Endurance Riding

Jul 06 2011

Tevis Cup Training: Day 1

Published by under Endurance Riding

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It was about a 45 minute drive to Auburn. Linda drove me by the fairgrounds, pointing out where we’d be at the conclusion of the Tevis Cup. When she showed me the stadium and said, “That’s where you’ll take your victory lap,” I couldn’t help but smile. I felt like a little girl with big dreams, living in a fantasy world where nothing gets in your way.

I had all the confidence in the world when we started out. Linda was concerned that Asali was barefoot, but I assured her Asali had tough feet and with her Boa hoof boots, she’d be fine.

We started at the finish line in Auburn, with plans to ride the last 11 miles of the Western States Trail. We started off well and I was amazed at the views of the American River. When we got to No Hands Bridge, I felt like a tourist, finally traveling to a place I had only read about.

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Right before we got to Lower Quarry, Linda noticed Asali had thrown one of her Boas. Asali was also breathing hard. (While I was going to the bathroom, Linda had counted Asali’s respirations at 60.) We decided to back track to see if we could find Asali’s boot, but we gave up after one mile. I decided it would be okay to continue with one boot, but we decided to slow down because Asali was sweated up and breathing fast.

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For the next few miles, I was very quiet. I was disappointed we had thrown a boot, knowing this was something I was going to have to fix before we actually compete in the Tevis Cup (I’m thinking of experimenting with some different boots and I’ve already decided I’m going to label Asali’s next pair with a name and phone number). I was also concerned about the fact that Asali seemed to be working so hard so soon into the ride. She is a fit horse; the only thing I could think was that the heat must be getting to her, as neither one of us has done any heat training yet.

When we got down to the American River, we took a short break. I sponged Asali and let her drink. She seemed to perk up a bit after that. She was certainly cooled down and not breathing as hard. I also got off of her and power walked and jogged awhile before remounting at the river crossing.

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The river crossing was our turn-around point. We were 11 miles into the ride and the river was too high to cross. By this point, it was about 102 degrees outside. We took it incredibly slow on the way back, letting the horses graze along the side of the trail. When we returned to the point where we could get down to the river, I untacked Asali and Linda and I stripped down to our underclothes for a dip in the cold water.

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Before we left the river, I dumped water over my head using my helmet. I also dipped my breeches and my T-shirt in the cool water, both to wash off any poison oak I may have brushed up against and to keep myself cool for the ride back.

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After passing Lower Quarry, we picked up the pace and I immediately felt Asali was off on her left front. She was sore from being barefoot all day through the rocky terrain. Linda suggested I take her boot off her right hoof and switch it to her left. That made a difference, and on our way back we both kept an eye out to see if we could find the missing Boa.

We were about 4 miles from the finish of our ride when every rock and log began to look like that lost Boa hoof boot. About 2 miles from the finish, Asali took a misstep and fell off the trail. Luckily, we were not on the side of a cliff and she regained her footing immediately. Still, the fact that I was just as tired, hot, hungry, and thirsty as my horse made me realize that we both have a lot of training to do before we attempt the Tevis Cup in 2013. In Linda’s own words, “The trail is not for the faint of heart.”

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Glad it’s over.

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Linda cooling off after her day with the “newbie.”

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Tevis Cup Training: Day 1”

  1. Carol Baileyon 07 Jul 2011 at 3:57 am

    I just love reading about your adventures! Sorry about Asali’s boot/hoof…. that really sucks. Looks like my plan to ride with you next Saturday is screwed…. what was the other day you were available?

  2. ActuallyRankon 07 Jul 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Nice work babe! I can hardly wait for Day 2!!

    Hope you are having the time of your life.

    Miss you,

    G

  3. JayaMaeon 08 Jul 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Hey Carol… yea, bummer about the Boa… oh well, if the worst thing that happened was a thrown boot, I think I can live with that. I’ll call you and we’ll set up a day to ride.

    G, thanks for your support. Love you.

  4. Teresa Straubon 08 Jul 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Oh wow. I’m sorry it threw some curves at you, but its so much better to figure these things out on training days than actual race days. Next time you hit this trail, you’ll see it in a new perspective. Its supposed to cool down a bit after today, so hopefully that will help the next few days too. Good luck!

  5. Kathryn MacPhailon 17 Jul 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I’m proud of you for getting out there and working toward your goal. It is not an easy goal, and it’s healthy for you and your horse to be humble about it. Take it slow and you will solve the little problems on the way there…. Looking forward to seeing you soon here in Healdsburg! XO

  6. JayaMaeon 17 Jul 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you, Teresa and Kathryn. Your words are encouraging.
    Kathryn, can’t wait to spend this weekend with you and Madi. Teresa is going to save us a spot next to her camp. 🙂

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