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[RC] 100 miles in one day? Swanton Pacific was my first - Part 2 of 3 (long) - sandy . l . holder

And the miles started to melt away until we were really riding alone.  It was at this point that my pony started to question me and for me to start thinking (not always a good thing) about not having any of my riding partners of the past 4 years there with me.  As I started to become a bit melancholy, a piece of advice that a very warm and loving person (did I mention experienced rider) shared with me prior to my attempt at Tevis.  “Ride your ride not like it’s a 100 mile ride, but from vet check to vet check”.  I’ll give you a hint who said it – she has 27 Tevis buckles and both she and her family (including her famous mother) have given a tremendous amount of encouragement to both me and my lovely daughter.
        Coming upon the photographer (and trying hard to smile), I noticed someone jumping up from a chair and calling out, “you’re here already?!”. . . it was Dick, my riding buddy, stealing away from work to come out to the first vet check to greet me.  Wow!  It was hard not to tear up given the thoughts that had just been racing through my head!!  Anyway, I hopped off my boy as I came into the vet check, pulled his bit knowing his pulse was already down and gave my pony over to my wonderful crew Katie and Dick.  Taking in the surroundings, I noticed an open area with all the right things, particularly a Porta Portie (even if the closest one did say “Men” – which had at least one woman in it that day).  The McCrary’s had thought of everything.
        In and out of the vet check – good, well with the exception of gut sounds (only B-).  All morning long Tally had been nervous – I could tell because of the mess he’d left on his hocks.  This wasn’t a total unknown to me, but still, he’d not been like this since his second year in endurance (this being his fourth) and the less than ideal guts sounds played on my paranoid mind (and would throughout the day).  So with only a completion as my goal, we stayed in the vet check for an extra 10 minutes to allow him to continue to eat, which he did quite voraciously.  We let him eat until he stopped and went into ‘power snooze’.  After a minute or two we finally decided to depart.  Of course, the only problem with hanging out sometimes is that you’re all by yourself with no other horses going out with you.  I’m sure you can imagine how ‘excited’ (yeah, right!) he was about leaving, so with a mile and a half of payment, I decided to hand walk him until we found good footing.
        Coming off the road, we entered a fairly large stream and found a photographer sitting on the other side.  I found out later when my daughter presented me the photo at breakfast the next day just how good a photographer we had – a picture definitely for the house wall.  In and out of the airstrip (and friendly encouragement from Kiki and Peter), we continued on, vet check to vet check, sometimes riding with a group and sometimes alone.  It was during one of these ‘alone’ times that we came upon Frank and his pretty little mare Gypsy.  Evidently Gypsy had pulled long and hard on Frank and had come into the first major vet check at 8:30 a.m. (we didn’t come in until after 10 a.m. but doing the 100 had done a longer loop).  He thought she was ‘done’ but as nothing obvious appeared to be wrong, was hand walking her to the next check.  I believe he’d been walking for quite sometime and for an ‘older gentleman’, it appeared to have taken a bit out of him.  We walked for a bit and talked and as we were talking, I noticed that Gypsy was taking quite an interest in my handsome gelding.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Ms. Gypsy was just a bit lonely and so with a little encouragement and us stopping to wait, Frank and Gypsy became our new riding partners. . . and riding we did.  Here’s where I think I need to share with you that little Gypsy had either gotten really rested or had been bluffing her dad that she wasn’t doing too well.  Either way, Frank suddenly had his hands full of a lively mare.  It was fun keeping Tally at a steady pace and watching Gypsy alternately take the lead and fall behind us.  As we approached the coast, we were joined by Lori Olsen, another QuickSilver Endurance Rider, and rode a beautiful stretch of trail (even though it was a bit slippery occasionally) to the lunch stop at a ranch on the California coast.  The weather had been tremendous all day, misty and cool with the sun poking out to warm us (but not too much) as we enjoyed our ride.   n"iǬj{,znz)ߢ*'hb)zw^v+z(ޞح0'!جikzuݙ{Zw(z{bjVw+WyٚjP'ʷ+zڞɢȨج额bz+^+" j|rب)zXǮ+"+bv{(؞azaj{az)zw^vج!yʋyǢm+"뢺eyrim׫jw]zWz^^&~&j|jnϮ'^.ਢϊƃzVjhybiܩjgz!ߢ{