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Goethe ride story -- our first 50 (long)

Well, we finally did it!  After pulling from the Oconee 50 last February,
Lakota and I spent the rest of 1998 on The Great Saddle Hunt. The new
Stonewall arrived mid-October, and we started conditioning for our next
first 50 -- and this time we completed.  Hot diggity dog! :)) We finished
in 9:20 or so total time (90 minutes of hold), with all As and Bs
(straight As on his back, so I guess the Stonewall was a good choice for
us), final CRI of 44/40 straight off the trail at the end of 55 or so
miles (yeah, we did a few extra for good measure, thanks to missing a turn
marker on the first loop <g>).  While Lakota still didn't eat & drink as
much as I would've liked (never satisfied, ya know) he did eat & drink
*some* throughout the ride, so I'm hoping he'll get better at that with

I learned from some of my mistakes at Oconee, and it paid off this time.
Last time I split the drive in 2 days, thinking that would be easier on
Lakota, but it wasn't.  So this time we drove straight through on Thursday
and he had all day Friday to settle into the camp routine, took a short
leg-stretching warmup ride Friday afternoon, and he did *much* better
overall, from eating & drinking to general attitude.  Since all VCs were
in camp and we were parked right next to the VC area, we set up our own
"hold station" next to our trailer and kept him there during holds, still
tacked up, rather than putting him in the portable corral, so he didn't
get fooled into thinking it was all over at the lunchtime hold (a mistake
I made at Oconee). That seemed to make a huge difference in his attitude.
I also had a wider variety of available foods for him to eat, so he could 
pick and choose a bit.  I think the probis I've been using really did help
too, because he ate pretty much nonstop from the time we arrived Thurs 
till the ride began Sat morning.  He didn't like the water which RM
thoughtfully brought in on a big tanker :( but he did eat bucket after
bucket of wet sloppy beet pulp mash, which kept his hydration at
reasonable levels.  

Truman Prevatt had told me he was planning to do a slow 50 with Jordy, so
I asked to tag along, which worked out very well for me, because Truman
encouraged me and Jordy kept Lakota competitive. :)  Having someone to
ride with, and also having a friend crew this time (!) made a very big
difference in *my* attitude. :))  There's no doubt it's easier to do this,
especially starting out I guess, if you're not all alone.

We agreed to start a few minutes after the pack, so I mounted Lakota and
decided to walk him out of camp away from the start for a quiet warmup
walk alone.  Of course he was really excited at all the horses milling
about the start and was jigging a bit, so I walked him through camp and
turned him onto a dirt road going the other way.  I guess he thought I
knew a shortcut and we were going to head the others off at the pass,
because soon as I turned him onto the road, he took off at a flying trot,
all by himself! LOL I finally slowed him down, turned him around, met
Truman at the start and we took off.

First 5 miles or so, Lakota was doing really well -- a bit excited but
still under control.  He started getting more wound up, though, as we went
along, and ended up crow-hopping the last 10 miles of the first loop.  I
was ready to shoot him!  We missed a turn marker on that first loop and
ended up doing an extra 5 miles or so, which only improved my mood. :)  
By the time we got in to the first VC (so late that some folks came out in
a truck to look for us <BG>), I was "a bit snippy" according to my crew.
:)  But somehow a light bulb went off in Lakota's brain during that hold,
because next loop he settled right down into a beautiful, easy canter and
held it steady the entire 10-mi loop.  I don't think I yelled at him once
the rest of the day.  He was a doll!

We trotted and walked the 3rd and 4th loops, as my personal agony level
steadily increased.  Lucky for me, Truman was having a weird problem with
his saddle twisting, so he stopped periodically to straighten it up, which
gave me a chance to rest.  My knee was aching, my shoulders & back hurt
from the morning's crow-hopping exercises, and my thighs were screaming
"no more posting!!!"  I nearly cried uncle about 2 miles from the end, but
Truman promised me we were nearly there, and he kept me going.  And boy
was I one happy camper to get our completion.  We finally did it!!

I was even more pleased the next day though, because Lakota looked so very
good.  Now I know what people mean when they say "he looked like he hadn't
been ridden."  Not only did he go through every VC straight off the trail,
meeting parameters and then some, got all As and Bs on the vet card, good
CRIs, but that night, next morning and next evening after a 9-hr trailer
ride, he wasn't stiff, had no puffiness in his legs, and still had a great
attitude -- came off the trailer trotting towards his pasture gate. :)
That was the greatest thrill for me -- that he could do those 50 miles and
not even show it.  

So now I gotta hop over to the ride calendar and start making plans for
spring. :)

Thanks to ride management for putting on this ride -- the trails were
beautiful, the footing excellent, and the pre-ride dinner was wonderful.
All in all, a terrific weekend -- and not a single flat tire!

Glenda & Lakota (50 miles!!!)
Mobile, AL
AERC # M18819 & H27310
SE Region

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