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RE: [RC] Nick Warhol- AERC Chmpnshp 50 ride story 4 of 5 - Nick Warhol

The first loop was 32 miles, so we only had a short jaunt to do in the 
afternoon.  We had a nice lunch in camp, the horses ate like they should, we 
had great crews helping, what could be better? (maybe riding the 100?)  But- 
where were Sally and Phathom?  Oh, they left 15 minutes ago!  Cripes! Now they 
are an hour and 15 minutes ahead of us.  They had a great recovery and lunch 
break as well.  Gary elected to pull Smokey at lunch- he wasn't eating like he 
should and just was not acting normal.  (The horse, not Gary!  I'm happy to 
report that Gary was eating and drinking as normal.)  Jackie and I headed back 
out just before 1pm; Warpaint jumped right in to his trot.  Boy, I like that in 
a horse.  He had his crazy switch turned off just past the first check, and 
since then he'd been in is his "superb just go down the trail" mode that I love 
so much.   Behind us there was some commotion, it was the leaders racing flat 
out to the finish!  We turned around to look- Leisa Belser beat Dennis Tracy 
out by a length or two for the win!  We trotted a mile or so to the last big 
climb, the longest uphill sand canyon of the day.  We walked up it all the way 
to the top of the ridge again, maybe 20-30 minutes, where we hung another left 
on the nice roads for a while.  Then it is down the escalator chute, a long and 
steep road of pure deep sand that goes straight down the valley to the other 
side of the range.  I led the horse all the way down, my shoes filling up with 
sand.  There was water and hay at the bottom, which we took full advantage of.  
Now it is time for some trotting on the roads.  The pre-ride in June had us go 
up this road for a few miles, all the way to the end of the canyon to the vet 
check, then it was a long 12 mile haul back to camp.  Not this time!  We 
trotted a ways up the canyon to another water stop, then it was a shot across 
the valley to the road that led down to the vet check at 44 miles.   The added 
mileage in the morning, then not going all the way out there now, is a huge 
improvement over the previous ride.  I also appreciate getting the tough stuff 
out of the way in the early part of the ride.   We got to see wild horses again 
for the third time today while we trotted along the roads.   The vet check came 
sooner than I though it would, it was hiding around a hill.  We walked in from 
the ¼ mile sign, the horses both came right down and both looked good.  Susan 
McCartney took a look at Warpaint and ordered us back out on the trail.  A 
quick 20 minutes of eating and we were on our home leg, a very easy, flat trot 
of six miles, all on roads.   I think we trotted the entire thing without 
stopping, except for one stop sign.  (Don't want any equine citations by the 
highway patrol) We crossed the finish line, very happy with our horses.  One 
more vet check to go, but no worries, both horses made it just fine.  Hooray!   
But-where was Sally?  How about in 11th place, first featherweight?   Holy cow! 
What would have happened if she had been in a hurry?  Phathom's really 
becoming a nice horse, and is turning some heads.  And Zayante?  Now he's at 
11,345 miles.  What can you say about him?  (I get to ride him at Death Valley 
again, that's what)!

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