Home Current News News Archive Shop/Advertise Ridecamp Classified Events Learn/AERC
Endurance.Net Home Ridecamp Archives
[Archives Index]   [Date Index]   [Thread Index]   [Author Index]   [Subject Index]

RE: [RC] Oklahoma Hospitality More on The MSNM - Paul Sidio

Dawn is right. The Mosshammer ladies sure know how to make to make you feel welcome.  Even coming into the Vet Checks, was more like you had just ridden over to  a neighbors for a visit. Kind of like "Well Hi! Glad you stopped by. Why don't you just climb off your horse and sit a spell. How 'bout we check your horses heart rate? Need a cool drink?"  Very warm and welcoming.  Unlike many folks, they never got cranky even as it got into the wee hours of the night and early morning. Just what was in those coozie cups?  Oh and speaking of warm and welcoming, the temperture at 7:00 pm, (ride start) was 100 degrees.  By midnight it had chilled down to a brisk 83 degrees.Brrrr.
One thing about the vet check that was interesting was that one of the vets smoked.... While doing the check... and when he was listening to the gut sounds, the lit end of his cigarette would get an inch or two from the horse's flank.  I was a bit nervous about what could happen if my horse flinched  to his left a few inches . It could have been branding time.  But it all went well. Obviously he has done this many times, and does it well.
One thing Dawn did miss was one of those scary incidents that become funny stories when everybody survives. While the ride  folks had put out a lot of tubs of water for us, they had also marked where some ponds were.  They warned us the ponds were soft bottomed, but on the first loop when we got to the first pond, my horse wanted no part of it.  The part that looked dry was like concrete, but where it looked damp, it just collapsed into a muddy  gooey almost quicksand like mess. One of the junior riders, Marissa?, inadvertantly found herself entered into the Olympic Event of  Equestrian Mud Diving. When her horse got up to the edge, it fell away ,  and in an instant was up to it's belly in sticky mud and floundering around. We bystanders were yelling helpful advice. "Hang On Marissa!"  "Jump off Marissa!!" ." Be careful Marissa.". As the horse struggled to turn around to get back to the pond bank, Marissa finally bailed off. She began swimming strongly for the shore. After enough strokes for a 400 meter swim, she finally realized that the water was only a foot or so deep  and she stood up  and with lots of squishing noise walked/crawled out. As for her diving off the horse performance, I would have to give her high marks for originality and spontanity, but her entry was not very clean. Nor was her exit.  The horse got a few minor cuts and was ok, but later pulled. Marissa was a mess.. Sticky squishy mud into everthing... But she was cheerful about it and kept on to the vet check.  She won the "Hard Luck Award"
Another thing about this Oklahoma ride were the hills. You may not think of Oklahoma as having serious hills, but they were there. East Texas Flatlanders like Dawn may have thought of them as being mountains, but they were just hills. However, unlike an Ozarks hill that looks you straight in the eye and says " Here it is. Think you got what it takes to get to the top?", these Oklahoma hills were sneaky rascals.  When you started up one, they said, " Come on, look at this  gentle grade. I'm not much of a hill . you can fly up me." ( you may not be used to talking hills, but when you do your first night ride and it is 100 degrees at the start... well these things happen.) . Then  the hill just keeps going and going... Finally it flattens out and you think it is the top... and son of a gun it starts up again.  I had been practicing tailing with my horse. It seemed silly to me to do it on such a mild hill, but I did it anyways. About halfway up, I was done and had to climb back on board. Some people tried to canter up them  They learned better after the first loop.
The other interesting thing about my first night ride were the green glowsticks at the trail turns.  Did you know that two green glowsticks set 2 or 3 feet apart and about 4 feet off the ground kind of resemble the slits of giant cat eyes... like if a pre-historic giant SaberTooth Tiger was to come back to life and be waiting in the wilds of Oklahoma to pounce on you?  Well I didn't know it either, but my horse pointed it out for me.  The  tiny little instinct part in the back of his brain brought it up to him. So he let me know about it.   Speaking of glowsticks, some people had them on their horses. They didn't  bother me until the moon went down. Then as the dominant light sourse they moved with the horse carrying them.. BAAACK  and FORTHHHHH,.   BAAAAAACK and FOOOORTHHHHH... UUUUP   and DOWWWWWN.. This can cause vertigo to those not used to it. ... It did.... It was like a visit to Six Flags at Pushamataha Oklahoma.  Lucy Estabrook had three on her horse. We finished together, (she was 2nd, I was 3rd) and at the finish line, I thought my horse was  walking backwards. It was just vertigo. 
 Lucy kind of was sandbagging though. All through the last two loops she went on and on about how her horse was going way faster than normal and would slow down any minute now. He looked great and traveled really well, with a great attitude, but she kept going on like he was on his last legs. We did the last loop 10 minutes faster than the second loop, but had lower heart rates at the finish. Then her horse got high vet score.  I was pleased as punch, because two weeks before I had told my wife that my goal was to finish around 4:00 AM, and we came in at 3:59. Perfect pace.
Dawn was not quite right about the First place and BC riders. The eventual winner was a young man out for a romantic moonlight ride with his girlfiriend. He was someplace back in the pack, and when she pulled ( I think on the second loop),  he must have decided to hurry up  and finish so he could get back  to her  ( AHHH youngsters). He blew past Lucy and I early in the last loop with a nice ground covering lope, and we never saw him again until the awards meeting. One of the problems with a night ride is that we weren't sure if he was riding a flea  bitten grey or a pinto. All I know is he had a red glowstick on it's tail and as it went past us it went UUUUUUPPPP and DOWNNNNN  , BAAAAACK and FOOORTH.. I couldn't watch it any more.  The young mans horse didn't get BC.  They gave it to some old guy from Missouri who loaded 212 pounds on a little 14.3  horse. They probably gave it to him out of pity for how  much weight his tiny skinny horse had to drag up and down those sneaky hills.  Or maybe the vertigo helped him trot his horse in circles at the BC judging.
So next year, when you wish you were at Tevis, but only feel up to doing  a night time 50, this is the place.  As you are riding late into the setting moon heading for the finish line, you can almost see yourself someday doing the same thing coming into McCann Stadium.
Paul Sidio
Spokane MO