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[RC] A Turkey Trot Story - Nancy Reed

I wanted to share an extraordinary scene I witnessed at the finish line on Saturday afternoon waiting for my team to come in at the Turkey Trot.  The finish was up on a hill with this expansive view of the green hills and the last few miles of the course.  It was cold by southern California standards and most of us were in multiple layers with coats and hats on.  The front runner in the fifty, Dabney Fitch (I think that is her name) was on Susan Kelly’s horse (I think, sorry if I got the names incorrect) way out in front, all alone and just booking down the trail.  Susan, in shorts, was so excited she could not contain herself.   When Dabney got to the bottom of the hill just below the finish line Susan called out to her horse telling her to come home to mama.  The horse momentarily slowed her stride, lifted her head and pricked her ears forward.  She was listening to Susan.  Then with a burst of speed she flew into a full gallop and up the hill to the finish and to Susan.

 Dabney was ecstatic and literally high on her first place finish.  A huge smile filled her face.   Later we chatted about what happened when Susan called to her horse. Dabney explained she did not ask the horse to go faster up the hill to the finish, she didn’t need to.  No other 50 miler was in sight.  It was the horses’ idea to move out when she heard her owner call to her. Dabney could not praise the horse enough, it was the best horse she had ever ridden.  On hearing the story Dabney and Susan started to celebrate again.

When asked how she trained such the horse, Susan could not give me a list or cookbook answer.  She said it was on intuition, gut knowledge that she trained her horse.  Although she would like to teach others, she could not put into words the steps she took to get to the first place finish at the Turkey Trot.  Damn, I had hoped I was gonna get some inside info and learn a few training secrets.

  But now, after I had some time to digest it all, I was in fact given a beautiful gem, you do not really train a winning endurance horse. Nope, together as a team you find a path and the path carries you.  It is not about a list of dos and don’ts, it is about listening to your partner and building on the things that work and learning from what does not work.  Susan has lots of tools to use along the way and what makes her a winning trainer is her ability to listen to her partner and chose the tool the fits the situation.  Well, I guess that is were the term “horse since” came from.  And from what I saw Susan and Dabney sure have a lot of it.  Congratulations to you both for the win at the Turkey Trot.  Thank you for letting me watch, Nancy Reed, Lazy J Ranch, Elfin Forest, CA