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[RC] Jenny's story part two - Maggie Mieske

As we waited at the gate for the time keepers to tell us to go, we let the boys eat and drink some more, (Due to the enormous water troughs for horses) checked our gear and were ready. As we started out on the second loop together, I was trying to take it easy with my horse. As to not irritate his leg. (Our goal was to complete and come home with healthy, happy horses.) So we climbed up the hills with a little less umph, and made up time when the terrain was more level. Since I’m not sure what the times were on all of the loops, I can’t really tell you how fast we were going (NOTE FROM MAGGIE: About 7-8 mph). All I can say is that the boys had a wonderful extended trot, which made it seem like we were flying through the desert. Eventually we met up with Aunt Mary and Nelson at a cattle guard, for water and food. This marked the vet check at about five miles. We left the riders we were with and headed for the check. Instead of being directed straight to the check we were diverted all the way around it before we could come in. Which made the horses perk up a little. Oah, and while we were riding we saw some wild, black mustangs…. WOW! (At first mom didn’t believe me, but when we got to the check Aunt Mary told her to look through her binoculars. And that’s what they were.!!)

Anyway…. We came into the check and pulsed down, where again the vet (a different one now) said she was worried about Max’s RIGHT front leg. With each vet though, they said it was inconsistent and he would be alright to go on. So we did. Max had been getting B’s for guts and hydration all morning, which I thought had been expected since we were in the middle of the desert. So I asked the PR timers if I could take my horse back to the truck, at the next check, before I presented before the vet. They said I could, so that’s what I was going to do. Again the hold wasn’t, but only a half an hour. A short time when you have horses to take care of. So we cinched back up and were ready to go. This part of the loop Mom and I left out alone, together. I think we were both sick of eating dust! J The trail consisted of mainly flat roads for about ten miles. Somewhere in between we met up with Nelson at a water trough just before the trail went into the mountains again. Then for about five miles we were climbing and walking down mountains. (Where we also had to open and close gates. Oah wait, where I had to open and close gates!!! Lazy butt Ma! J NOTE FROM MAGGIE: She neglects to mention the gates I opened the day before when we pre rode the trail!)

After the five miles of mountains, we came to dirt roads again. That took us to camp, thank God!! (Or at least that’s what I was thinking! ) We trotted in where the timers were and gave them our cards. Where we then proceeded to the PR holding. But not before taking our saddles off. Nelson was walking Malik, just in front of me, where he decided to lay down. Now we had told some of the vets we saw that day that he might do that. So walking beside him with Max I grabbed his halter and helped him up. Not thinking anything of it, we took his saddle off and let him lay down.

I was letting Max eat and before I knew it I heard a vet telling Mom and Nelson to “get him up, he’s in serious trouble.” (“Ask Mom“)J Max went back to eating and I found out that Malik was pulled from the race. So I knew the plan was to go on without them. Which I knew was going to be hard, because it was going to be dark soon, but we did it. Max and I had to set out to finish the last loop, alone. I had asked the time keepers if there were any light weights in front of me. And there was only one, but she was an HOUR ahead of me. So I figured that was out of the question, and I would just go for completion.

We finally headed out and at first Max was being a little bull headed. So I found a stalk on the ground, from sage brush of course! I used it to urge him on a little bit. We had seen most of this trail before, and were glad, because it was getting dark on us fast. As soon as the sun hit the hills it turned cold, and dark. We were happy there were glow sticks already on the trail! We were going at a pretty good pace, so the cold didn’t really bother me. It was dark outside and I couldn’t see much, but I knew my horse would get me there. So we kept going. Along the way Max had to shy at some rabbits crossing the road. He stopped many times because he could hear his hoof beats echoing off the mountains and thought someone was coming. So I had to sing, and talk to him to keep him from stopping. Eventually, I don’t know what time, but we met up with Nelson again at the cattle guard. Max didn’t want to drink out of the cattle trough, because he thought something was going to jump out and eat him. (silly Arab!) Nelson threw some glow sticks on Max and we kept going. “Five miles to check,” I would tell him. It sure did seem a lot farther though. As does everything when you’re by yourself.

We did make it to the check, like always! Of course Max was still looking for his buddy behind him, which made his pulse stick at 64. I think it took us ten minutes to get his pulse to 60. Other horses came in and went right to the vet, so Nelson and I took Max over to the truck to eat something. (As the PR timers said we could.) Then when the vet was ready, or wasn’t busy, we went over to have Max’s CRI and grades done. The vet said that he had been mistaken and instead of the LEFT leg being off it was the RIGHT leg. Ok, I could deal with that. We’ll just take it easy and make the completion. He also had a C- for gut sounds. Which I thought was a little strange, because he was eating like a pig (NOTE FROM MAGGIE: I want Jenny to learn to listen to her horse‘s gut sounds so SHE knows what is normal for him because I have found that one vet‘s A is another vet‘s B is another vet‘s C). The vet expressed his concerns and said that if I went on there was a chance that Max could be pulled at the end. (Considering whether or not his “GIMP” was consistent) So, remembering that all we set out to do was complete, I teamed up with Joyce Mocilan. In hopes that Max would cheer up without his buddy. Before we left I bundled up with just about every sweater and jacket I could find. And we were ready.

Joyce and I left out together and since Max was feeling like a million dollars, (Or at least like he did when we started the 100 miles) we trotted along at a good pace. I kept asking Joyce if Max was moving alright, because maybe, though I couldn’t feel it, something could have been there. She kept telling me that he was moving fine and seemed to do better when he was moving at a faster pace. With fifteen miles left to go, we set off into the dark. The glow sticks were a savior. (Thank you to the trail managers! J ) The full moon was also a great thing to have! It was cold in the valleys we rode through, but those extra layers really helped. We again met Nelson and Mike (Joyce’s husband) at the water trough, where they had made a hay mash out of the water tank. They kept throwing hay into the water and the horses kept chowin’ down on it. We got off and did our stuff, fed carrots to the horses and used the bathroom in the bushes!! I finally started getting chilled and suggested we move on. Nelson said camp was only a few miles away. (Or if you ask Joyce how far camp is, she’ll say “we’re closer than we were a minute ago!”)

Miles of smiles,
"So many of our dreams seem impossible, then improbable, then inevitable."  Christopher Reeve