Let me just start off by saying that I am soooooo good with not starting Ali'i this year. I have always known this is a difficult race, but it has been in theory and we haven't trained seriously til last July. It's even more apparent to me that putting years on a horse before attempting Tevis is not a bad thing. I have such a huge respect for people who even get to the starting line, but even more for the people who have truly conditioned horses for this race. And, I think there are probably many riders who had no clue.
Tony and I got up to Robie Park around 11:00 am on Friday. He always hates to leave his business and sure enough one of his Bobcats had an issue for the second time (different problem) in two days. He had to deal with that with spotty cell service, but there seems to be more cell towers as the years go on, so it was handled.
We set up the toy hauler, then went socializing. We found Ed Spitzer and Carl Bruno right away and hung out with them for several hours. Ed assured me he was on his 5th start, so I must believe him. He is such a great guy and if anyone can come back to try Tevis over and over and not buckle, he's the guy to do it. He keeps his upbeat attitude always though I told him this is the year because I'm sick of calling him every year to see if he's riding.
We watched pre-ride vet checks.
Kathie has one start (2005, I think), no buckle. She told me she would be happy when her horse passed the pre-ride check. A number on the butt is a good thing!!!!! She was the last one to finish the race at 5:10 am. Kathie trained 2 mares for this race. Malaia was ridden by a friend of hers from the East Coast. Malaia finished also. You go girls!!!! Conditioning 1 horse is time consuming but 2 is crazy!! But, I'm not saying Kathie is crazy, really, more, amazing.
Janine & Mini Bull. This horse is in fabulous condition. Great weight, FAST walk, STRONG uphill. I got tired of seeing his big ass for miles and miles. Janine has her competitive face on. We could feel it a mile away....
After the ride meeting T & I were off to the toy hauler to go to beddie. I got 2 phone calls from my cousin Karen and then Alicia to wish me luck on my ride. Sweet as it was they are Blog Stalker L O S E R S!!!
We went to bed but it was rather early so there was a lot of tossing and turning. I heard a horse walk down the road at 3:30 am, then by 4:30 there were many more. I got up at 4:10, took a shower, then T & I were off to watch the start. It's not exactly The Start, but the stuff that happens before, like organizing the riders and eventually taking numbers. Pen 1 had horses who more or less "qualify" to be in that spot. I believe it's based on the rider's history. If you always come in races at the end, they won't put you in Pen 1. Or, you have to know someone and BEG.
Pen 2 is for everyone else. I was going to start in Pen 2 and probably be at the end. Walking over in the dark most horses were well-behaved, but a group came by and I saw one horse get all bunched up and bothered and pawing his front leg on the ground AS he walked. Talented. Then I heard the woman say "Oh O!!". Someone tell that horse there's a whole lot of miles coming up! We walked around the path, that was set up as a warm up for the horses and the next excitement was an older gentleman who had a horse that wouldn't move forward around a bend of trees. I really think maybe the horse had a branch stuck in his reins, or who knows what, but he was trying to get his horse to move forward. Next thing I know, the horse wheels around and falls backwards on his rider. I kept asking him if he was ok, but he got up and walked his horse forward not saying a word. I hope he wasn't hurt, but I'm assuming he started, though I did see one horse and rider who didn't start. It could have been them. This ride is tough, sometimes even before you start!
We were off at 5:30 am, the earliest you could turn on your vehicles and leave. This doesn't show the real dust that we drove thru, but it was very hard to see. I told T NOT to wash he truck. (It took him 3 washings at the car wash on Sunday to get it presentable.)
From Robie Park Tony and I stopped for coffee at 7/11. Driving down Hwy 80 I told him in the 4 years I've known him I've NEVER known him to drink 7/11 coffee. He's a Starbucks snob but I told him I'm so impressed with him AND, that by making him Folgers Instant coffee on the weekends, this 7/11 coffee probably tasted incredibly amazing. He agreed. Men are really easy to train if you know how to train dogs & horses.....
We drove to Auburn, switched the toy hauler to the van, then the horse trailer to the truck and off I was to Foresthill to drop off the toy hauler. I had to re-do my makeup because I forgot my foundation and for some reason I was looking pretty yucky, then I remembered why. I love my toy hauler or maybe my makeup. Or maybe both. Then I met Tony at the road, jumped in his truck at a run and off we were to Robinson Flat, the first 1 hour hold and 36 miles into the race. Our timing was perfect. We parked close because we had the trailer to haul out 2 pulled horses and then we had the task of finding Ed's son, wife & kids who we've never met. Ed described the family perfectly, so that was easy. Off we were to walk up the road as far as we could "legally" to meet Carl first (hopefully), then Ed. If Ed was before Carl, then something was wrong with Carl or Ed was riding WAY too fast.
The first few riders were in, then there was a lot of waiting. Jumping up when some horses were seen, then sitting down again when it wasn't our rider. Finally Carl came in, we pulled the saddle off, and started cooling him down with water and giving him a drink. OS Denmark has 3 Tevis completions, I believe, one being an 11th place that I helped crew for in 2007. Nice horse.
At the same time I saw that Janine had come thru and Mini Bull vetted out fast. They looked amazing too. Janine & Mini Bull looked like they had just gone up the road a couple of miles.
Carl told us going thru the bogs (my second fear, next to the start) his horse stumbled or something and Carl went over his head and his horse was gone running thru the brush for 20 minutes. Jeremy Reynolds apparently caught him for Carl, but he said he lost that much time and he was in 8th place before that happened. But his horse looked great. Eating, drinking, peeing, pooping. All good stuff!!!
Randy (Ed's son) and I went back up the road to wait for Ed. We waited. And waited. And waited. We saw 2 trailers come down from Red Star at 28 miles (the last stop, not a vet check but a gate and go, with vets available). I saw Kathie come thru and she and her horse looked great. Finally someone came up to us with a pull list from Red Star. I felt like we were in the Civil War. Was our son's name on that list????? A 172 was on the list, but then we couldn't remember Ed's number. Was it 174? No. It was Ed. I wanted to cry. He got pulled there the last time.
We were done at Robinson. We let the people who were in charge of horse transport know we were available. They begged us to go to Red Star because there were 23 horses pulled there. (More than Robinson.) Oh course we can go. What a LONG 7 mile road to Red Star. At least I got to see it for next year and it was good for T. He didn't complain at all...well...hardly at all. Good for the soul.
Here is Red Star, looking towards Tahoe/Squaw, I assume. Beautiful and very, very high. It's at about 6500 feet. This is the part of the race that convinced me that my horse needs more time. There were a lot of metabolic pulls, which can be a lot of different things, but I think having a very conditioned horse and truly Tevis ready will help prevent getting trailed out here. We looked for Ed, but he was already gone. His horse had a slight lameness problem and actually looked better when the second vet saw his horse, but by then, he was signed off as a pull.
These 2 bay horses to the front left are the ones that were trailered out. The horses have to be released by the vet before you can take them out and there is some paperwork that needs to be done so all the horses and riders are accounted for. This race is run very well and the horses are of utmost importance. This was a "Gate & Go", meaning, if your horse was at criteria (60 pulse) and trotted out sound, you were good to go immediately. If the horse's pulse doesn't come down within a certain time frame, or if they are lame they are pulled, . Oftentimes they are hooked up to fluid bags which is really important to keep them hydrated. It's not always a bad thing. The one rider who we transported said her horse really didn't need fluid, but she's glad he had it, because it was a long trailer ride back down that road and back to Auburn.
One thing I am thankful for is my horses only know straight load trailers. Ali'i will go in anything and there were several horses that had a very hard time loading (not this pictured horse). I offered a lunge line (brought it specifically for this reason) to use as a butt rope. This one rider tried for 20-30 minutes trying to get her horse in the trailer. She refused the rope, so I honestly don't know when she got to leave, but she and a few others were holding other horses to leave that would load right away. Not to sound like a snob, but there's a time and place for training (and practically, probably most of the time), but not when there are so many horses and people who want to get on the road and to the next vet check. Our horses loaded great, so we were thankful because I didn't get back to Foresthill til 4:30 pm. So, my novice advice on Tevis. Make sure your horse loads in any trailer. You can't pick your transportation if you need it.
T & I had a nice time visiting with our two riders Amy & Rosemary. Both had buckles already so I felt better for them that they weren't um....Ed. (I love you Ed. But you suck. Hahaha....and you know I've already told you that....next year, because I know there will be a next year for you!!!)
Down to Foresthill and toss out Tony, Amy's boyfriend and another friend at a run then we were off to Auburn. I dropped my riders off, had the paperwork signed off, got hugs (aaaawwwhhhhhhhh...) and I was back to Foresthill to wait for Carl. In the meantime we ate, socialized heavily, laughed at some crazy stories (I WISH I could blog but can't!!) and waited for Carl.
In the meantime, 3 riders had come in, I saw a couple more pulled horses then the second group appeared down Bath Road.
HIGH excitement!!! It was Janine leading the pack. You can tell her from literally a mile away because she doesn't wear a helmet, has big hair and weighs 29 lbs. (Ah, where did Carl go???)
You can see the top of Janine's head on top of the guy with the red shirt & blue hat. So exciting!! I can imagine how fun the last several miles or the canyons had been with that group of riders. All women. Maybe they know how I feel seeing Mini Bull's butt. And, I bet it was not pretty! I suspect the order of riders changed constantly trying to get in front. It will be fun to hear the whole story later from Janine.
An interesting tidbit for anyone that cares: Foresthill is the 68 mile vet check/1 hour hold. The town seems to really enjoy the excitement, horses, people and I'm sure a boon to their merchants every year. This home always seems to make a party of it and has water, several hoses with sprayers and misters. Because it's the stop after the very hard, steep, hot canyons and later in the day, the horses and riders really appreciate the help.
Here is LD Monique & Melissa Ribley DVM. Monique was Best Condition last year and came in 2nd. I will do my best to not refer to Melissa as "Ouch" from now on, but she apparently had a tree branch go thru her face somewhere and was sewn up at a vet check. The real story is probably somewhere to be read but this is what I heard. What a woman. You have a Redwood go thru your face and you're still in the Top 10. That's impressive. Endurance.
No Carl. (You never call you never write....)
I believe this is Cougar's Folly and Rose Bishop from Citrus Heights. She was pulled here at Foresthill. There are always a few mules that ride and finish Tevis, including one years ago that got BC. They have REALLY long ears.....
This is Arcade. They finished at 2:17 am. (I could be wrong on this horse and rider because the website says a female rode this horse. So, forgive me on my stats...) Love the older age group that rides this ride. You met these people and they are just full of life. They aren't sitting around watching TV for hours and hours. No time. A life to live. I'm so impressed.
We are still waiting for Carl. I call Ed. I call Ed's son Randy. No one gets back to me. The board isn't updated, though I think the website is the way to go now. We worry a little bit, but Janine's setup is right next to Bath Road, so we visit again.
We see her crop. It's offered to us for $40 by Diana Lundy's husband.
I wonder when the tape got put on it. I'm sure it wasn't on the trail because Janine doesn't carry too much and that wouldn't be a high priority item. I offer her a $100 for it but she doesn't hear me. Someone else tells me I need coaching on my negotiation skills. W h a t e v e r . . .
It's 6:40 and no Carl. He sucks. We leave to go watch Janine take off.
They're off!! Last year if you look at my blog, Janine leaves at dusk. This year, she leaves with the sun still quite high in the sky. 32 more miles. That was a good thing because she said the pace was fast. Right after she left Ouch and several other riders left. This is the part of endurance you never see. Only the stories. I bet it was intense.
From here I have no more pictures. The End. Sorry.
I was getting a rash on my shoulder from carrying my Nikon and splashing down horses, so I left it at home for the rest of the night.
T & I gave up on Carl. We weren't sure what happened to him, but when you don't see any other crew members or hear a n y t h i n g , that's a sign to go eat dinner and take a shower at home because you can. We were just hoping he and his horse were ok.
On the trip home, I took out my septic pipes on the toy hauler. I hate to dump the thing, so that eliminated that process. I was going to take a picture of it, but really think you all don't care. It was gross.
T & I went home, saw all the animals and our BEAUTIFUL BABY KHALIQ (I know....I was going to let you all know, but have been busy...the proper spelling is Kaliq, which means "creative". When she bucks and runs and jumps, I'd say it's a perfect name!)
We took showers then were back at the Fairgrounds and walked over to the Overlook and end of the trail. At 10:14 Heraldic & John Crandell came in for his third Tevis win. Right behind was his own horse ridden by Shannon Constanti, LR Bold Greyson.
We waited and socialized for 2 more hours. The fatigue was setting in and I could have curled up with a blanket and fallen asleep in the dirt. T was snoring.
At 12:16 am, Kassandra Dimaggio crossed the finish line. We had an idea what was going on, because Donna was texting me and also there were a few others who were able to check the website at the finish. Janine was behind her and finished at 12:32 and in 4th place. Again, she and Mini Bull looked like they had just ridden to No Hands and back (4.5 miles). His pulse was at 58, I think and the criteria for the finish is 68.
We were so proud of her and Mini Bull. She rode a great ride and I think the most amazing thing is she started DEAD LAST at Robie Park. We saw her wait til everyone disappeared then showed up about 5 minutes later to give her number. She's savvy on the trail, knows it well and her horses are in top condition. I gained even more respect for her this weekend because she really does know how to get them ready for rides and when they shouldn't go yet. She said Ali'i and I were pushing it for Tevis and I am very thankful we had a glitch. I have another year, (or seriously 2 more, which would be her timeframe).
We watched her take her victory lap in the stadium, then drove home and fell in bed.
At 10:00 am Sunday morning was the judging of Best Condition.
First we watched 4 men put up a canopy.
CR Sampson and Diana Lundy, his owner. She finished Tevis on Mini Bull last year in 27th place. She also finished the Western States Run the month before last year's Tevis. She must really like to run.
I don't have photos for PL Mercury and Lisa Bykowski Downs. I don't think she showed her horse for BC.
All the horses in BC looked fantastic considering what they had just done 12 hours (or less) before the judging. My favorite horse was The Fury. He is so fluid and strong and had this strong forward reach. If he was a collie, I'd want to take that dog in the Group ring. He took my breath away.
Here is YTWOK Coppi BL, the final horse to be judged for BC. Karen Stackpole is the rider. She wins the prize for having the strangest name for her horse, but I've been accused of worse, so I'm ok with it.
ON to wander around til the banquet and awards. I pissed T off briefly (it probably was a case of serious lack of continuous sleep). When I found him, he had found Ed and we were able to finally hear their story. His horse was slightly off, like I had mentioned before and I told him he needed a new Tevis Finish Strategy. He needs to ENTER TO GET PULLED and HAVE NO CREW!!! I love Ed. He laughs. I laughs. He laughs more then gives me this to eat.
While I'm eating it, Ed tells me he's convinced the Tevis trail is built on an old ancient Indian burial ground. That might be his problem. I think he believes it. But, I have a feeling there are a few others who think that.
After this fascinating interlude, we finally see Carl. He sucks. He got pulled at Chicken Hawk. He got tossed again, and had his hand sliced on a rock (endurance). I love you Carl too and you know if I'm not riding I'll crew for you any day!! Again, we are really glad he and his horse were not hurt seriously. We sat at the banquet table and enjoyed a great catered lunch with Carl & Ed. Til next year you guys!! I enjoyed every minute of it!!
At the banquet an award/buckle was awarded to the only living rider from the first Tevis in 1955. His name is Bill Patrick. Honestly I was flinging food in my face, that I think that is what happened. Back in the olden days, they didn't have buckles so I believe he was presented with one. How cool is that?? Back then they rode in heavy western saddles and Levi's. Talk about endurance. Can you imagine their...um, parts from all the rubs???
5 juniors started, 4 finished. I believe the little girl was accepting the award for her sister. Juniors need to be 12 years old and older and have to have a sponsor to ride with. If their sponsor gets pulled it's their responsibility to find another sponsor to ride with. Sometimes the juniors need to keep finding more sponsors because the sponsors keep getting pulled. The future of our sport. They are wonderful kids. You know they'll grow up not being whiners and a drain on society! Did I make a political statement there???
I'm sure not to diminish Barbara's thrill of completions as Potato now has 21, but he said that for him, the first buckle was the biggest thrill. I'll tell Ed that. I bet if anyone will have a thrill, it will be him. Again Ed, you are my most favorite farrier in the whole world! I'll crew for you every year if I'm not riding....Tony suggested he do it before he needs Depends. Ouch. And, not like the first ouch in this story!
Here is Kathie Perry who won Tevis in 1978 and the owner of multiple buckles. She rode a horse for Tammy & Greg Kimler of Echo Valley Feed and a sponsor of Tevis. I have supported their life this year also and I'm fine with it. Nice, nice people!! (Hey hey!! Remember me when I get my order of hay this week for $500!!!)
Here is Melissa Margetts. I think she finished last year on a Paso Fino and was planning on riding this year until a horse smashed her leg to smitherines. She got approval to ride this year with her leg still in a soft cast and she needs a cane to walk. She finished at 3:43 am Sunday morning. Endurance.
On to the Top Ten awards and announcement of the Best Condition Haggin Cup.
The announcement of Best Condition and The Haggin Cup goes to The Fury and Garrett Ford. He was so touching to listen to as he spoke about the win. He said he knew he had a Haggin Cup horse when he saw this horse and also that it has been his dream for a long time.
I looked up his AERC ride record (Garrett's) and was quite astonished to find out he has some 6300 endurance miles since 1985 and only 2 pulls on the same horse. (The second pull was at Tevis). Unless I am reading this wrong and someone feels free to correct me, that blows me away. Garrett is really taking care of his horses.
Garrett Ford glued on some 33 horses for Tevis and anyone that finished the ride in their glued on gloves gets their entry and buckle paid for. He's really someone to watch because more and more riders are using boots in endurance. I'll be checking out the EasyCare Blogs to get updates on how the booted horses faired. Ali'i still has his on, but they'll be coming off this week.
So that's the scoop. I have been blogging since this morning and now it's time to cook dinner. I have a wound on the underside of my wrist from typing but it's ok. You know. Endurance.
Feel free to comment at the end of this post. I love your comments!!!
Thank you Blog Stalker fans. I had a great time and I couldn't wait to post this ride. It gets to me.
And soon I will have more photos of Khaliq. I know I have been remiss in that area. And, Cardiff will be here soon......I can hardly wait!!!!