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2008 Git R Done in April
Images by Merri


2009 Git R Done - April

Photos by Merri Melde

Vet-In Day

Gallery I

Gallery II

Gallery III

Just Git R Done

Friday April 10 2009

If it's raining in Los Angeles, you can bet you'll have the W-word in the Mojave Desert: WIND. You can double your bet if, as you are driving into Ridgecrest and Inyokern, you see a tablecloth of clouds hanging over the Sierras.

This was one of the rarest of days in "The Sunshine Capital of America," Inyokern, where it looked like the Pacific Northwest and felt like the hurricane coast of the south: clouds hanging over the Sierras, scattered virgae - the streaks of rain hanging under a cloud - and, I was pretty sure, scattered snow showers among the peaks, and wind enough to make you wince at the thought of riding 30, 50, 75, or 100 miles in it.

Those distances (and a choice of AERC and FEI/CEI) was on offer at the Git R Done ride, the fourth year running for the ride (sometimes held twice a year), but put on for the second time by a number of people, including Michele Roush, and Daniel Brown and his wife Callie Thornburgh, who offer their ranch as operations center and basecamp, and their considerable team of volunteers in organizing, marking trails, putting out water, setting up basecamp and the vet check, and cooking. Brian Reeves put in a lot of work as did Lisa Schneider, and plenty of others, including accommodating neighbors who let everybody park in their back 'yard'. It used to be a sand trap for a number of rigs who had to be pulled out by tow trucks, but now over time the owners have formed roads and parking areas, where people no longer drive over the sagebrush and creosote bushes... or get stuck.

It was a dual AERC/FEI-CEI ride, (a 1* 50 and a 2** 75 - same for Young Riders also, and 3*** 100) and an elevator ride, for those AERC riders who wished to bump up to the next distance at the completion of the one they had entered.

107 riders showed up ready to battle the wind - with some notable visitors: 5 Japanese riders, 1 Romanian (living in Texas), 1 Canadian, 1 English; they got a big welcome. A number of people were leasing their horses out, including Charisse Glen from Malibu Endurance - leasing out her 2-time Tevis Cup finisher Steel Patriot to Noriko Endo; and Tracy and David Kaden, come all the way from New Mexico with several horses. Becky Hart, USA team coach was here to watch the riders competing in FEI, most of which are looking toward Kentucky 2010.

The evening ride meeting was in a big shed sheltered from the wind, and everybody listened attentively the entire meeting to what Michele, and head vet Mike Foss had to say. He emphasized the recurring theme that the veterinarians were here "to help you take care of your horse" - not "to take care of your horse," like the trend seems to be in other countries I've been to. Here as riders we are encouraged to know enough to be attuned to and take care of our own horses - as it should be.

People also listened with rapt attention to BLM chief Ronnie Lewis, who welcomed riders to the Indian Wells valley, and talked about the trails and land permissions, and encouraged respect of the land and neighbors. He's also an endurance rider, and would be riding in his second Git R Done ride in the 30 miler. The first time, he said, people had dared to pass him before the finish, so this time, he was riding with a Tazer. He was probably kidding, but pass him if you dared!

Susan Williams, local BLM biologist, hooked people with her talk on the wildlife that riders might see: endangered desert tortoises (one had been see earlier today at the far end of loop one), burrowing owls that liked to run out of their burrows and hiss at the horses like a rattlesnake, and rattlesnakes. Her advise for if you encountered these beasts were: Do not touch or harrass or even approach! (the turtle), Hang on! (the burrowing owls), and, Stay the heck away from! (the rattlesnakes, especially the deadly mojave green, for which the local hospital probably did not have anti-venom).

The entire course would be flat as a pancake - an invitation, or maybe temptation, for speed. Loop three was "the most technical" - some single track trail and deeper sand, but truly, the most technical part was the entire ride. This is the desert, and there is sand - nearly 30, 50, 75, or 100 miles of it (less about 2 miles of paved road, though you could choose the sand shoulder if you preferred). Some people say you don't have to train in the sand to be used to it, but really, there is no substitute for sand. A horse's hoof moves differently, pushes off differently, in the sand than it does in the dirt or over pavement or over rocks. If you don't believe it, take yourself out on foot and walk 5 miles in the sand. You won't walk in your normal way. Some horses take to sand like ducks to water; some don't. And there's nothing to break the monotony of the flatness - no change in angle on hills, no stepping over rocks, no twisting and dodging along narrow paths through trees (or cacti). Your horse would be using the same muscles, over and over and over. As Becky Hart said later, it looked deceptively easy.

I had a great treat driving into basecamp when I almost ran over Kevin Myers and Rusty Toth from Arizona! They'd brought their two favorite horses: Rusty would ride Rocky on his first 75 miler, and Kevin would ride Far on his first 100 miler.

The wind had abated slightly at sunset, but still made putting up my tent quite a test, and entertaining for anyone with a sense of humor. Sleeping was another challenge with the gales keeping everything flapping all night.

***. Saturday April 11

A full moon was just setting over the over the Sierras - sprinkled with fresh snow - when the 100 milers and 75 milers took off under a controlled start at 6 AM. The 50 milers and 30 milers left at 7 AM. It was just light enough not to need headlamps at the earlier start. It was 50* and still breezy (so it felt much cooler), but not too bad, though the tablecloth hanging over the peaks indicated we weren't going to get off easy today with the W-word.

Loop 1 had 2 phases: 21 miles of out and back along a slightly different, close parallel trail, a 20-minute vet check for all but the LD ride (they had their single 30 minute hold), and another 9 mile loop before their second vet check and hour hold. Loop 2 (phase 3) was 21 miles and a 1-hour hold (finish for the 50-milers); Loop 3 (phase 4) was 23 miles and a 1-hour hold (finish for the 75-milers); Loop 4 (phase 5) was 12.5 miles and a 40 minute hold, and the final Loop 5 (phase 6) was 12.5 miles.

From the beginning, and throughout the day, Jeremy Reynolds on Sir Smith led the way at a strong trot, with Jennifer Nice close behind or right with him. Smitty had won the 100-miler here in November of 2006 and 2008 (where he also got BC). In total he'd won 10 rides and garnered 4 BC's over his 19-ride, 6-season career so far.

One different-looking horse stood out - a Lusitano! I don't know that I'd seen a Lusitano on an endurance ride before, and this one was doing the 75. He really caught my eye again later in the morning when I was waiting out on Loop 2 for Jeremy and Jennifer to come by. It wasn't either of those who came by first, but the lady and her Lusitano. She said to me, "I hope I'm going the right way." It didn't strike me till a little later that she couldn't have possibly been going the right way - her horse wasn't moving fast enough to be 10 minutes ahead of the two leaders of the hundred. But then, I wasn't completely sure, and later I saw her going out on Loop 3 after her vet check - her final 23 miles, so I figured I'd been wrong.

Sure enough, the nasty gale force winds picked up again after noon, adding another challenge to the day. It kept the temperatures cool for the horses, but there was no keeping sand out of eyeballs.

Michele Rousch tried an experiment - a rider update board in the vet check area so people could keep up with the progress of the 75 and 100-mile riders, and not bother the in and out timers all day. It took up a lot of Michele's time running back and forth in between doing other things, and Carol Giles volunteered to keep it up a while, after her horse was pulled on the 100. It was a great resource of information, made possible by the radio volunteers (whose club enjoys helping out at the rides in the Mojave desert here) scattered all over the course taking rider numbers and calling them in during the day.

Local rider Ann Kratochvil won the 75-miler on her mare Envy - familiar territory for the two, who won this 75-mile ride last November. Envy's coming 11 years old this spring. Ann got her when she was 6, "sort of broke. She didn't know anything. She didn't know rocks, streams, or hills. She'd just been on a 5-acre dirt paddock in Utah." I used to go on training rides in Ridgecrest a few winters ago with Ann, and her friend Debbie riding Envy, and more than once Envy dumped her rider. "She still does it once in a while..." said Ann, but the mare sure likes to go down the trail. Ann and Envy also got Best Condition.

Ann wasn't riding FEI; the second place finisher in the 75, Tennessee Mahoney, finished first in the FEI on DWQ Pearl. Rusty and Rocky finished the 75, and that was with Rusty getting off and walking on foot the last, oh, eight miles or so, because Rocky's scratches were starting to bother him a bit. They still came in 13th place. 15 of 18 riders finished the 75, the best percentage of all the rides.

I saw later on the Rider Update Board that one horse was disqualified in the 75 miler. I asked about it, and it was the lady on the Lusitano! Oh, I felt sorry for the horse - 75 miles (well, 66 miles - she'd missed the 9-mile second phase of loop 1) done, and no credit! Now I wish I'd said something - if I'd spoken up, it wouldn't have been too late to have her turn around, retrace two miles and continue on the right loop.

Jeremy Reynold's horse Sir Smith was lame on the exit exam from vet check 4 of the 100, which left Jennifer Nice and Dream On with a comfortable lead in front on the 100 miler. About the time she was going out on Loop 5, the awards meeting for the 30's and 50's took place, with dinner.

23 of 30 riders finished the 30 miler, with Anne Wade-Hornsby and Smooth Sailing winning, and Linda O'Brien in 4th on Glider Galaxy getting Best Condition. Finishers in the LD included Susan Garlinghouse, DVM and Equine Nutrition and Research Geek, on Drew; and BLM Chief Ron on his part-Arabian Corona. He finished 13th, and he chose not to use his Tazer on the riders in front of him. This time.

30 of 43 riders finished the 50, with Lindsay Graham and Monk winning by a few seconds over Deanna Guinasso and RGR Flash Fire. Flash won Best Condition.

Three Young Riders started and finished the FEI/CEI** 50 miler, with Frances Chase-Dunn on Notorious getting the nod.

Other notable finishers in the 50 included Callie Thornburgh, who, after coming in 27th place, donned an apron and jumped behind the barbecue and started helping with the cooking of the evening meal for riders.

You might notice from one of the photos one man reclining back in his saddle - waaaaay back. Dave Cootware had not developed a new odd style of riding; his back had gone out 12 miles from the finish, and it was so bad he could barely walk back at camp. He finished 10th. After Tinker Hart finished in 17th place, she worked on Dave's back - she's a chiropractor - and Dave was able to walk up to receive his ride award.

Jennifer Nice finished first in the 100 with a ride time of 11:41. Dream On looked good at the Best Conditioned judging, but Brad Green, who finished 8 minutes behind her (and first FEI rider), had the BC horse, Pawnee.

9 of 16 riders finished the 100. Kevin came in 8th, at 3:03 AM on his beloved Far, who ate and drank like a champ all day and night; and Heidi Helly was the final finisher about an hour later.

Mr Seiichi Hasumi of Japan, riding in the 100-miler, also had a bit of a list when he rode past me near the 50 mile mark on Fayette De Cameo (his Tevis Cup finisher in 2005). Only Mr Hasumi was leaning to the left, not backwards. The wind was awfully strong, so I thought perhaps that had something to do with it. He retired after loop 5 (at 87 miles) because his knee was in such pain. Only in the morning did he confess that his doctor had advised him to get his knee Xrayed a few weeks before, but, as most of us crazy endurance riders do, he chose to ignore his doctor and ride in pain. (That's what I would have done.)

There were great comments all around about the ride, the management, the trails. Next Git R Done ride is in October. I think the wind will have died down by then.



Results 100 miles

1Jennifer NiceDream On11:41
2 Brad Green Pawnee11:49
3 Jeanette Mero Triassic12:41
4 Kiyoshi OzawaRuleta PJ14:37
5 Marina Bredda Fod Amar Rwuh15:48
6 Laurie Birch Scudd Run15:48.01
7 Robert Ribley Sacatawea16:05
8 Kevin Myers Auli Farwa 17:06
9 Heidi Helly Andreti+ 19:20
- Carol Giles Sar Tiki GalazyLame
- Joe Mathein Diamond Rio DF Lame
- Jeremy Reynolds Sir SmithLame
- Kassandra Dimaggio TS Diamond Chip Meta
- Chris Lewis MufasaMet
- Seiichi Hasumi Fayette De Cameo RO
- Carolyn HockGT SandoRO - Met

Results CEI3* 160 km

1Brad GreenPawnee11:4913.43 km/h
2 Jeanette Mero Triassic12:4112.75 km/h
3 Kiyoshi Ozawa Ruleta PJ14:3711.57 km/h

Results 75 miles

1Ann KratochvilBrazil's Envy9:04
2 Tennessee Mahoney DWA Pearl9:20
3 Emily Ledoux Bloom Kann Sam Count9:21
4 Yurika TachibanaFederakee9:23
5 Dale Raymond Passing Glory9:53
6 Luanne HolmsenSVR Flambeau10:18
7 Sandy Prior Night Lunes10:30
8 Tracy Sahagun Hot Rod Tiki 10:30.01
9 Barbara Fredy Royal Patron10:30.02
10 Radu CiubucHC Ashtar10:57
11 Noriko Endo Steel Patriot10:30
12 Chikako Nishiyama Genuine 11:09
13 Rusty Toth FV Aul Mystery13:31
14 Gina RiceTar Marree13:37
15 Courtney Vargas JDS Chance13:37.01
- Carl Bruno Lovely Prize Lame
-- Kim Fuess BenSF
- Eloise King Carabino DQ

Results CEI 2* 120 km

1Tennessee MahoneyDWA Pearl9:2012.91 km/h
2 Yurika Tachibana FLF Federalee9:2312.79 km/h
3 Luanne Holmsen SVR Flambeau10:18.0212.37 km/h
4 Radu CiubucHC Ashtar10:57.2311.33 km/h
5 Norkio Endo Steel11:09.4511.08 km/h
6 Chikako NishiyamaGenuine Treasure11:09.4711.08 km/h

Results 50 miles

1Lindsay GrahamMonk4:57
2 Deanna Guinasso RGR Fkasg Fure4:57.03
3 Andre Ruggeri Red6:17
4 Mindy WolfeThree Outlaws6:18
5 Nicole Smith TR Dual-E's6:19
6 Frances Chase-DunnNotorius6:23.01
7 Kelsey Kimbler Oso Eclipse6:23.02
8 Karen Donley Woodland 6:25.01
9 Susan Friedman TR Be My Love6:25.02
10 Dave CootwareTalasman's7:02
11 Ildico Nadasdy No Repeat7:06
12 Brianna Norris JC Arizona Star 7:17.01
13 Renee Norris Brusy-Flame7:17.02
14 Jackie FenaroliTia7:18.01
15 Sue Haveruk Baskafires7:18.02
16 Deane Zahn KS Rubin 7:33
17 Dublin Hart RTR Cinnamon7:43
18 Tracy KadenFLF Bold Spirit7:43.01
19 Lynn Rigney Racethewind8:00
20 Sarah Spencer Maksymilian 8:01.01
21 Dayne SielingTriton8:01.02
22 Connie HughesKrome Wheels8:50
23 June Scales Zacchaeus8:55
24 Tony Benedetti Exchange 9:02.01
25 Terry BenedettiSplashcapade9:02.02
26 Susan WilliamsGeek9:12
27 Callie Thornburgh Muddy9:12.02
28 Charlene Lewis TR Eastwind Completion Only
29 Debra MaderMistyCompletion Only
30 Damara MullensDMS ApplejackCompletion Only
-- Mary Champeny Strength andLame
-- Sheila HallMI Ocala GoldLame
-- Michaela Lee FlashLame
-- Cynthia MettesSeranataLame
-- Shirley Raglin FS GenesisLame
-- Melanie ShirillaIamsammLame
-- Emma Smith Fire Mt RedmanLame
-- Amanda StrandKings WhisperLame
-- Doug Swingley Pal of MineLame
-- Joan TaylorDodgeLame
-- Sheri Thompson Magic MomentLame
-- Candice CoffeeDynamite IIIRO
-- Erin Strang Jolly RimalRO

Results CEI 1* 80 km

1Lindsay GrahamMonk4:5716.7 km/h
2 Deanna Guinasso RGR Flashfire4:57.1316.53 km/h
3 Sue Haveruk Baskafires Legend7:18.0211.31 km/h
4 Deane ZahnKS Rubin7:3310.98 km/h
5 Dublin "Tinker" Hart RTR Cinnamon Rose7:4310.76 km/h
6 Tracy KadenFLF Bold Spirit7:43.0110.75 km/h
7 Sarah Spencer Maksymilian8:01.0110.50 km/h
8 Tony BenedettiExchange9:029.72 km/h
9 Terry Benedetti Splashcapade9:02.019.73 km/h

Results 30 miles

1Anne Wade-HornsbySmooth Sailing3:23
2 Amy Schneider Barnard de Soi3:28
3 Marisa Monaco Xena3:46
4 Linda O'BrienGlider Galazy4:05
5 Bart Eskander Deuce4:06
6 Diane KarisDeals Pete4:15
7 Shel Schneider PR Tallyrand4:17
8 Steve Downs Zimtada 4:43
9 Linda Thurn Pokesalad5:07
10 Bonnie DoughertyAnastasia5:08
11 Lindy ManningCanelas Obey5:08.01
12 Peggy Carey Este Caliente 5:09
13 Ronnie Lewis Corona5:09.01
14 Tina PollockEl Sirocco's5:12
15 Bollenbaugh Mojave Dawn5:12.01
16 Karen Sweaney Gima Starr FA 5:22
17 Kathy Garner Dyecrest Tazan5:23
18 Susan GarlinghouseDrew5:58
19 Lisa Schneider Gilbert5:59
20 Ellen RobinsonGo Boys 6:07
21 Kelly DunphyEmma D6:11
22 Erika HiceBelesemo6:15
23 Emilie Fouts Sterling6:15.01
-- Jane McGrath Rushcreek Lame
-- Mickey O'BrienLast DaanLame
-- Rosemary OlneyCourtly LadLame
-- Rachel Williams Tok-II-MeLame
-- Alexa Campbell Cruiserr RO
-- Linda CurryChiefRO
-- Steven LuhnRoslynRO