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Fw: [naturalhorsetrim] Sunland 50 mile ride --- barefoot

----- Robyn told me I could post this on ride camp.................

> Just got back from having a wonderful time at the Sunland 50 mile ride.
For those of you not familiar with the ride, the terrain is rugged/hilly
with rocks, rocks, and more rocks (almost the whole way). Big rocks, little
rocks, sharp rocks, sharp jagged rocks, ankle twisting rocks, you name it we
encountered it. It is known as the most difficult ride in the region for
having both rocks and hills. The terrain is pretty much a barefoot horse's
worst nightmare for 50 miles.
> At the pre-ride vet in Dr. Hewitt asked me " Are you really sure your
horse can handle going barefoot over these kind of rocks?" I assured him
that I had been conditioning on very rocky terrain, and that he completed
the Eastern High Sierria Classic 50 barefoot (very rugged/rocky ride) and
rocks don't phase him.
> I started off at the back of the pack. Adelante (Wiley) is young (age 7),
so my main goal is keeping him calm and relaxed at the start of the ride.
This was his 5th  50 miler barefoot. Once he's calm, relaxed, and traveling
efficiently, then I let him pick up the pace and pick off the other horses.
The first 13 miles is pretty much all uphill. There was some really nasty
sharp rocky sections, but Wiley handled them just fine.
> When I got to the first vet check mile 13. Wiley pulsed down right away.
The vets intently watched him at the trot out and said "Wow! he's doing
really good!"
> Some of the 25 milers racing past us to the lunch stop (their finish line)
at 25 miles, frazzled his brain a bit. So we did lots of brain training in
this stretch. It slowed us down a bit, but I figured it was more important
to be successful with training his brain, rather than blasting senselessly
down the trail with a frazzled horse.
> At the lunch stop he got all A's once again, and his trot out was
> Going out for the last 25 mile loop is where it all started coming
together. Wiley was a dream to ride. He was forward, but relaxed and light
on the rein and moving very efficiently (I was glad we took the time out to
do the brain training ). We had several miles of horribly rocky stretches in
the riverbed washes. The rocks were the sharp jutted up type rocks (This is
where you pray you don't fall off your horse).  It was pretty mushy for a
few miles, and I did worry that his feet may soften up a bit . But, Wiley
handled it all just fine, and picked his way through the rocks, and even
wanted to trot through them. So we trotted in the spots that weren't
dangerous. We passed several horse/riders, then had a good climb and
downhill, then came into vet check 3 at mile 31. Dr. Hewitt was really
amazed at this point. He gave Wiley all A's and after the trot out he said "
You know, I think this the best horse we've seen so far! You're riding him
too slow. Pick up the pace,  I'm serious."
> So the next section to vet check 4 was a long climb/switchbacks with more
rocks. Wiley climbed the hill like it was nothing. We passed more
horse/riders. Then we came to a long downhill canyon trail that took us to
the vet check. It was rocky also, but Wiley seemed to know exactly where to
put his feet. We came into vet check 4 at mile 42. Our vet, Dr. Beasom was
there, and vetted Wiley. The trot out was on a rocky road. He was really
amazed that a barefoot horse could make it to this point with no lameness or
even ouchiness at all.
> The next nine miles to the finish was the easiest part of the ride. It was
wide fire road with some rocks and gravel. It was another good climb to the
top. Then there was a steep rocky downhill back to the wash. Going through
the wash there were lots of sharp jagged rocks. We rode with Jackie
Bumgardner and her friend to the finish line. Wiley trotted through the
rocks like he was one of the shod horses. The last little bit was a nice
sand road, and we cantered at a relaxed canter to the finish line. We
finished with a group ( 5 of us coming in at the same time), so we ended up
placing 24th out of 44 horse/riders (39 horse/riders finished).
> Twenty minutes later I vetted him in. Again his trot out was incredible.
He acted like he didn't do anything. Dr. Rebecca Florio was very impressed,
and gave him all A's. She said he looked real good.
> I checked his feet at the end of the ride, and he practically had any
noticeable wear other than his toes were rolled over a bit more. He had no
> Many people were amazed that a barefoot horse could finish this ride.
Typically, most pulls for this ride are for lameness. I guess the word got
around, as people I didn't even know came up to me after the ride and at the
awards/dinner, and congratulated me on how great he looked, and how awesome
his trot outs were. Someone asked the ride manager at the dinner/awards if a
barefoot horse had ever completed this ride doing the 25 mile or 50 mile
ride. She said "No, not to her knowledge".
> It's not so much that he finished this ride, or even that he finished the
ride barefoot. The part that tickles me the most is that he didn't flinch
even once going over all these rocks, he was incredibly comfortable doing
the ride, his trot outs were consistently awesome,  and especially how great
he looked the whole way. Of course completing the ride barefoot is icing on
the cake. Truly a most satisfying feeling.
> Robyn
> [Way to go Robyn!!!!!--Yvonne]
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