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Brazilian Adventure VIII & IX

Race day at last!!!!  Sylvia & I were up at the crack of dawn, made & packed
sandwiches, (just like home), hopped in her rig & off to ride site.  Found
my big red boy waiting in the stall, needed to go to pre vet check but
couldn't brush him  'cause all the brushes were still locked up in Tack
Room.   Kinda wiped him off with the rope, then off I went to the Vet.  Got
my vet card from management & a cute little sack containing the usual stuff,
plus a number vest.  Headed toward the vet check & had made the first stop
when asked for my health papers.... duh!!!! Then here came Sylvia running
with them.  This hadn't even crossed my mind.

He had a resting pulse in the high 30's, I'm pretty impressed with this old
campaigner!!!  And not at all bad on the ground (or mounted) for a stallion.
He & I only had a couple of chats the whole week.  Now back to the stable,
ahh... can get to brushes, AND my saddle now.  Filled up water bottles,
checked fanny pack, decided I wanted to use the running martingale, but no
where in this well stocked tack room was one pair of loose guards.  They
were all built in to each of the English Bridles that were there.

With the polo & 3 day event influence, everything is Quite, Quite,
proper.... got some real funny looks at my hornless Sharon Saare, & the
stable hands, (your gonna love this), who help you tack and untack, aren't
real sure how to do it on a western saddle.  Gave up on the keepers...
(maybe he'll be good.)  Got my camera bag mounted on my fanny pack, yes... I
intended to take pictures... carried same little camera up & down Tevis this
year.  Lets see.. extra film???? No... left it in my room at Sylvia's,
maybe 24 shots will last me.  Ran to truck to take a vitamin before I took
off, one fell out, looked and looked, could not find... oh well, poured
another out & took it.  (Remember this 4 later.)
Mounted, race started, amid as much whoopla, & music & announcers as any
"Grand Event" you've ever been too.  Actually teared up a bit.... even after
18,000 miles, those starts still get me!  Now this AM when we arrived, the
dressage arena had all been staked off, as Sylvia & I had done the day
before.  I wish I could show you pics.  Just wouldn't believe it.  You
thought we brought a lot of stuff in.... They have full size, metal feed
troughs, horse chest high, so they don't have to bend down.  And (your gonna
love this too), a water truck that keeps circling the crew area & filling up
EVERYONE'S tubs & barrels.  I just about fell over when I saw that at the
1st Vet check.

Well, back to the race.... we left in a very civilized manner, however, I
was really glad I had ridden the area that previous week, & really glad I
had reviewed the trail by wheels the day before.  As I said, it was pretty
well marked, but I had fearful visions of me being at a farm house, being
very lost, & asking a Portuguese speaking person for help.

The pace was similar to a medium 50 or fast 100.  We were averaging about
10-11 mph.  I was occasionally riding with one lady who spoke a little
English, but I really didn't miss the chatting.  The countryside here truly
fascinates me.  The rolling & forested hills, (they have to leave 20% of the
natural Forest when they do their agricultural cutting), the small
residential homes,  then the palatial mansions and ranches parked right next
to them.  Old Volkswagens, weird farm trucks, & "pTown Cars", careening down
the narrow roads.  Yes, the cars go a little fast for my comfort, but my
steed was steady & had less of a problem with them than I did.  Not too far
into the ride, I noted a pretty sharp achey pain in my right index finger.
Hmmm... arthritus???  Did I hit it & bruise it... couldn't think of a thing.
Oh well.... who's going to complain about a litle finger pain???  Long story
short... at about 10 miles kinda rubbed my finger (thru the glove) to make
it feel better.  Heh... something in there...  The Lost Vitamin!!!  Another
first... vitamins can cause injury!!!!   Had one near fall about a mile out
of 1st check, stumbled in an irragation ditch... almost went down... looks
ok... carry on.

Slowed way back coming into the first check.  My crew met me at the timer.
For someone who didn't even know if I would have a crew, I couldn't believe
it.... Sylvia, Aluisio, Migelle, 2 or 3 of the stable hands & occasionally
Sharon Saare... (she split her time watching our booth... which they had so
graciously offered for both of our wares.)

Now you know they have all this water, but they have the neatest little
flower watering cans, you know, like Mary Mary Quite Contrary watered her
flowers with.  They really work great, you take off the sprinkler part & you
get a great direct spurt of water.  Gets the water exactly where you want it
and yet conserves the water too.  I'm going to bring some back or try to
find some like these at home.  Really liked them.

Made it into the check in about 5 minutes or so with a pulse of 45.. his CRI
was 42/40, which BTW, they still call a Ridgeway Trot down here.      Cooled
a few more minutes & back on trail.   Lost my sponge ... darn it.
Actually, Sylvia's sponge, (can you believe I didn't bring my personal
sponge down here?), faulty snap, and poor management.  Oh... I know,,, just
like I say at the clinic... I'll take my extra banada & use it!

More pretty country & a neatly stacked woodpile that was at least a 1/4 of a
mile long.  Now that did upset Larma... couldn't get too close to that.
Day was heating up... slowed down a bit.   Into the 2nd check.  Same ritual,
but he hung a bit longer than he did the 1st time.  Not worried, we'd been
around 23 miles... not too surprise, but his CRI warned me a bit...
something was a bit off... 51 to 59.  The vets didn't seem to be too
concerned, but backed off more the next loop.  Had some Pro-Burst with me,
forgot to give it to him...  duh!!!   So as soon as I entered check on 3rd
loop I zapped him.  Knowing it would only help back out on trail, not in
check, (takes almost an hour two get in their system.  The back off didn't
help... when I came in this time, he not only hung, he was fluctuating up
and down.   Out we went, really disappointed.  I think he might have
strained something, (like in the cajones area), when we almost fell, he was
kinda drawn up there,  And of course, after an hour, the pulse was down and
steady, but too little too late.  Curious, had the Pro Burst set in?   I'm
stil in the evaluation stage with that stuff.

Spent the rest of the afternoon watching the sights and visiting with old
friends.  Was delighted to see Enrique Garcia, (one of Brazil's World
Riders), he had lived and ridden with us about a month last Thanksgiving
after finishing a course in Oklahoma.  He is a young up and comer.  It will
be fun watching him.  I was impressed with his riding in Texas... Brazil
must have been too.  Another attractive Brazian young lady whom I rode with
at the Cosequine Challenge, and the wonderful funny Lika, (another Brazilian
team member -- riding On A High in Dubai)  that rhymes... was there as well.
And several of the people & vets I had competed with in the World Nature
Games a year ago.   It was great to see them all.

More horses were now arriving for Sunday's competition.  Over 100 in fact.
Now this double size dressage ring started really filling up.  Pasqual , the
RM, furnished me with Littigator, a low level campaigner, (explained
shortly).  There were some vet ins, but most wait until Sunday morning.  Now
folks.... we may be doing this all wrong up north.  Here's how it works
here.  You don't haul your own horse, Your horse is picked up  in a horse
van & carted to the ride for you.  You don't stay in a tent, camper,....but
the local hotel, or if close enough... drive in Sunday morning.   Where...
your horse has been fed, groomed and probably tacked by your own stable
hand,  One does have to take the horse thru the pre vet, but that's pretty
much it.  At the end, same horse is lead away to be cared for and cleaned by
someone other than yourself.  I swear, it happened to me, today, in Brazil.

Now... I am telling the truth.. but don't anyone dare flame me on this,
because I know none of us would want it any other way than we have it
now.... right?   Right??

Now Sunday was Limited Distance, and as I told the Brazilians, I thought I
came to teach, but I did learn as well.  As I rode and began to understand
their L.D. concept, it made a heck of a lot of sense.  Now, don't flame me
here either... I can't see ours ever changing this much.. but to describe
it, would be like having a NATRC ride, without Horsemanship judging.  The
riders leave staggered, you are given a suggested MPH with correlating KM
markers to make sure the rider is on target, there is still one vet check in
the middle, (criteria 64), then at your completion, after you recover of
course, in :30,  you are judged as if for B.C.  I found myself really riding
agains the trail, (which you should always be anyway.)  Strategizing to make
time on the flat surfaces, so I could go slow on the ups and downs, and stop
for water, etc.  Then, arrange your time so you come in exactly at the
appointed time.  Now, like NATRC, one has to keep moving forward the last
KM.  The pace was not a slouch either.  I had to keep moving pretty doggone

Now, here comes the zinger... Horse A, has to do 4 low level competitions
(approx. 35 km), before he can do longer mileage, then 3 of level II, then 3
of level III, before one can do the equivalent of a 50 miler.  Then a
similar requirement of 50's, 75's, before you can do the equivalent to the
100 miler.  Now this is well and good, really!!!,  But, IMHO, this is one
reason Brazil had only 3 qualified 100 milers to go to Dubai, (they leased
the other 3 from USA),  It just takes too doggone long to get there, and
there just aren''t enough 100 milers around.  They absolutely have the
horses.... incredible horses & good riders.  The 75 k, (45 miles), was won
in about 4 hours, (with criteria of 56 at each ck. & the finish) and it
wasn't a cool day.

On with the party... trophies galore,  divisions galore,  fanfare music, and
a professional announcer really did make this a ta-dahhhhh affair.  They
were sweet enough to give Sharon and I our own little trophys and a
beautiful arrangement of locally grown violets, (in fact the Trailmaster's
livilhood, when not marking trail).
I could go on, but I've probably blown out this ride camp already.  Sorry so
long.  I'm leaving tomorrow and doubt if I will touch a computer for a week
since, when I return to Texas, I'm going to play in my flood mess for a day
or two and be off to another ride.... can you believe it?  I'm sure you can,
and best of all, my friend and host Sylvia is coming back with me for the
ride.  Hopefully some of you can meet one of the very nicest Brazilians of
all.  (No fair grading spelling, or grammer... ridden two rides in two days
& its 1:30 AM)

I'll keep you posted if we do an organized trip down here, as ground plans
are being laid as I write.  ;-)))

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