Hi Everyone,

Sorry I dropped the ball on the blogs - the days got too long and busy and when we finally got back to the hotel I wa too tired to fill you in. If you have been reading Kathy Brunjes blogs, you know what we have been up to.

It is now the night before the race. It is very strange to start a race at 5:30 pm. You sort of don't know what to do or when to do it during the day. Most of the preparations we would normally make the night before we will do around 10:00 am, then lunch and get everyone off to a nap.

The veterinarians say the race will be won by the team with a plan and strategy. I don't know what our result will be, but we do have a plan and a strategy, and our riders are committed to seeing it through.

ESPN is covering the race and broadcasting 2 hours in 165 countries, including the US. You may be able to see if our plan comes to fruition.

We are 12 hours ahead of you (east coast) so you will be able to see how we are progressing during the day. Please send us good thoughts Nov, 7,8. We will feel those positive vibes over here, half way around the world. We are proud to be here as representatives of the United States and U.S. Endurance. We will do our very best to make you proud!

Becky Hart


More Crew!

We have some crew people in to help! Ann Crandell and Deb Bullis are here and do we ever need them. The riders have been handling everything from early and late feedings to stall cleaning and riding and hand walking. Jim and I pitch in to help get the chores done, but it is staill along day for the riders when we leave the hotel at 7:00 ad get back around the same time in the evening. We seemed to have had another round of food poisoning among our group. Three of our group were feeing the effects today. Two were grooms, so the riders went out in the afternoon - high heat and humidty for another workout. this time they got to trot in 20 minute intervals. Grace, Ann and Deb went to one water point to pour water on the horses, JIm and I went to the other point. the was the fasted and hottest workout yet. Heartrates were still good, horses cooled down very fast at the end of the ride. JIm and I and the riders were very pleased to see how well the horses were able to handle it.

DeWayne Brown got in around 5:30. He will being staying the the luxurious "groom's room" suite at the venue. It may not have TV, but it does have very effective air conditioning. Now we have someone on site to handle the morning and evening feedings. That will be a big help to the riders.

For tomorrow, we have planned a long ride ride, around 20 miles. Ten days before the race we want to see how the horses handle a longer distance, assess their fitness levels, and draw blood again to evaluate electrolyte levels.

The riders are mentally and physically ready. They are a very close-knit team. They are staying focused and positive. The level of cooperation has really been outstanding. With the arrival of more grooms and extra people, the riders can now get some rest and concentrate on their primary purpose.

Our fun for the day: Jan's horse, Leon, is not fond of having his ears clipped. Jim Bryant decided to set a good example for Leon by sitting in his stall and letting Grace cut his hair with the clippers. Jim was very good - not kicking or biting at all. The fact the he let Grace cut his hair with horse clippers just shows how hot it can be here. Many pictures were taken, I'll try to get them posted. Leon, however, did not take the good example to heart, and finally Jim himself whispered in Leon's ear that the clipping would be for his own good. Leon listened to Jim and the job was done. Leon may not realize it but on the outside of the ears are many large veins and exposure to the air will help him cool down much more quickly than if we had left all the hair on.

It's 9:30pm and raining again. boy, did we pick the right night for the night ride! time for bed.


First Night Ride

Today we have a night ride planned if it isn't pouring rain. We work the horses twice a day, so we goth there early to feed, clean and hand walk for an hour. We wanted to send the riders back to the hotel for R&R before the night ride. Some of us still needed clothes for the closing ceremonies se we did a quick shopping, found our dresses and still had time for a nap.

At 8:00pm we started saddling up. The entire barn, Canada, Japan and the U.S are in the same barn. Japan is with us because their horses are both from North America and the hroses are grouped by location - North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, etc. When I arranged for the ride I was told the OC would like the entire barn to go on the same night. With 13 horses going out it felt almost like the start of a ride. The rain was holding off - the first and only night since our arrival that it has not rained at night.

One of our horses needed new shoes so we decided to have that horse hand walked. Jim and I went along with the rider so we could see what the trail would be like at night, and to justify the piece of chocolate cake we had each had at dinner. We walked for about two hours very briskly and got back tot he stables just ahead of the riders. Every one was happy with how the ride had gone. Away from the venue visability was fairly good, they were able to practice when to use a head lamp, how to read the GPS and just generally check it out. One hour back to the hotel and in bed by midnight.


Team Work

Did I mention that in addition to driving on the opposite side of the road and families on motor scooter there is the added complication of goats and cows wandering into the road?
Our adventures in driving have been increased with the addition of our new "toaster" car. It is the size and color of a toaster. Anyone riding in that car has been christened at "toaster person".

The horses have been bumped up to three 10 minute trots and 5 minutes of canter. It is so easy to keep these people happy. I get to let them work harder and longer and they get happier. The good news is the horses are happy too. They are handling the heat and humidity with ease. Pulse rates are normal, temps everyone eating and drinking well (a couple of horses are eating just a little too well!)

Tonight we had a barbeque at the Sutra Beach Hotel. My laundry had not returned from being cleaned and I had no clean shirts to wear shat soever. My plan was to get back to the hotel and quickly do some shopping. On the way home we stopped for gas - as I went in to pay I spotted some shirts hanging in a corner. They had 3 really nice Batiks, one looked about the right size and it went perfectly with my purple pants. I snagged it, had a great outfit and it only cast $5.00. Score!

It was pouring rain, when we arrived at the Sutra around 8:30pm. As I looked around the other tables I noticed everyone was very quiet, people were eating, then looking tired. When we asked to see what time the bus was leaving we were told 11:30. Whoa! Way too late for us. A few riders had gone tot he barn to do evening feeding and had driven our great truck tot he Sutra. We decided to all go home in it. Since it was pouring rain, we put seven people in the cab(some lap sitting was involved) and two in the bed of the truck. The back has a sort of a covered wagon type cover, but it does leak and the bed of the truck was full of water. Our good sports were Kathy Brunjes and Jim Bryant. It turned out they had the best deal. The truck quickly dried out, they had plenty of room to stretch out. Those of us wimps inside were squashed, had cramped thises and thats. The back door seemed spring loaded when we finally were able to open it. Still, we were home by 11:00 - half an hour earlier than the bus was due to leave. We had to be up early the next day so off to bed we went.


The Routine

Chef’s Blog Oct 24th

Not too much to report - we are getting into a routine of feeding, cleaning, walking, lunch, riding an feeding. In between there is clipping and grocery shopping. Everyone was tired yesterday – possibly a combination of our late night watching the dancing the night before, or the fact that several of us were gastronomically and intestinely challenged for about 24 hours. Everyone is brighter today and back on track.

The horses have moved right in to their new home and have relaxed. They are much less worried when a stable mate leaves that upon arrival. They are eating like they have never seen food before. We are dealing with the usual minor problems that seem to crop up at these types of events – scratches and “leg crud”. Yesterday the riders were elated to be able to actually ride their horses, even though it was just walking. Today they will be able to trot after a 30 minute warm-up walk, then trot for 5 minutes, walk for 5 minutes for 4 cycles, and cool down for 20 minutes. We want our exposure to the weather to be gradual and we want to avoid tying up. The blood work taken on the horses yesterday was normal, so Dr. Bryant and I feel good about letting them trot a day earlier than planned.

The workouts will be gradually increased in speed and distance until we do a 20 mile ride at a good pace. After that ride we will do blood work again.

In our barn international cooperation is at its best. Yaguchi of Japan, offered to go on a mission to China Town, to buy the Americans some Danish beer, which we share with the Janponse and Canadians.


Chef’s Blog

One day after arrival the horses look great. A good night’s rest left them eager for their breakfast the next morning. Our schedule for the next 3 days is a walk for an hour or more the morning and afternoon. We want to re-introduce them into their routine carefully and slowly back, taking the utmost care to avoid tie-up. They are enjoying their walks, and want to go exploring, but we are limited to a six-mile stretch of trail so we don’t mix horses from other continents. The point is to reduce risk of exposure to foreign horses. We let them graze and it is interesting to watch them try out new tastes. Theatric and Leon were particularly interested in the mango that was on the ground.

All the tack has been unpacked and arranged. The riders had quite a job packing They had to pack for the two day training session which was alsoa two day or more drive for most of the riders. Then they had to pack for a month in Florida and for traveling to Malaysia. They had to do all this packing not knowing whether or not they were going to make the team. It was a tremendous effort on the part of all the nominees.

We are taking temperatures and doing tick inspections twice daily. Barn security is very good and the stewards make sure we remember to dip our feet in disinfectant and sanitize our hands every time we leave or enter the barn.

While our horses do not have nearly the winter coats of some of the horses from other countries, they were still hot, so we have started clipping. We will probably need to clip a couple of more times before the race. The riders and I are very glad the horses were in Florida for a month prior to the ride. Both horses and riders are better adapted to these conditions because of the experience.

Although we have had very little time for touristy things we are still having fun. Before the horses arrived John Crandell took us to the old town bazaar. There is a fish market, textiles, clothing, lots of local color. We were all too tired to stay very long, but it was worth seeing.

Part of our fun includes new and exciting experiences in driving. It is almost natural forme to go the right side of the truck to get to the drivers seat. I only hit the windshield wipers once today instead of the signal. Many people here ride scooters. It is not unusual for a family of four to be riding along the side of the road on a scooter. The scooters go more slowly so the cars have to veer to the right to go around. It is always possible that a car coming towards you might be doing the same thing. There is much veering, cutting in, passing narrowly. In fact, my spacial perception is so good that Grace Ramsey commented that “If there had been a piece of paper between the car and us, you would have nicked it!” Ha, not even close!

Our pick up hold five inside and as many as we can stuff in the bed. Coming home the night the horses arrived we werevery late. John was driving, Kathy, Meg, Flavia and Alfredo (Val’s grooms) and I were in the back. John was trying to make it back to the hotel before the rain started, but alas, we didn’t quite make it. At a stop light, a driver in another car asked Kathy if she knew it was raining. With water dripping down her chin she said, “Yes, I know it is raining.” The locals are very amused to see us in the back of the truck. It is impolite to point in this country, but I think from all the stares we get the local folk must be very tempted!

Our hotel is providing some special entertainment tonight. Malaysian dancers are going to perform for us. They were supposed to start at 8:00pm. It is now 9:00 pm. The dancers have been squatting behind a screen for over an hour. Oh, finally, they are starting now…wow, very fun. They performed several dances and ended the evening asking several members of the audience to join them. Our own Jan, Cheryl, Stewart, and Meg were on the dance floor! We have it on video – I’ll try to send it.

That’s all for now.



The Horses Are Coming!

The horses are coming today! Riders are excited and anxious. Cheryl Dell has not seen her horse in over a month. Her husband Stewart and father Jerry Gillepsie shared the duties of going to Florida to continue with Reason’s training. There were many sacrifices to not only making the team, but to keeping the horses in a climate conducive to a race in Malaysia. All the riders made sacrifices – they did not see their horse or their spouse in several cases.

We were all tired of the inactivity form the log trips and driving around. To work off a little nervous energy we decided to take a morning walk to the beach. Stewart had found the way, about a block from the hotel, so with ideas of an hour walk we headedout. It was a beautiful morning, the sky clear, we could see the mountains across the China Sea. We walked for about half an hour to a jetty, thendecided to take the sidewalk back. Mistake! First we walked into a dead end in a local neighborhood. We had to go further to get to the main road. Our quick way back took a full hour. We were all tired by 9AM.

The horses were due around 1:00pm. We were told to go to the venue and we would be taken to the airport to meet the horses. We followed out a caravan of cars – 24 horses were coming on one shipment. The Terengganu Airport has been completely rebuilt and the runway extended for this race to accommodate landing 747’s. Even so, the airport is very small.

We were allowed on the runway to watch the place land. It was very emotional to watch the plane circle before landing, then watch it touch down, knowing the precious cargo inside for all the people waiting on the tarmac.
The pilot made a superb smooth landing. Two loads of cargo came out first – all the tack and equipment. The first pallet out had Golden Lightening, Reason To Believe and Reveille. Next out, Theatric, Saba Shams and Flash Flame. The horses came off the pallets fairly well – the tarmac was slick and two horses had minor skids, but no falls or major mishaps.

We offered water and they all drank, walked them until identification was complete, then put them onto the horse vans, - 6 USA and 1 Canadian horse. Forty minutes later the horses were in their stalls. We gave them mashes, and let them rest for an hour. Then we gave them a gentle hand walk of 30 minutes and brought them back to the stalls for 10 liters of IV fluids and electrolytes. Although the horses looked travel weary, their weight was great and overall they looked very good.

Great thanks to Dr. Jim for looking after them so well.