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Million Pines


Wes Crowe did it again.  FANTASTIC RIDE!  Can anybody else out there
imagine putting on the largest ride in the Southeast and having the ride
camp in the front yard of your beautiful house?

At the ride meeting Fri. night he announced that there were 91 25- milers
entered, and 75 in the 50!  I think the final count that vetted in was 88
in the 25 and 71 in the 50. (I think)  Still huge!

I had visions of huge lines in the vet checks but it was handled
beautifully.  I never once had to wait in line, and all the vet checks
were in the same place.  There were 5 vets (I think) and they were all
good ones.  We actually did a CRI at every check with no lines.

The day was HOT (upper 80's I think) and HUMID.  We woke up sweating. 
The trail was fairly dry and it looked like it would be a day for high
attrition.  This ride has a very high attrition rate every year (I think
about over 30% last year)  that just confounds everyone since the trail
seems so easy...flat fast sand that's not *too* deep.  (Of course that's
BEFORE 165 horses go over it, 75 of them twice)  However, it's one of the
first rides of the year, some of the horses still have winter hair and
then come south into heat and humidity.  I think it's also a ride that
people tend to think, "My horse could do that one, it's easy" so maybe
horses attempt this one that wouldn't enter some of the rides with more
obvious obstacles.

Once I saw that the Rojeks, Crandalls, Melissa Crain...and several others
who I admire were there, I pretty much dismissed any thoughts of
placement and planned to ride to complete.  Kaboot's been looking really
peaked out...

To make a looong story short*er* I hooked up with Duane Barnett; for some
reason I thought he was taking it easy since he was riding his mare he
hadn't been on in a year or so.  I was at the 1/2 way mark before it
dawned on me that one reason the vet checks weren't crowded was that we
were running top 10. *gasp*

The third loop was hot and dry and Kaboot went awfully fast for 10 miles
without even one drink to wash down the electrolytes I'd given at the vet
check.  That's when we saw Tommy Crain's truck at a road crossing and,
very presumptuously I yelled, "Tommy, get the water out!" and he had it
waiting when we got there.  Kaboot downed a whole bucket and I owe Tommy
a HUGE favor which I WILL  pay back some day.

We caught up with Dinah Rojek on that loop and found out Steve had
pulled.  A lady (whose name I've forgotten) riding Jackie Baker's really
nice horse was with us.  Duane and I got out of the vet check first, but
they caught us again on the last 10 miles.  We eventually  rode in
together to place 5th thru  8th.  

It was so hot that we were all thinking the same," let's keep what we've
got and no racing".  At the 2 mile out mark when we got out of the woods
onto a wide dirt road  I just let Kaboot trot as fast as he wanted and
told myself I was not going to canter, even if they all passed me.  We
kind of pulled out front, then Jackie's friend started cantering next to
me, so I figured she was going to go on in and take 5th, but she checked
her horse and dropped in behind me as we crossed the line.  So...really
all 4 of us sort shared 5th thru 8th.

The winner was Michelle Owens (FLA) 2nd in a race to the finish was Nikki
Young.  3rd was Lynda Crandall...then 4th place's horse didn't come down,
so I was moved up to 4th.  Definitely my best placing on a
matter of fact, when Wes called my name he asked, "Who stuck HER with a
pin?" :-)

BC judging went well with Kaboot running off and leaving me on his trot
out as usual.  

The awards at Wes' rides are always the best.  Top 10 in both distances
got really nice polar fleece vests monogrammed with the Million Pines
logo and "Million Pines Top 10 1999" The BC award for both distances is a
beautiful big pine tack trunk.

Joe Schoech won BC in the 25. 

 In the 50 they announced the scores from 10th thru 1st and it came down
to Kaboot and Forgym.  Forgym won it. *sigh*.  Oh well, sure can't
complain about coming in 2nd to a horse like that!

Bekki Crippen and Buddy made it 2 for 2 finishing the 25 in 5hrs. riding
time.   She actually got a ride photo of her and Buddy cantering.  In the
photo she's turning to face the photographer smiling from ear to ear and
holding her hands out to the side like *look ma, no hands*, of course she
had on turquoise from head to toe.  It's hard to believe that a year and
a half ago she'd never cantered him.  Wes also surprised her by using the
photo of Bekki & Buddy that was on the cover of EN for the front of this
year's T-shirt.

Anyone who leaves Wes' ride early is crazy.  There's a beautiful lake
down behind his house with a walking path around it.  Late in the evening
there must have been 20 Arabs at any given time being led or ridden with
halters and leads around the lake, and at least 3 or four being ridden by
kids who were discovering the joys of swimming on a horse.

Let's hear it for Wes.  He sure puts on a 1st class ride!!!! And...he
chose a color of vest that doesn't show gray hair. :-)

Angie McGhee & Kaboot 

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