks by.  "Howdy, Ma'am," 
I say to her, knowing she has no clue as to who I am.  Just as well; I prefer 
to admire her from afar anyway.  That way nothing gets spoiled.

She won the 100.  I made sure I found that out since I knew I wouldn't be 
able to stick around for the awards (my wife had to work a late afternoon 
shift), which were held on Monday, early in the morning, after the ride, 
which started on Sunday.  Val's ride time was well under 10 hours. Like I 
said, this is a fast ride.  And her horse just looked incredible.  Like he 
could do it all over again.  What a training program she must have.  And what 
a crew!  Val doesn't do a damn thing at the vet checks.  She just rides her 
horse.  After the loop the crew takes over and I don't think she gets out of 
that chair until she leaves to do another loop.  The whole thing just takes 
my breath away.  One day, before I die, I will get up the courage to speak to 
her.  And if she told me, "Howard (in my dreams, I love it when she calls me 
"Howard"), shut up about FEI," I would do so, without question.

Jen and I started our 50 mile run at 6:30 in the morning.  Dance Line was on 
fire, as usual.  I got on him, by way of a concrete picnic table, and off we 
were.  My wife watched as Jen and I took off for the trail.  I really did 
want to finish this one, and I knew that the one vet check that was my 
biggest hurdle, the third one, wasn't here at this ride.  It turned out to be 
the key for Dance and me.

I'll sit down and write about it all, if any of you are interested (I write 
for therapy, so I need you to be my therapist), but right now my butt is 
sore, my legs ache, and I need a nap.  One of many to come.

I don't have any info as to who won what at Liberty.  For this, I do 
apologize, I missed the awards thing, but it was cause of the wife and 
Holiday traffic.  I don't like missing them, mainly cause it's respect for 
the RM, I wanted to be there.  Anyway, I do know Val won the hundred, Jen and 
I did complete.  Lots of pulls in the 100, but not too many in the 50.  And, 
I didn't see one horse, under a tree, with IV's.  

Happy Memorial Day to you, my fellow endurance riders.

Howard (I just love this sport; don't y'all?)

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