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[RC] Thank You - SamanthaSandler

Hi Everyone,

I have been reading ridecamp for a long time, but I have never posted an 
e-mail.  I feel compelled to today.  There were so many awesome peaople that 
helped me out this weekend and I want to thank them as well as the people today 
who have posted messages about my ride.  Thank you Mary Anne, Debbie, Tim, and 
Angie.  I went through an incredible experience on saturday and sunday at the 
Carolina Moonlight 100 that I should share and I have a new respect for the 
dark and the humidity.

It is completely different leaving camp at 7:00p.m.  The horses did not expect 
it and we had a controlled start which made it seem (to my horse Zeke) like we 
were just trail riding the night before a ride.  It was beautiful at first when 
the full moon came up and guided our way, but eventually the clouds and fog 
covered the moon (or maybe it was my fogged up contact lenses- also not used to 
working at night).  

I rode the second 50 by myself and had a low point at about 60 miles when Zeke 
was eating grass on the side of a highway at 4:00a.m. and I was falling asleep 
in the saddle (lucky his neck was so long (he was reaching for the grass) that 
I felt dizzy when I tried to rest my head down or I may have fallen asleep).  
After Zeke ate for awhile, his energy increased dramatically and it was as if 
he heard me thinking about quitting (I've never even considered it before), 
when he headed off at a nice big trot down the trail.

After that, I knew we would be o.k.  The humidity was unbelievable with sweat 
dropping off of us even at 4:00 a.m. and Zeke was panting much more than he 
usually would.  But Zeke was eating well at the holds and he was willing to 
keep on trotting at a steady pace.  The hardest aspect of the ride was having 
to go out over the same two loops three times each and going out six times in 
the same direction for the first three or five miles to get to the split 
between the loops.  I had to convince Zeke that it really was necessary.  

I have completed many 100 mile races, but I have to say this one really was a 
true endurance test.  I was crewless and so many wonderful people offered to 
help (while people were still awake).  I don't know the names of all the people 
who helped me at the vet stops but I truly appreciate there help (Thank you Lyn 
if you are out there).  

I owe the most thanks to Zeke, my incredible horse.  For any of you who don't 
know Zeke, he is truly an incredible animal with an amazing attitude and a 
spirit that would never quit.  He is calm, cool, and collected and as stoic as 
an animal can be.  He is a pleasure to ride and has a heart of gold.  

I also want to send congrats to those who competed at Tevis and I understand 
that Lana Wright if fine but I am praying for the safe return of her horse 
Nathan.  Thanks for reading about my experience and for the support that people 
in ridecamp offer.  I will try to provide helpful comments in the future when I 
can.  Samantha Sandler

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