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Christmas in Kansas...ride story

Christmas In Kansas

To not finish is also to Win!


Today Luna and I did not finish a ride for the first time. I looked up the definitions of the word "Winner" in the Webster dictionary. The one that applies here is: "One that is successful especially through praiseworthy ability and hard work" We were pulled at 40 miles for lameness.

Luna was having a little difficulty with traction on the dry mowed grass. Her hind feet were slipping a lot.

It did not feel like a limp to me, but I knew she didn’t exactly feel right either. This little mare has a high tolerence for pain. Unlike my Arab "HotRod" who would have stopped on trail at the first hint that he was sore and waited for me to get off and go get the trailer!

We came into the 40 mile vet check in really good time and Luna’s recoveries were great. She had started with a B gut at the pre ride check and at the 20 mile check. I am very proud to say at 40 miles her gut was an A. Her heart rate came right down. The weather was 95 with 65% humidity. It was very hot but she had been eating and drinking on trail. When the vet asked for the trot out and then immediately asked the other vet to come look….I knew something was up.

"Off in the right rear" they said. At that moment, my heart sank. Only ten more miles to go! They told me to do the 45 minute hold and then come back. They knew I was taking really good care of my horse and wanted to give us a chance to recover. 45 minutes later it was not better. I sent my riding partner off with a big smile to do her last loop .Her horse, Brother was calling to Luna all the way out of camp

As I stood hosing Luna’s leg, I had a chance to collect myself and to reflect on all the emotions I was feeling. I now realize that this is the part of being a "endurance rider" I had not practiced. I was hot, tired and almost in tears, but at the same time I was glad that Luna was going to be alright and thankful that I had not hurt her. She is after all the most important part of this partnership!

I had some flashbacks of my rodeo career. I competed in rodeos from the age of 12. My family hauled me every weekend, Little Britches, High School, and even a rodeo scholarship to college. When I would knock a barrel over or miss my loop on a calf, people would say "tough luck" and the only feeling it left you with was "how glad they were you screwed up" I got out of that sport because of the cut throat attitude.

After I gave Luna a nice massage oil bath and tucked her in her pen with some nice hay I changed clothes and wandered around camp. Riders and friends came up to me and said "tough luck" "sorry you were pulled" and I could tell by the tone of their voice and the look in their eyes, they really meant it! They had all been there before, and they knew what I was feeling. That is one of the great things about this sport of Endurance riding. I have never met anyone that wanted you to fail. What a Sport!!

I am not used to being in camp during a ride. I tried to help Bill, the very best pit crew you could ever find, but he only gave me a look as if to say, "This is my job." Looking for something to do I decided to go find Margie" Our Ride Manager of The Year". She said I could go to the finish line and time people in. I took my camera so I could take a picture of Linda and Brother coming across the finish. When I got there, I found out that they were going to top ten!! How exciting, They came into sight….surprised to see me there and I said "guess what, you’re 7th!!" It was very neat to share in her accomplishment..

When we got back to camp I had to go and get Luna so Brother would "shut up" and let the vets finish their job!! All A’s and another 50 mile ride behind them.

I want to say "Thank- you" Dr Slusher and Dr Baldwin for taking such good care of the horses at this ride.

They have to be the best vets in the AERC! We are so thankful to have them in the central region. They do not take any chances nor do they hesitate to help you with anything.

Margie and Jim Burton, Thanks for a great ride. You are the best! We will be back next year.

And yes…Luna and I are "Winners"

Sheila Garretson

Central Region.

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