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[RC] Bekki's Million Pines Ride Story - Rides 2 Far

I started out to write my ride story, and ended up writing Bekki
Crippen's instead. Million Pines is the friendliest, most pleasant ride
in the world and it was Bekki's first ride several years ago and is still
her favorite.

Josie & I were planning to ride Ben & Kaboot, and Danny Herlong was going
to loan us a horse Bekki Crippen could ride (we hoped.)  To reintroduce
Bekki, she's slightly mentally handicapped, LOVES endurance and has done
this ride for several years on her huge pinto Buddy Bullseye. Buddy is
*well* into his 20's now and just not up to it any more. 

In the past year Bekki *with her own savings* has purchased a nice big 2
horse trailer, a used Ortho-Flex, a horse, and is making payments on a
truck. When we were looking for a horse she wanted a short Arab. I
thought we'd found the horse when we found a 14.1 14 year old Arab who'd
been ridden by the same girl for 10 years...done Pony Club, 4-H, and some
endurance rides! He was cuter than cute. I tried him out all around that
farm, cantered 1/4 mile back to the barn in a large open area, all sorts
of stuff with no problems.  Got him home and put him on the trail and he
was a basket case. I wanted to take him back right then but her mom was
soooo "Oh...we *love* him. Lets try to make it work". I ordered Bekki to
just walk him till she got comfortable with him. (she's got 7 miles of
trails on the farm where they live). Right after that I broke my
collarbone and couldn't go over to ride her so didn't get any more first
person accounts.  

The little horse had the shortest back you ever saw and Bekki's Big Horn
saddle swallowed him. Bekki is about 4'10" and wore size 16 pants. She
had put on about 30 lbs. after her siblings grew up and moved out and
most of it was in the posterior region. We tried my OF on him and it was
much better, but Bekki really overhung the 14" seat. Bekki went home
after trying it and then her mom called and said, "Angie, what's an
Ortho-Flex? Bekki says she has to buy one". >g<

I had a talk with Bekki. I said, "We've got a problem. The size saddle
that fits you is too big for Ballad. The size that fits him is too little
for you. He'd not going to get any bigger. Can you get smaller?" Bekki
just said, "yup". This is a gal who is bull stubborn. I told her "O.K.
you're going to walk at least an hour every day, and go on a diet".
Within a week Bekki had a pedometer. Since it's hard for her to keep up
with time, etc. her mom would record her steps. Next time I saw her her
pants were getting loose. Then our church started up a weight loss
program that I had lost weight on before so I asked her if she'd like to
go. "Yup". So we went. Bekki can now get into a size 10. She still wears
her 16's, just tightens up the belt till all the beltloops touch. >g<   

Meanwhile she was bringing the horse to dressage lessons where Josie
takes and he was a regular deadhead in the ring. I didn't get to see the
trail activity any more. So, after all that dedication things should work
out if this were a Disney movie right? Nope. I finally got to go ride
with Bekki and see the horse was being impossible on the trail. He looked
like a sour barrel horse being pointed at the first barrel. He'd jig,
fuss, sling his head, start hopping up in the front end and spin. I
couldn't believe she'd been riding that horse every day by herself on
that farm all winter. I turned to her mom who was riding Buddy behind us
and said, "That horse is GONE! We're selling him."  She got all sad and
said, "Do you think? Don't you think we could work with him?" UG! I
yelled up ahead (since Bekki's horse *has* to be in front) and said, "Hey
Bekki, hows about you and I go horse shopping for you a *good* horse?" 
Bekki just looked back and said, "O.K. do you want me to walk now?" (she
apparently had to walk the last half of every ride to get home after he
got totally worked up...take notes dieters>g<)

So...here we were 2 weeks till Million Pines which was Bekki's goal all
year...through buying the truck, trailer, horse, dieting... :-((  I was
doing my best to think of a horse who might take her around and
remembered Steam Heat, a small gelding in his 20's, a former fast 50
miler, and 100 mile horse..., and as I recalled very laid back who'd been
turned out to pasture at Danny Herlong's house.  One call, Danny was
willing. We went down and tried him out and It went "not tooo bad". Steam
acted upset at the hackamore but when we put him back in a snaffle at the
house he chilled right out.  Danny had gone to a lot of trouble to go
down to Rome and get him for us, and offered to haul him to the ride. Not
many people you could ask to do that. Bekki was excited. I said, "Now you
won't have to haul a horse". Bekki said, "Buddy's going". Buddy? I said,
"Bekki, Buddy can't do the ride any more". She just grinned with those
Coke bottle glasses that make her eyes look soo round and said, "Yeah,
but Wesley said the ride wouldn't be the same without Buddy". >g< Take
warning ride managers. Bekki takes things very literally.

So...at this point in the Disney movie Steam would have loved her and
she'd have had a great ride. Unfortunately not. At the ride site Steam
woke up like Rip Van Horsee and remembered that he was the former 1st &
BC at a National Championship 50. The more he got "up" the more
disjointed Bekki rode. With Buddy he could hit a big trot and she could
leave the reins loose and concentrate on posting. With Steam he needed a
little toying with at the head, while riding with your seat and the
coordination challenge was just too much for her.  We ended up having to
dismount (good for the diet) and walk a mile back to camp. I had to tell
Bekki she wouldn't be riding. She took it well. (she can keep a perfectly
straight face like an Indian....never sad, just really happy or blank).
She kept Steam at her camp the whole weekend and he didn't have a single
knot in his mane or tail when he was returned. Bet he hadn't been that
well groomed in his life.  

Wesley drafted her to work and I was pretty surprised when he made her a
vet secretary.  Danny Herlong said she was "on the spot" up and around
camp at 4:30. She enjoyed warning the riders about the dead deer by the
trail (on the short section of trail she'd gotten to see).  She was
secretary for Otis who is notorious for putting any B's or lower on the
appropriate lines, then writing an "A" with a line down the rest of the
page for speed. Bekki is a details person and recorded every single "A".
I can only imagine Otis' impatience. >g<  At the end of the ride he
showed her how to spell "completed" and she wrote it on her hand. He said
after she'd written it on every card he bet she could spell completed
now! >g<

Bekki's parents are sooo grateful to everyone at the endurance rides for
making a point of making a fuss over Bekki & speaking to her. It means a
tremendous amount to her and them.  I've got to sell the horse she has
now to an appropriate non-trail home, then I'll be hunting again. I've
decided now we need to lean towards "ex-rental horses". Something with a
mouth that has been bumped enough not to be overly sensitive, but little
enough "go" for her to still be able to keep them down. Meanwhile, she
had her fun. :-)


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