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[RC] White River Spring Part 2 - Maggie Mieske

We made it through the 3rd check with flying colors, improving all their scores. Only ten more miles to go!!! Our hold went by quickly. We took off at a gallop out of the last check (psych out tactics really...not for the competition but for ourselves and our horses!). We settled into a trot but it was not "the" trot. Malik had to pee. I know this "I gotta go" trot. I tried all of our usual little tricks to induce him to pee. He had peed previously in the ride so it wasn't like it was a vital thing but it's hard to ride a trot that feels like your horse is trying to cross his legs! I knew he wasn't tired (maybe some but not THAT tired). We decided to canter. That was much more comfortable, for both of us it seemed though my cough was making breathing difficult at times. Whenever we trotted, it was THAT trot so we would canter again (after trying the tricks again). Both horses were still interested in spooking at stupid stuff so I didn't feel even one bit sorry for him!!! This is the first time my "tricks" to encourage him to pee didn't work.

They were quite glad to turn onto that last 2 or 3 miles of trail where they stop for a drink and cool their feet in a little stream and their energy surged even more as they knew camp was ahead. I watched the two of them drink side by side, playing their little tricks on each other, dripping water on each other's necks and rubbing their heads (a wild, vicious Arabian stallion and his little gelding buddy) and realized what a TEAM they are. What we achieved we achieved TOGETHER and TOGETHER EVERYONE ACHIEVES MORE (T.E.A.M.). I remembered enjoying the wild cherry trees in bloom and the marsh marigolds in all the wet places. Blue violets and the beginnings of what will soon be forest ferns and trillium lillies. Little, itty bitty leaves the size of my pinky fingernail and miniature purple buds waiting to burst into lilacs in a few weeks. The little kids who run out to the road to see the "horseys". The rushing water through the culverts washing away the last of winter's surplus. The smell of the woods. The warm sun on our faces, the blue of the sky. I will miss Jenny when she leaves for college and I am experiencing some serious doubts about our ride season (or most of the ride season anyway) without Jenny and Max. Not that we can't ride alone...we have, can and will. But for me, as much as it thrills me to charge up the hills and fly around the trees and through the forests and splash through streams (or LEAP across them as it suits Malik), none of the possible awards for this sport....not first to finish, not Best Condition, not ANYthing can equal the rewards I have reaped sharing this sport with my daughter who is also my best friend even if she doesn't think so.

And so, we FINISHED and in that respect, we WON. I really have no idea what our placing was (NOT top ten) and I don't even care. We finished in 5 hours and 49 minutes ride time and I am happy with that. Next weekend is Jenny's prom...she is going to volunteer at the Little Manistee Memorial Ride. Malik and I will go it alone there. Oh, and did Malik really have to pee? Well, after we finished, we went back to camp to untack and let the horses take a breather before vetting out. On the way to see Rae for the last time, Malik stopped and peed one lake, two ponds and a couple of decent puddles! Figures!!

I do know THIS...I am NOT ready for the Grand Island 100 this month. It's too early in the season. I am not going to set us up to fail. I am going to wait until the end of the season and perhaps if fate is kind, our truck will see us through to Spook Run. I will, in the meantime, have the opportunity to ride the Shore to Shore (that should really test my mettle!) and by the end of the season, Malik and I will both be in better shape, mentally and physically and perhaps by then I will have recovered from my empty nest syndrome. Oh, and I will by then be back in college myself, finishing my teaching degree! Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me in my 100 mile endeavor...I have not given up, I have postponed. It is still my goal for this year to try a 100 miler so keep it coming!! :)

In closing, I must remember to thank our pit crew, Nelson and Daniel. Yeah, maybe we could do it without them on a ride like this with all the checks in camp but it wouldn't be nearly as much fun! THANK YOU, guys. And I must say, I enjoyed banter with our guest timer, Mike Caudill (regretfully did not get to meet Connie! Darn it!). Never did get to say Hey to Mary and her mighty Morgan either. I'm sure I'll see them all again somewhere soon!!! And many thanks to the vets, Wayne and the multitude of volunteers that I know it takes to put on a ride. I am so happy and glad that I have a whole season full of rides to look forward to!!!


P.S. The truck will live to haul another day. It's off to the mechanic for some TLC and inspection to pinpoint the problem, but genius mechanic doesn't seem terribly concerned about its fate.