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My ride story - Long X

Hi everyone,
Well for those of you who have been following my story about me
my pony, here is the story of his second ride. This pony is
13.2 hh and I am 5'8" and a middleweight. I am going to get a
and a tape, because their are some who think he is shorter then
His name is Cloud Dancer and he is three year old. The only
distance rides that a 3yr old can do is competitive under 25
miles. So at the 
Long X ride in the ND Badlands I did a 12.5 mile loop two days
in a row. 
But let me back up a little bit. Before this pony did the ride,
I and my three daughters, Kacie (13), Kate (8), and Kayla (8)  
arrived at ridecamp on the Tuesday before the ride. After a
three hour
drive, I unloaded the horses and set up camp. Teresa Van Hove
from Colorado was already there and we were going to mark trails
for the next three days. The Badlands are a beautiful and rugged
land that can only be marked by horse back. So two of those
three days that little pony carried me over swichbacks, buttes
and ledges to mark trail. Now if any of you have ever had the
joy of marking trails, let me tell you it is much easier on a
short horse! So after riding on terrain that was much rougher
then anything this little guy had experienced at home, I was
concerned about competing with him for two days on a competitive
So on Saturday morning when he was being vetted in for the 12.5
mile ride, I was anxious, but he vetted in clean! No filling in
the legs, no muscle soreness, no back problems, P/R's good, and
so on.... So at 10:00 am we started out on our 12.5 mile loop.
It was close to 91 degrees F. and the humidity was very high
with no breeze. My usually peppy little pony was going slow and
heating up fast. We were doing a lot of climbing and when we
reached the top, he was hot and tired. There was four of us in
the group and one of them was my husband riding our part crabbet
11 year old arab, who loves the heat. His horse wanted to go so
he took off, which worried Cloud Dancer and he picked up and
stayed up with my husband's horse. We hit the water tank and of
course Cloud Dancer drank good will I sponged and wiped him off.
We were on top of the bute and there was a breeze, so with Cloud
Dancer being cooled off and ready to go, we made some good time.
We hit the next water tank and this is where we had a spot
check. My husband was off before me and Cloud Dancer was very
upset about being left behind. I was talking to one of the guys
at the check and CD was dancing all over the place, not
understanding why I was letting everyone else get away. Finally,
we took off, and CD was ready to run to catch up. Not something
that I wanted to do in the heat, so I put him into a trot. Now
in my training with him, I have taught him to not break out of
the trot into the canter. So he want into his fun and the
smoothest fast trot you will ever ride. Ok, I can see you all
shaking your head at the thought of a pony trot being smooth,
but this guy is half arab and he is very smooth, esp. at his
fast trot, and can he cruise. I can never explain to anyone how
much fun this is. I have 
never had as much fun riding any horse as I have had riding this
pony. In very little time he has caught up with the rest of the
riders, even though they were trotting and loping. And then we
start our decent, which is swichbacks that go down, down and
down forever. CD loves to go down. He is always trying to trot
and canter down hill. But because he is only three and those
legs are young, I hold him back. But he is very sure-footed and
can't understand why he has to walk. And then we hit the bottom
of the valley and it is hot and muggy and we walk the horses in.
I really feel sorry for the 50's.  We make it in to the vet
check just under our time limit. The horses are hot, and we
start pulling off their tack. We need to wait 10 minutes before
the P/R's are done. There are pans sitting around with feed in
them for the 50's and CD can't understand why he can't have a
bite. So I try to find a spot where he can't see them, but have
you ever tried to keep a pony away from pans of feed laying on
the ground, just ready to eat? He is going to like it when we
start doing 50's. Then he will have his own pan. :-)

Now the big moment comes, the P/R's and the vet check. I am
wondering if I have been pushing him too much, how he is doing.
We did a lot of moving on top of the buttes and then the heat.
But his pulse is down to 40 and he vets through clean. No
filling in the legs or muscle soreness, he is well hydrated. And
out of a possible 400 points his score is 395! The only thing
that he lost points for was a 20 respiration. And that is a
normal res.. for him. He got first. 
Next day we do it again and again he scores high. This time he
gets a 394 and he places second. He lost one more point because
during the trot out at the vet check, I had to lift my rope a
little to get him into the trot. And the vet deducted one point
for that. ;-) I will be glad to get into the 25's. Next year he
will be four, so watch out. 

I have never ridden a pony before this guy, so if there is
anyone out there that knows ponies and understands them, Maybe
they can explain to me how come this guy is doing so good at the
age of three. I would never consider riding a three year old
arab like this. In fact I have one in my pasture right now, that
will not be under saddle until the age of 4. I understand that
ponies mature faster, but this guy is so strong!!! He goes up
and down those hills like he is a well conditioned horse.
Everything is so easy for him. When I ride him, I do not feel
like I am on a green pony, but on a big, strong horse. Anyone
understand this? 

Lynette and Cloud Dancer, the wonder pony.

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