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[RC] Pine Tree ride (long) - Tracy Bradford

Well, I did it! Woo hoo! After being an AERC member for three years and diligently reading ridecamp every day I finally managed to make it to my first LD ride. Oh my gosh, was that fun or what? Thank you Tom Hutchinson for putting on such a terrific and well organized ride. The Waterford, Maine fairgrounds are very nice with wonderful trails. The neighbors along the trail path were friendly and helpful. One family actually helped us out by refilling our empty water bottles for us which was a godsend. Geez, it was just a little bit hot out there.

I rode my husband's five year old gelding. He was such a wonderful boy and I'm so proud of him. He ate, drank and behaved like a seasoned pro. He received all A's except for capillary refill which was a B. He was slow and lazy at the last trot out so I had to do it twice. Second time looked better but the vet advised to keep an eye on slight possible rear end lameness. Time for a chiro visit for Coal. The vet also mentioned he could just be tired. He's a very laid back horse and just relaxes and mellow outs when surrounded by people. My friend Priscilla also rode her first LD on her arabian Khasino. Both had a great time and Khasino learned to drink any and all water by the second loop. Smart boy! Unfortunately, we didn't get a completion (darn!) and it was my own fault. Because it was so warm and because it was Khasino's first distance ride we went very slow. I thought we had 7 hours, 15 minutes of ride time (including the hold at 14 miles). I kind of forgot to add in the fact that we needed to pulse down at the end within that time period. Duh! You'd think with all the ridecamp posts I've read over the years I'd have known that. Anyway, both horses came through fit to continue and that's absolutely all that counts. I'll just think of it as a darn good practice run.

It certainly was a learning experience though... I really have got to learn to take care of myself as well as the horse. After the final vet check and return to the trailer I was on the verge of vomiting and passing out from the heat. I stupidly had not replaced any ice in our coolers and the water available was not warm, it was hot. Yuck. The only food I had was bread and peanut butter which when you are sick to your stomach is just not at all appealing. After tending to my horse I laid down in the grass, outside the trailer in the only available shade. After a while I felt strong enough to stand and drag myself down to the general store for food. Next time I'm going to have a variety of things available... extreme heat makes me fussy over what I take in.

The vets were awesome, very helpful and took the time to explain every step to us. I'm amazed at how many vets were brought in for the ride. Thank you, thank you thank you! I wish I could remember all their names but since I can't I will say one more time...a very big thank you! One of the vets even stopped his truck on his way out of ridecamp when he saw me lugging water buckets. I'm sure I looked pretty pathetic standing there rubbing my arm muscles...

Thanks to both Sandy Terp of Neigh Per Say and Chuck of Animal Tacker for lugging all that great stuff up to the ride for us to browse and buy. Sandy, I appreciate your help with my electrolyte questions. Your input was extremely helpful and cleared up some confusion I had.

Because I was so "out of it" from the heat (did I mention it was warm?) I didn't make it up to awards so I can't tell you any more about the ride.
I will say it was amazing to watch those 100 milers out there and the happy optimistic outlook they had passing through ridecamp around
4:oo p.m. ( I may have the time wrong) on their way out to the last 34 miles. Athletic people, athletic horses. Some day I'll do this but I'm not sure I'll ever be a Boiled Owl. I'd like to think so, but not sure I've got it in me. Irving, can one learn to be a Boiled Owl or are you born one?

My last thanks goes to the ride volunteers who helped us out along the way with cheerful smiles. Very much appreciated. I was pretty confused during the 14 mile hold, it was so different from the few CTR's I've done. The folks at the pulse area were great.

Tracy and Coal (who thinks Waterford is hot, but very scenic and the creek along the power-line was so much fun to splash in).


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