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[RC] Chicken Chase-My Ride - XOXOPlatinumGurl

       WOW! Chicken Chase was an awesome ride! Mrs. Weiland (sorry if I spelled that wrong, I'm awful at names)! put together a wonderful ride, and it was great of Mr. Wilson to let everyone use his land. This was a breathtakingly beautiful ride, and definitely ranked at the top of my "Most Beautiful Rides Ever" list! (Yes, Howard, right along with Leatherwood!)

       We (my Mom, Sandy Thomson, and myself) caravaned up with our good friends Suzanne and Scott (my fellow junior, not to mention my "brother") Solis from Georgia. We arrived in Indiana LATE Tuesday night-or maybe it was Wednesday morning-with our entourage of five hungry, thirsty ponies. Needless to say, Mr. Wilson came to rescue us when we accidentally passed the road, and was even generous enough to let us put our horses in his barn for the night instead of set up pens, etc., etc. We were actually the first ones there, which is like an oxymoron (we are never, I repeat, NEVER really early). So, thanks to Mr. Wilson's help, we got a good nights sleep...

       Wednesday passed without much ado, and other trailed slowly began to filter in.

       Thursday, we (the four caravaners) went out for a training ride, and while our mothers rode the whole loop, Scott and I only went about 1-2 miles out and turned back to camp. I went and registered and vetted my horse through, grease-penning her with my trademark flag on her left shoulder and a few other things (such as some pink polka-dots...heehee). So, all that was left was to wait for the next morning!

       Friday the four of us all rode together, my Mom riding our semi-new gelding in his first fifty, Suzanne riding our mare Jubilee, Scott riding his girl, Lady, and me up on my gray mare Molly. We had no incidents until the second-to-last vetcheck, where my mom's horse was feeling a little bad. So, Scott and I got sent on with two nice women from Ohio, Robin and Kelly. (I don't know your last names...Sorry!)  Both Molly and Lady finished the ride, and were OKed for the next day. Unfortunately, I thought I saw a little something in my mare's gait. I got Scott to trot her out for me and much to my dismay, saw a grade one in her left front. I put some iceboots on both front legs and hoped for the best, letting her rest with some dinner. I pretty much resigned myself to not riding the next day. Some 30 minutes later I took her boots off and was just in time to catch my Mom and Suzanne finishing their trot-outs. Both finished, and our gelding was well recovered and healthy, albeit very tired.

       The next morning, I drug my mildly surprised and slightly indignant pony out of her pen and trotted her out, and, miraculously, she was sound! She actually spooked on my Mom, who was watching her from the side, and we heard a faint metallic clink. We didn't think anything of it, though, and tacked our horses up. We started out on the trail riding with Suzanne, who rode her gelding in his first fifty (my Mom rode Jubilee this time) and Scott, who was on his mare again. We got about a mile, mile and a half down the trail before Suzanne looked at my horse's feet and gasped. Molly was missing her left-hind shoe! My Mom and I turned around immediately. We had a 23+ mile loop ahead of us and there was no way I could ride my horse without her shoe. We made Scott and Suzanne go on, and went back to camp. When we arrived, we learned that the farrier had just headed off to get some breakfast. Well, I might have a sense of humor, but we grabbed an easy-boot and with the help of Mr. Wilson, a hammer, and duct tape (the cure-all), we had that sucker on. So, an hour later, we were back to were we had been when we turned back. After the first loop we got her shoe tacked on. (Remember that metallic clink? That was her ripping her shoe off when she spooked while we were trotting her out. Live and learn, I guess...) We took the rest of the day pretty slowly, and even rode some of the first loop and the end of the last loop with Don Funk and Lynn (I never learned her last name!) from Iowa, which was really fun. We all finished with flying colors, and Molly didn't even have the slightest limp. Still, I iced her front legs for 20 minutes, just to stay safe. Scott and Suzanne had both finished in good health, and Scott and his horse were set for another day together, as well. Jubilee was headed for her third day, and my Mom was going to ride her again. Unfortunately, Suzanne didn't have a horse to ride the third day, so she became everyone's "super-crew."

       So, the third day dawned bright and clear, and we all trudged out to our horses pens again. Lady and Jubilee both walked out of their pens calmly, but my horse gave me a disgusted look and planted her feet. It took a few minutes to coax her out, but 30 minutes later, we were in the saddles, only slightly late. Scott was riding with our fellow Georgian, Sara Engsberg, and they were gone down the trail by the time we started. We took this day pretty slowly, though, really, it was our fastest day yet. I ran maybe 2 miles beside my horse on the first loop, which felt really good for me, and for her, too, I'm sure. Much later, forty miles into the ride, we came into the second-to-the-last vetcheck and met with disaster. Scott had been pulled. We were all pretty sure his mare had hit her foot on something out on the trail. Scott took it well, though, and when we came back with a finish, we got to witness him being drug over to a water trough by a woman. His mother soon came to help push him in, and I even tried to grab a foot for a moment, but it scared my horse, so I opted to stand back and laugh instead. We vetted through in excellent shape, and my horse dove into her pen with only one short "you-are-evil" look spared for me. I fed everyone and gave them hay, and then sat beside my mare as she ate, scratching her right on the cheek where she likes it the most...A nice little bonding moment to end our first, and definitely not last, pioneer ride.

Samantha Thomson
SE Junior