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    [RC] Longstreet's Charge - Beth Bennett

    First off, I would like to thank Jim Holland and Flynn for traveling with me at the beginning when my horse was a FREAK!  Once she figured it out things were great for the rest of the day.  I would also like to thank Anna Grizell for her company back to camp, as we had ridden alone for the majority of the day.
    Although Pigeon Mountain is where I do 90% of my training, I was really dreading this ride, knowing full-well that a 25 mile ride up there was difficult, let alone a 50 miler.  I had started the ride two years ago and Paanache ended up pulling a tendon on the first loop.  Last year I did the 25 miler, my first ride back after having my baby, and 25 miles was all I wanted.
    I was also nervous about Longstreets because I was there camping by myself for the first time, without Dave to coach me as to what all needed to be done to prepare for the ride/vet checks/etc.  I knew that he would have our 15 month old son up on the mountain at the vet checks and was doubtful that I would have much help from him as a crew.  I pre-made most all of my electrolytes but one dose, and just ran on faith that somehow I would manage.
    Things went super smooth for me.  My mare was wonderful, the trail was beautiful (difficult, but beautiful), the weather was perfect, and everything was right with the world.  This was only our 6th 50, but for the first time I actually enjoyed myself.  I feel renewed and excited about not only training up on Pigeon Mountain, but also about endurance as a hobby. 
    I was very proud that we completed, and in my opinion, completed well, finishing 19th!  WOW!  I just can't imagine ever doing any better or being more satisfied with a ride.  A ride like that makes me realize that I truly don't care if I ever top 10 or get BC as long as I enjoy my riding like I did at this ride.
    Thank you ride vets, thank you Allen Padgett for going to bat for the horse trails up there, thank you Chattanooga Arabian Horse Club, and to all of the participation by volunteers and each rider there. 
    (Coming to you from Cloud 9.)
    Beth Bennett