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[RC] What I learned at Hornswaggle Hill - Laura Hayes

Rode Hornswaggle Hill in Allegany State Park in New York last weekend, and had one of the more fun rides of my career.  Did we win?  Nope, in fact, second to last with 6 minutes to spare.  Here is what I learned:
1.  Every horse is different and what is good for one may not work for another.  Taking the time to learn the difference is monumentally important.  I am still learning about my mare Mo (aka Tifaan) even after 600 miles together in seven states and five regions.  She can't be managed and ridden the same as my last horse, and I can't compare her to Equal Terms in any way.  She is her own individual self and I have to accept that and learn what she needs to be successful.  ET could not tolerate being dosed with elytes in any form or amount - Mo may very well need them, and I have to rethink my theory on that and find out what is best for her.  I am also going to start riding her with a HRM, something I usually don't do, but have decided would be in her best interest.
2.  Putting on an endurance ride is hard work.  I didn't do it myself, just helped with a small part, but observed again, the time and commitment that goes into it.  Thanks Helen, and all the RMs and volunteers that turn out so the crazies like us can ride.
3.  If there is a little piece of hay or something in your tights near the knee, you should take the time to stop and remove it, because it will wear a hole in your skin over 50 miles.
4.  Wear the shoes with enough room in them if you are going to run down hills, otherwise your toes will hit the front of the shoes and get sore.  If you do it long enough, your toenails will turn black and fall off.  I actually learned long ago not to continue in that condition, so I avoided the black toe nails this time. Now I know to just put on the more appropriate shoes to start with.  My name is Laura and I am a slow learner.
5.  The most important thing I learned last weekend, is that good friends, equine and human, are the most wonderful gifts.  I rode with buddies Kim Fuess (who flew from CA to ride with us) and Bill Taylor for almost 12 hours, and we ran the gamut from laughing to worrying to telling whoppers, to just riding silently and determinedly forward.  I have been, in my career, the consummate Lone Ranger, savoring the solitude and companionship of just my horse for literally thousands of miles.  This ride with such good company, was as much fun as any I have done.   Thanks guys. 
Laura Hayes
AERC #2741