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[RC] A Gator Run Story - Laura Hayes

We just got home to find it 11 degrees and 2+ feet of snow - that is
depressing!  We did have a great week at Gator Run in Lake City, Florida.
My husband Mark McConnon vetted the three days and friend Libby Llop and I
rode (well, I rode one day, more on that later!)

We drove two ten hour days to get to the ride - the trip seemed endless, but
the ride grounds were great- pines and palmettos with lots of firm sandy
ground.  We had brought an extra truck with a canoe on top and a six horse
trailer with five horses and as much hay as Libby could pack into the extra
stall.  We looked like a cross between the Beverly Hillbillies and the

I rode my mare Equal Terms, who had just come off a win and BC at Fort
Valley two day 100, where she was well mannered and workman-like.
Weellllll, she much have had a change of heart somewhere, because she saw
that long flat road and it blew her little horsey mind.  She was hopping and
leaping and cantering sideways, so I actually GOT OFF and led her for over
an hour!!!  People were coming by and asking if I was OK, (thank you!) and I
was EMBARRASSED!!  Good Grief- I looked like someone's grandma afraid of the
family pony!  It occurred to me that I could just let her go and go to the
front - she is 12, not a baby, and fit as a fiddle, but you know what?  I
couldn't do it.  This is going to be my hundred mile horse - she is going to
last me years, and by gosh, I am NOT going to risk letting her ruin THAT!!
I don't have international aspirations, but I would like to do well on some
of the bigger 100s in this country.  I will not let her run wild just
because she WANTS to.  Ok, call me chicken - I can take it.

Val Kanavy was schooling her beautiful Shadon, and walked with me for a
while.  She could actually stay on the horse and do this - my horse was
still dancing around me.  Val trotted on, and dead last in the ride, I
finally mounted.  I decided right then, if E did this to me on the next two
days, I would just turn her loose in the swamp and drive back to NY.

We passed Becky Siler who was taking pictures and trotted in relative
control down the road when another horse came into view.  Suddenly, E shied
violently and DUMPED me!  This was truly out of character for her, and as I
sat on the ground trying to remove the half chap and sneaker that was ripped
half off my leg, I ALMOST cried.  My hip hurt, my pride was wounded and boy
was I mad!  E trotted about 1/8 of a mile toward the other rider, who never
saw me, and stopped.  I was glad in retrospect, that I own no
firearms.....She stood sideways in the road and watched the other rider
disappear around a corner, and then the most amazing thing happened.  She
turned slowly and trotted straight back to me. OK, she can stay another few

We went on to finish somewhere around 40th, passing 10 riders in the
remaining two legs.  I was really sore from the fall and glad to be done.

More later.

Laura Hayes AERC#2741

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