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99PAC-The Adventure Continues.....
Sorry it has been soooo long to finish the story of my trip to the Pan Am's.
I had to leave Friday after part 1 to go to the Swanton Pacific 100, I'll
write about that ride soon.
Let's see........ we left off at the end of part1 with Friday night and
final preparations for the ride.
We all got up around 3:30am, fed the horses, fed ourselves, and prepared to
tack up around 4:30. We had talked about heading over to the start together,
mainly because the 6 horses had been together for so long, we felt they
would be nice and calm if we went over in a group. At 5:00 we all headed
over, then each warmed up the horses. We all had different strategies for
the ride, so at about 5:25 we each headed to where ever we wanted to be to
start the ride. It was a very orderly group of close to 100 riders, although
probably more serious than most 100's I've been to. The first loop was 24
miles, with water stops at 3 locations along the way, and 1 trot-by.
The clock hit 5:30, and the ride was on!!!
In training on the trails earlier in the week I knew that there was a whole
lot of sand, and that taking it easy and steady would probably be my best
approach for the first loop. Goofy settled in to the pace I wanted very
quickly ( with-in 2 miles, that's quick for him!!) and we were doing well.
Arrived at the first water tank, he drank, then we were off. From the first
water tank we were going east along the park perimeter for a few miles, then
turn north along the park boundries for about 4 more miles before turning
west and heading back to camp and the first VC. The sand was really deep on
the eastern and northern sections, I was riding up the middle between the
2-track trail, hoping for a little better footing. When we got to the left
turn at the end of the northern trail, I knew we were about a mile and a
half from the trot-by and the water stop. Cruised into the trot-by,
everything looking good. Got off and went over to the water. He drank, then
I electrolyted him. As I have done countless times before, I was going to
run with him for awhile, then get back on. *****The rest of this "adventure"
has been talked about alot, with a lot of speculation and, sometimes, alot
of imagination. <VBG> This is what really happened.*****
We ran on down the trail and after 300 yards or so I flipped the rains over
his head. I had thought I would get back in the saddle, and almost started
to. This was all at a run, again, it was what we were used to doing. I
decided that I would run more, then I tripped. When I tripped, I fell into
his side, and I think also kneed him in the ribs. He moved away from me so
not to step on me, but in doing that, he was no longer supporting me and I
went to the ground on my left side. As I did that, he was still moving away
so he would'nt step on me, but this time the reins slipped from my left hand
to the crook of my elbow. He was still moving away ( he was not paniced so
far), so he started to drag me. That spooked him. Big time.
I don't remember exactly how far I went, I thought 20'. I heard later that
someone back at the trot-by said more like 125'. Either way, not good. The
farther he took me, the more he was spooked. He finally broke free of me and
took off going north for a couple hundred yards, then making a wide turn to
the west. I saw the turn he took, and of course tried to run and cut him
off.......anyone ever try to catch a horse in fantastic shape going at full
speed?? Can't be done on foot, let me tell you. I ran back to the trot-by,
to get help. The people there could not leave cause the race was still on,
and there were more people coming up the trail. They said as soon as the
last horse was thru, they would take me back to base camp so I could get
some help. When Goofy took off, he was moving fast, but I knew the general
direction he was heading (sort of back to camp). His saddle and gear were
all intact, and where they were supposed to be. If his saddle had slipped to
one side or the other, it wasn't more than an inch or two, not only did he
have a breast collar on, but a crupper as well. As I waited for a ride, I
kept venturing out in the meadow looking for signs of him. I knew that he
would settle down and stop and eat, or hook up with another horse and go
into camp. I was hoping he had stopped and was eating, so I could get him
and get back into the ride. No such luck. I guess it was about 1 1/2 hours
till the last riders came thru, I kept my gaze towards the direction he went
pretty much the whole time. I could'nt believe that I went thru all the
process of getting selected, made the team on our squad, and then lost my
I arrived back at camp in the back of a truck with a pulled rider and horse,
then went to our crew box. I pretty much lost it there for a couple of
minutes ( hell, its still hard for me just to type it). I had tossed the
idea of not telling Val about Goofy, then figured it would be better for me
to tell her than to find out on the trail. I knew she would be in very soon
at the 49 mile VC. I think she was averaging about 12 mph till then. Kathy
was an immense help, trying to get all the details while still running our
squad. Becky (Glaser, my groom) took over being my brains from then out,
suggesting a plane and just trying to do whatever she could to get Goofy
found. Its funny, how with all the search and rescue training and work I've
done, when it became my horse that was lost, I just could'nt function at
first. With Becky's help I hired a pilot to look for Goof, and Becky went up
with him. My stomach was so twisted up that I thought it would be a waste
for me to go up, cause I would probably get sick. And I have flown small
planes myself!! Kathy was checking with the office periodically to find out
when we could go out to llok for him or if anyone had seen him.
Meanwhile, Anita then Val came in. While I was waiting for word on what to
do next, I started crewing to keep me busy. I took Val aside and told her
what was up, and we both kinda lost it for a bit. Her horse Copper knew
something was real wrong, especially when he saw me without Goofy. We took
care of Copper, vetted him thru, then finished the hold time. Told her not
to worry, we would find him soon. She left on the third loop, while we were
trying to get a game plan together. I had alot of people come by after they
heard and I really appreciated that. I kind of lost it again when Nancy
(Elliot) came by when she heard what happened. She was the one who got me
into endurance right after she finished vet school and started working at
our local vet's. She was one of the FEI vets at the ride, but took the time
to come over and see if I was ok and find out about Goof. I sort of hoped as
we were waiting to go out and look for him, he would just cruise into the
camp. No such luck.
Val came in at 71 miles, ahead of Anita this time. She was looking
depressed and so was Copper. Our team vet Susan checked him over, then they
took him over to the VC. Came back looking even more depressed, all
parameters were fine except now a C- for gut sounds. Not good, and Copper
wasn't eating. We watched him for about 10 minutes or so, then decided to
pull him. He always chows down at VC's, so something was not right. Better
safe than sorry. Brough him over to the treatment barn, gave him a half dose
of banamine, then watched him. Val wanted to put some fluids in him just in
case, and it took awhile to convince the vet to do so. They thought he would
be fine without fluids, but Val can be pretty convincing, especially when it
comes to any of our horses. So we did that, Copper went back to eating in a
half hour, and it kept my mind occupied.
Becky came back with no news other than it was a neat first ride in a small
plane, but even after staying in the air longer than I had paid for, no sign
of the horse. By 5 pm we received permission to go out on the course to
look, so about 10 of us piled into Bill's truck (Jane unfortunately had to
pull at 71 miles) and drove out to where I last saw him. We all looked till
after dark, but no sign of him, not even a water bottle(which I figured he
must have lost at least 1 of the 4). Discouraged, we went back to camp.
We all were glad when Anita and Gary finished, they were the only 2 out of
our 6 that finished. Then we planned on searching in earnest in the
I know, its long again........
Part 3 will be "The Search"
R.B. Royale Brand (Goofy)
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