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[RC] Chicken Chase Ride Story - Tina Hicks

Well, we rode for 25 miles for two days and never saw a single chicken :) 
I went up to do 2 25s for some training on Hank (8 yo TWH with one 50 
under his belt and a cold, wet winter behind him) and just to get out on 
the trail and boy am I glad I did  - what fun :))

To start with the camp was gorgeous. We stayed at a private farm and
camped in a beautiful grass pasture.  The trails were well marked, Amy did
an excellent job of managing a well-attended 3 day ride, and many, many
thanks to Bill Wilson for use of his farm as a campground.

The weather was so perfect I couldn't even believe it. High 60's/low 70s, 
about 40 at nite, bright bright sunshine, light breeze - it was heaven on 
earth :) The dogwoods and redbuds were blooming, the bugs weren't out 
yet....ahhh...life was good.

Okay, on to the actual ride :)

The start was incredibly SANE - we were led out by Connie Caudill down a
short bit of pavement then we hit the trail and we took off at a
trot/canter - very nicely done.

The trails were just to die for. Except for the "improved fire roads"  
(which means the forest service (or someone that doesn't ride horses :-p)
took a perfectly good dirt road/trail and put gravel on it :<) the trails
were totally rockless- just wonderful dirt trail that was perfectly flat
when it wasn't going either up or down. That sounds funny but it's true -
some trails go up and down and up and down and up and down and you and the
horse are just beat to death. This trail had some ups and some downs (and
some big ones) but plenty of beautiful flat ridges and bottoms where you
could make lots of time. And some of the flat parts were up on a ridge
with a valley on either side - the views were *gorgeous*. On one part of
the trail you could look down and through the fog and see Louisville.

Come in from Loop 1 and vet through fine. The vet says "is he gaited or is
he lame in every leg?" :)) I assure him he's gaited.

We trucked right along on Loop 2 until we saw a rider down :(

Diane Doll had just gotten kicked in the shin - hard enough that she
needed help. So I turned my trusty steed around and galloped probably less
than a mile back to a spotter at a trail junction (who happened to be
sitting in a truck thank goodness) and yelled "rider down, bring the
truck". I then turned back around and head back to the scene. When I get
there they were trying to figure out what to do. Another lady and I had
vet wrap on us so we took her crop and a stick and made a splint while
other folks held our horses. Fortunately there were two guys with the
truck so all four of us lifted her into the back seat of the truck. She
was in lots of pain :( as you can imagine. The whole ordeal only took
about 30 or 40 minutes but sure was scary :( A broken leg is nothing to
sneeze at but what if that had been a life threatening injury?? <shudder>

Found out later her leg was broken in three places and will require a 
steel rode <GULP>. I 
wonder if the emergency room cracked up when they saw our splint :) 

Anyway, after all that (one of the spotters with the truck took Diane's
horse back to camp) we went on and finished that loop.  He was drinking
and looking good. Came in and vetted through. The vet gave him a B+ on
gaits - I asked her if she saw anything. She said no - he just had an odd
way of moving. I said he's gaited :) Apparently when I trot him out he
spends the first few strides sorting out his legs :) till he gets into the
trot. It's those few shuffly, gait-y, pacey steps that throw the vets :)

Ride time including poor Diane's bad luck :( was 3:24 - my best guess is
we actually did the 25 miles in about 2:45 or so.

So here I am - it's 11:30AM and I'm done (!!!) now what???? Well I'll tell 
you what - you take a shower, have a beer, take a nap, graze your horse, 
watch others vet through and read a book. 

There's something to be said for 25s I'm here to tell ya :))

At the ride meeting that nite Amy (ride mgr) says she's moving us off the
loop with all the gravel to another loop with more dirt and less gravel. 
Yeah!!! There were very few pulls in either the 25/50 on Sat and no pulls 
in the 25 on Sun. The 50s weren't done on Sun when I left so not sure how 
they fared.

Anyway, we start out yesterday again like Sat (same first loop) and have
another great loop although it's a bit fast :-p We come into the first
check with the first 3 on the 25 and he's wound for sound - trotting
around me, looking around, just being a fool :( so he takes a few minutes
to come down to 60 - he gets to 66 and just sits there for a bit. We vet
through fine though the vet raises an eyebrow when he sees how long it
took for him to come down and I say "before you say anything we are
slowing wwaayyyy down"  he smiles and says "good girl - your horse looks
real good - let's keep him that way".

I wait my hold plus an extra 10 or 15 minutes so about an hour total. In 
that time he eats and drinks tons and relaxes while I beat myself over the 
head for letting him go so fast :( I know darn well that just cuz they 
will go that fast it doesn't mean they should go that fast.

We go out on the second loop (the replacement loop for the gravelly one
from Sat) and it's *beautiful*. More up and down but more elevation so
views to die for everywhere you look. I hook up with two gals and we trot
right along having a great time. Sometimes they would lead and sometimes I
would lead. We would all wait at the water for everyone to drink or to
mount up after a hill, etc....really a nice to loop - it's always fun to
hook up and ride with compatible folks.  On the flats, Hank would go from
a fast trot into a pace, I would just stand in the saddle and ZZZOOMMMM by
them while they cantered :) After a few times of this one of them finally
said "WHAT is he????" :))

he he he Wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me that :)

Vetted through for my completion while he's snatching at grass and 
trying to eat everything in sight.  The vet said he was a bit off in the 
right rear - I couldn't see it nor did I feel it on the trail however I 
know I was sore 
from tailing those hills so I'm not suprised. I just always feel like I 
should be able to feel if my horse is off, ya know? I never did see it and 
he was fine coming off the trailer so here's to temporary, mystery 
lamenesses :)

What a fantastic weekend :)

Tina and Hank

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