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Liberty Run II, Part One (yea, another long tale from you know who)
After my wife discovered that there are way toooo many women and too few men
at my endurance rides, she informed me that if I want to continue in this
sport (my wife works weekends so she cannot go with me to supervise my
behavior) I had to start taking my ten year old daughter, Jennifer, (the only
other rider in our family) with me. My wife knows that Jennifer has an
excellent memory, a big mouth like her Dad, and will inform on anyone if
there is a reward to be received. The word "ratfink" is not part of
So, Jen and I started training. Me, on my giraffe of a horse named Dance
Line, and she on this Arab I have that will not pass other horses on the
trail, even during an endurance ride. The Arab's name is Rebel, a nickname I
gave him when I broke him (actually he broke me). He had this habit of
making a God awful noise that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up
anytime you tried putting a saddle on his back. Plus I think he knew I was
born a Yankee and posing as a Southerner (reincarnated carpetbagger) so he
dumped me hard the first time I put the leg over the saddle. Rebel
positioned the throw so that I landed in the only area of my pasture that had
those thorny bushes. I came out all scratched up and bleeding. My glasses
were twisted and one of the lenses had popped out. I've lost more pairs of
glasses, because of my equestrian activities, than I care to count.
I was on a men's softball team at the time and had invited all the "guys" to
come over to my place and watch me play cowboy. The entire team showed up for
the event; I figured either I was more popular than I thought or most of them
were hoping I'd break my neck. One of the ballplayers was recording
everything with his video camera, and after Rebel dumped me, the horse
proceeded to chase everyone all over the field, bucking and snorting and
really carrying on. This made all these, normally, very macho men scatter,
climb trees, and run like someone was shooting at them. You should see the
video, especially during the chase. My favorite part was when the cameraman
dropped his expensive video recorder to save his own skin and made a scream
that was almost as loud as Rebel's. You can hear him yell, "Don't kill me
you stupid horse, Shiiiiiiii*******, I'm gonna die here." For the rest of
the softball season I had to listen to the jokes about my horse and
horsemanship and the tales of the BULL RUNNING WILD at Howard's house.
Jen and I have ridden together for about two years, so it didn't take too
much training to get her and Rebel ready for a 25 mile endurance run. As our
departure date got closer and closer for the Georgia Liberty Run II ride,
Jennifer got more and more excited. I tried to explain to her everything I
knew about the sport (this took me about 3 minutes). I concentrated on her
staying behind me during the ride and tried to tell her about some of the
rude behavior I had previously seen at the rides, especially with buddies
riding together, so she and I wouldn't repeat any of it. Since Jen was
riding a horse that refused to pass another one I wasn't too worried about
her taking off on me.
As the day for departure got closer and closer, I found myself packing up the
trailer, taking stuff out and repacking, and getting Jen involved as much as
possible. Traveling with two horses and a ten year old just added more
stuff, and I have yet to figure out a way to do this efficiently. At my
pace, three days before departure is not too early to start loading. Since I
had planned on another of my nighttime road trips I persuaded Jen to go to
bed early, and told her that the next time she awoke we would all be on the
road heading towards our destination with the sound of the diesel engine
humming in the air.
I loaded up both horses, picked up Jennifer from her bed and put her down in
the back of the cab without awakening her. Man is she getting heavy. The
trip was uneventful except for that pain in the butt Agricultural Station at
the Florida border. I would love someone to explain to me why Florida is the
only state on the East coast that has this silly stop for horse owners (they
will never wave a horse trailer thru even though I've seen large truck rigs
with trailers that could be carrying a huge load of horses being waved while
I wait in line to answer Bubba's questions). What really irks me is the game
of let's pretend the guy in uniform has a clue to the breeds of horses being
transported and knows what he is doing with respect to looking at the papers
I hand him and being able to identify the horse with the paper. Everytime I
go outside with one of these "officers" I feel confident the two of us are
playing a game of "let's pretend I know what I'm doing here." I have yet to
be convinced that this bureaucratic procedure serves any useful purpose
whatsoever. Sorry for rambling, but whenever I leave or reenter Florida this
stop bugs me.
After over 6 hours on the road I saw a sign that said to Fort Gordon. This
is a huge Army post, near Augusta, GA, where the Liberty Run II ride is held.
The MP waved me and my rig right on the base, never asked for any ID or
anything. The post was huge, I got last three times cause I came in a
different gate than was advertised by the ride management. As I pulled into
ridecamp the sun was just beginning to rise. I parked my rig and got out to
look for my OLE Georgia buddies, Bernie, Randy, Kay, Robert & Beverly.
Jennifer was up and I asked her to wait for me in the cab. She was half
awake, but I could tell she was very excited to be here.
I found Bernie's trailer and saw him feeding his Tennessee Walker. I snuck
up behind him, reconnected his electric box, turned it on and then and hid
behind a tree. I wanted him to be "Shocked" to see me. Haha. And he was,
ZAPPPPPPPP, when he touched the wire. Man did he cuss. I came out from
behind the tree to see his hand smoking from OLE sparky and yelled, "gotcha."
Too funny, but I knew there would be a payback from him sometime over the
weekend. He had saved me a spot next to him, so I went back and got the rig.
I'M OUT OF BEER SO I'LL TAKE A BREAK AND FINISH IT TOMORROW NITE OR WHEN I
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