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[RC] Endurance, Carolina Style: Part Six - Howard Bramhall

After the awards on Saturday night my wife and I socialized a little, then I went to bed, early.  I had not taken a nap during the afternoon, like I normally do right after finishing a ride, so, I was beat.  Watching Jen run around camp with her friends you would never have imagined she had completed 55 miles on a horse just hours before.  Ah, youth, what I would give to have some of that energy back.  Jen and War Cry did not win the BC competition, but she did place up there, 3rd I think, which is high for her considering she has the weight of a flea.
The next morning Erica and Jen packed up the pick-up and headed back south (is there any other direction?) towards home leaving me with 3 horses and seven or eight days of being left entirely on my own, with no one keeping an eye on me (well, maybe, Susan K.).  Some of ya'll are probably wondering how I managed to get permission to do such a thing.  The only honest answer I can come up with is I did a lot of "promising, begging, pleading, and cajoling," and, I did all this for one reason and, one reason only:  Leatherwood. 
Attempting to finish the 50 miler at Leatherwood, a ride that I knew was one of the most difficult in the country, if not the world, has always been a dream of mine.  I had completed two 25's there, in previous years, but knew that making that leap from the 25 to the 50, especially at Leatherwood, was going to be as difficult as trying to jump across the Continental Divide. 
Despite that belief, with America, I thought the two of us should go ahead and make the attempt.  That's if he didn't leap off the mountain, literally, with me on his back, sometime during the week to come.  And, believe me, I was having some of those dreams at night (I'm falling, I'm falling).  I was very anxious about how America was going to react to those mountain climbs, and descents, that go on and on and on, at Leatherwood.
On Sunday I did find a farrier who put a set of 4 shoes on America for me.  Hey, I may be a barefoot nut, but, sometimes one does have to face reality.  I did leave the other two horses without shoes and figured I might be relegated to the low country, around the streams and creeks, when I took War Cry or Princess out for a training session. 
Since I'm on this topic I would like to say one thing about my barefoot experiences over the past year.  Even if you believe that your horse must have shoes on, for you to ride in the area where you do, I'd like to suggest that every once in awhile, especially during your off season, to allow your horses to go barefoot throughout that time.  If you've ever seen a hoof wall torn off on a horse who has been continuously shod, from the nail holes down to the sole, you would never think twice about going barefoot when you could.  If your response to me is, "My horse can't walk barefoot; his soles can't take it," then I really think your horse needs those shoes off immediately, as in today, not tomorrow.  Going barefoot has transformed my guys, all 4 horses.  It didn't happen all at once, there was a transition (about 2 months), but now I know for sure this is the best way to go.  Sorry, I'll shut up, for now, on that controversial topic.
Because there was another endurance ride at Sand Hills on Sunday there were some folks to hang out with that evening.  I spent some time at Susan K's campsite, always the place to go at an endurance ride, and had a beer or two.  Later, I went back into the Sub because I wanted to watch the Academy Awards.  I, normally, could care less about these people, but, I was quite concerned with what they were going to say about the war in Iraq.  I must admit, they behaved better than I expected until Michael Moore got the microphone.  The funniest line the entire evening was, after Mr. Moore said what he did, Steve Martin comes on stage and said, "Mike was seen leaving the scene, escorted by some members from the NRA, and entered his limo though the trunk door."
OK, I didn't get that entirely right, but, you get the idea.  Nichole Kidman and the Piano guy both asked for peace in quite an emotional manner.  The one guy I really wanted to hear from, but did not, was Jack Nicholson.  I'm not sure what his political beliefs are, but, even at his advanced age, he is still one cool looking dude.  Over the years I've become his number one fan.  My wife and I even went to see "About Schmidt," which had some scenes where Jack is driving a Motor Home quite similar to my Yellow Submarine.  You probably didn't see that movie, not too many did, but, because Jack was in it, I had to go.  And, as usual, he was exceptional!