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part2 blizzard in canada

Good Morning all
A good nights sleep might improve my spelling:-D
The trail continued along a river and the wind coming off the river
dropped the temp even lower. The snow was sleet so it stung your face
and we were going into the wind. I think even the horses were wishing
for there barn. The road along the river was rocky with small sharp
gravel and big rocks. the only safe place to ride was a narrow path
right along the edge of the bank. The river was fast and noisy . Reid
was not sure she wanted to trot that close to the edge. We could not go
onto the road and risk a stone bruise. To have to walk out at this point
was not an option. Hypothermia was now a BIG danger to us. I was worried
about Amanda. She is a tiny little thing with no body fat. I kept her
talking and at a trot we were moving enough to generate body heat. The
horses put out a tremendous amount of heat so they help keep us warm.
Amanda wanted to walk at this point worried about Shadow on the rocks
but I told her we had to keep moving. Visibility was getting bad and I
feared the storm was going to get worse. I cursed myself at this time
because in my hurry to leave camp I had forgotten my fanny pack. I carry
a good survival kit in it and felt naked without it. The one time I felt
I might really need it and it wasn't with me.
We started singing 100 bottles of beer on the wall. I wanted to keep
Amanda singing and talking . She looked so cold. We had to cross this
big water diversion bridge. The river roared under it and into grates of
somekind. (Is this where we send our water to California???;-)) Amanda
said wouldn't it be awful if someone's horse got scared and wouldn't
cross. Luckily our mounts do what we ask and walked across the slippery
boards without hesitation. We rode about another mile along the river
and turned onto a cut line. It was now a steady climb out of the valley.
Footing was good and we were making good time. I kept asking Amanda if
she was shivering. Luckily she was not just cold in her hands and feet.
We came into a clearing and found a volunteer at the river crossing to
point the way. I was glad to see him! The way was not marked clear. We
had a wide river crossing but not to deep. It was just above the hocks.
Very rocky on either side and we had to walk. 15 miles to go. I couldn't
believe we had only gone 3 miles since leaving the vet check. It felt
like a 10.
Amanda made the comment "Aren't you glad this isn't a 100?" I agreed the
idea of an extra 50 miles of this was not my idea of fun.
We carried on and the miles passed slow. It was a steady climb up a
cutline and the trail looked more like a river. We were going as fast as
we felt safe. Reid is extremely good in mud and ice. She kept her feet
under her well. Shadow seemed to be doing just as good. Shoes were a
must but also made traction hard. At this point we were over taken by a
competitive rider who was really flying. She had pads all four feet. The
rocks were not a problem for her. Reid wanted to go with her. I had to
hold her back. Next year I am padding for this ride. I could have put on
ez boots with foam but hind site is great and they were in camp.
My feet were so wet that when I dropped my stirruops to wiggle them I
could feel water running front to back in my sneakers. I would have
killed for a pair of heavy sorrel boots. I guess I could have rode in my
rubber boots. Hind site is a wonderful thing.
Bob Toothills (also a Pan Am rider) caught up to us and we tucked in
behind him and Duke. Bob lives in the mountain area and rides them all
the time. I felt confident following him and the horses were glad for
the company. He towed us for a while then dropped back. We trotted on.
Bob caught up with us again as we were heading into the valley. Once
again we gave him trail and followed him through. Duke moves pretty good
in the slop. We chatted along the way and the miles seem to go faster
with new company. The best site of the day was when we arrived at the
5.5 mile vet check. Endurance trotted through and competitve riders had
to stop. Bob was riding competitve so he stopped. Amanda and I turned
down the offer of a fire and hot drink although it was tempting. We
wanted to get our horses back to camp and under blanket. I was worried
in the cold they would cramp up and they were feeling good and moving
nice still.
Dianne Jackson and Dynamo were in the vet check. Dianne had rode in
hypothermic and the vets and staff had stripped her and got her into
warm coveralls. They took care of her horse and got warm drinks into
her.She was there 1 1/2 hours before she could leave. She came trooting
by us on the way into ride camp with a big smile and a green garbage bag
on. She said It is a great way to sack out your horse for bags. The bag
was snapping in the wind. She was taking alot of teasing in camp about
stripping for the vets. :-D
We trotted into camp and pulsed down within minutes. The horses looked
good and vetted through clean. My CTR was 13 14 and we were sound. She
had a cut on her leg from a rock but no swelling or heat.Shadow finished
looking good and amanda was happy to be home. The last few miles she
said when I get to camp I am going to give my parents the horse and I am
going to get warm. I am so happy my mom is waiting at the finish line
for me.
Endurance is a family sport. The Winders are so supportive of their
kids. Blaine and Colleen were at the finish line and had worked as
pulsers all day in the cold. The vets and volunteers braved the weather
and endured all day. In spite of the weather it was a great ride and
everyone should get a big group hug.
The pull rate was about 35 to 40 % I was told. Riders had to pull
because of the cold even though the horses looked fine. Some horses were
not pulsing down and had to be pulled but they were all okay after
awhile. This was one ride I will never forget.
It truly tested the horses and riders. To Finish is to Win.
Happy Trails to all.
Paddi Sprecher
Canadian Trail House
Manufacturer of biothane tack and other horse supplies
Devon Alberta Canada
PS when I got back to the camper and peeled my wet clothes I was so
wrinkled  from the wetI now know what I will look like when I am
ninety.:-DDDDDD Scary....

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