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[RC] Tevis American River crossing - Lucy Chaplin Trumbull

Jim Holland:
> That's exactly why you TRAIN your horse on the stuff you expect to encounter
> before you put him out there in harm's way at a ride.

...and because horses are horses, they'll *always*
behave exactly as trained, right? ;-)

> ...Claude was ...telling this story about some lady who rode
> the entire ride, but didn't finish because her horse wouldn't
> cross the American River.  Duh! Didn't do her homework!

Keep in mind the American River is often too deep to cross
safely on "normal" days. It's a fast-flowing river and WSTF
has an arrangement with PG&E who control the dams upriver to
reduce the flows and thereby drop level of the river to a
safe depth on the evening of the ride.

Almost every year the arrival of the reduced flow gets
slightly mis-timed and the front runners end up wading
through quite deep water. Cathy Richardson, winner of
last year's Tevis, told me she was thigh deep when she
crossed. Admittedly Fifi isn't tall, but you get the idea.

The bottom of the river is covered in large round river
rocks and the footing can be ankle-twisting if you step
wrong. If the flow is strong, it can be hard to maintain
your balance.

The case you mention concerned the rider in second place
who was an experienced Tevis-ee and I believe may have even
won Tevis in a past year. The story I heard was that the
horse started to cross and got scared and freaked out and
dumped the rider.

As we all know, once a horse has been scared, it can be
difficult to convince it that it isn't going to die if
it gets in the river again. Some horses are more sensitive
than others, and even those that will usually willingly cross
anything you ask of them will occasionally take a dislike to
something and decide that it would be safer to avoid it.

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Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
elsietee AT foothill DOT net
Repotted english person in the Sierra foothills, California
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