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Re: Sponge Off
>There are lots of great tricky water crossings and a nighttime river
>crossing. It would give you a great excuse to come out and try the
It's not that I wouldn't love to have an excuse to "drop by" the Tevis,
but I feel there's a lack of communication here between East & West on
this sponging thing. I think you guys are used to only having
occassional access to sponging water...like at rivers.
Out here, an exceptional sponger is the one who hits all the mudholes on
the fly, without altering their pace. Practically everybody manages to
get their sponge out when they know there's a river coming...but it's
being ready when you see that dribble of water at the base of a fern when
crossing a ridge that everyone else thought was bone-dry that makes you
I realize this may not translate out nationwide...the West may have to
come up with their own definition of what's "good"...and then of course
Carl Meyers will beg to differ in that our horses are just "Mountain
Spongers" and not in the same "class" as some heavyweight carrying
My personal preference is to be a top knotch "Mudhole Sponger". This
requires accuracy and speed, since they often come in clusters and the
trick is to get as many dips in as possible as you trot by at speed,
while others haven't even managed to unclip their "show sponges" from
their saddles. This explains why Kaboot tends to finish Georgia rides
with a red tint to his mane.
By the way, a person who wishes to remain anonymous asked if I planned to
have a entry level version of the Sponging Champeenships for people who,
for reason of time constraints or physical limitations, are unable to
learn to sponge on the fly. Hmmm, I thought it over and I don't believe
we could quite give them credit for being "Sponge on the Flyers". Do you
think they'd be offended if they were called "Dabbers", or "Blotters?"
If we truly plan for this to be "entry level" with plans of progressing
up to sponging on the fly, I suppose starting out as "dippers" would be
best. But this bothers me a little, because I've noticed that 95% of all
spongers have chosen to stay at this level...which makes me think that
recognition for dipping might discourage them from moving up to the truly
rewarding sponging on the fly.
Some people have asked me what it is about me that makes me such a great
sponger. I've thought back to my childhood and I remember when I was
about 4 or 5 years old and my country cousin "Buddy" (who is in jail now)
talked me into drinking out of the mudhole in my grandfather's driveway.
I stopped after a few sips when my mother caught me and informed me that
I would "Get WORMS!" I thought she meant I was going to suck up an
earthworm, so I did stop...but I think perhaps I became "one with the
mudhole" at that time. Other than that...I just suggest lots of practice
during long, boring, humid rides.
I'm afraid that if I did come to the Tevis, everyone would be
disappointed in me. I know that you're expected to get off your horse
and do lots of legwork out there, and I'm afraid I'd have a problem with
getting my tongue tangled up in the string.
Angie McGhee & Kaboot
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