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Western Main 250 Mile MultiDay: Mary Coleman

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Mary Coleman:

Finally a multi-day ride in the NE and in Maine always buggy but not usually hot in August. We have family there so it's a great excuse to con Charles into hauling Hawk and me north. We were the first to arrive at the gorgeous Fryeburg Fairgrounds 4 a.m. Friday built Hawk a corral and crashed till morning. Unbeknowst to me (one should learn to read the entry I guess) NO corrals are allowed horses are to be stalled only. This is a problem I really do not want Hawk stalled four days till the ride starts.. So now I read the entry wherein it states come to Tom and Kathys if you plan to arrive early. Without forewarning we drive there, find Kathy at home (whew) and now Hawk has a field. BUT Hawk has to see other horses and he is not happy. Eventually he wins and ends up out with their 5 geldings and abandoned by me as we go visiting.

We went and did the family thing a real strain on me as I have as much in common with my daughter-in-law as I do with the pope. However they did have internet and I could follow the Tevis and we did enjoy Maine lobster. By the way it is downright HOT I mean HOT yet the weathermen keep insisting a cool front is coming.

Monday arrives we go get the boy who had to have his hind shoes reset as somehow he has twisted one. Luckily Kathys farrier had planned to stop in so it was not like he had to come just for Hawk. Hawk had lots of exercise running with his new companions the biggest herd he's ever been with. At home he only tolerates one horse with him.

We vet in with a resting pulse of 36 I told Art that's the lowest it will be the rest of the week. At this stage we do not have the AC on it's not as hot but still not Morgan friendly yet either. Tom has changed all the holds to return to camp which is great because hosing is going to be needed. Also we are starting at 5 we being only 10 in the 50 and 3 in the 30.

Day One: Frying in Fryeburg it is dark I am tacking up cursing the weathermen but loving the hose issue and the fact I had emailed Stephanie Rice and she has agreed to ride with me. One could not have asked for a better partner as her horse Prymtym was happy to follow along. Of course being a gray Arabian he walked right in and pulsed I hosed Hawk 6 minutes and he's down. It was a long HOT 50 with not enough Morgan water thank goodness for crew spots on trail and the Saco River. The highlight was seeing 2 huge bull moose on loop 2 and having Hawk watered by the moving irrigation system in the potato fields this was a first for us.

We finished 10th and turtled at the same time. We were done at 3ish or so I was a mite sick from the heat so went and took a power nap in the AC and try to get revitalized to go another day. I often said if it's hot enough I need to be running the AC Hawk has no business being rode. However it is 600 miles to Maine and I am determined to get at least 100 miles(must be the boiled owl in me). Now the next problem is finding a riding buddy who agrees to go Morgan heat pace. Kim Firestone the only other rider from Penn. agrees since she is attempting her first pioneer. At the awards we get a lovely Western Maine magnet for completion and a Hawk color green shirt for our big top ten!

Day Two: Deja-Vu: Same trail as day one maybe a little less humid but Hawk's fun-meter is getting testy. Kim's horse is fresh and fights to stay in front and Hawk hates following. He's pouting and forging like crazy then on the 2nd loop pulls a shoe right before we see our crew. I blame this on myself since I got the brainstorm to run pads this year which he never needed before. Charles puts my ez boot on with much struggle. Ez boots and ez-ups need different first names if you ask me. The boot stays on the rest of that loop we only have 17 more miles and the farrier only comes if needed each night so we go onto to the last loop with it on then off then on then lost then another one on then off get the picture?

I am depressed worrying Hawk will not have hoofwall left since we have a long dirt road near the end, we are holding Kim up we now another rider Cecily from RI altho there were not many of us I believed I counted 11 states and Canada in the entry list. I keep telling them to go on in I have plenty of time to finish but they would not so we all crossed together tied for 10th (out of 15) and turtling again at 4:11.

Thursdays forecast is the most Morgan unfriendly I have ever seen so I reluctantly cry uncle and stay to help the five pioneers that are still going. Hawk did get new front shoes minus pads now Wednesday night and is sound which is a relief. The camp moves onto to a big field in North Waterford with no hook-ups, hosing etc.. all the more reason to not ride. We left our rig in Fryeburg with Hawk in a stall and followed the riders around with water etc.. The weatherman hit this forecast right. All five riders completed and we left for Penn. five p.m.

Tom did an excellent job and I hope he made out well enough to run it again. Except for the heat I had a great time and would certainly return. Morgan Power! (Hawk is now 180 miles short of 5K AERC I had high hopes of knocking out a big chunk of that in Maine but alas it was not to be).

Mary Coleman
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