I got an interesting comment yesterday from my neighbor when he heard Ali'i wasn't going to be doing Tevis, or endurance in general. He said "You have plenty of horses to ride!". I thought that was kinda a knee jerk comment to make but realized that most people don't really understand what is involved with endurance. And why would they unless they were involved. So, for the sake of others who might feel the same way as my neighbor I thought I'd discuss the merits & faults of each horse and the possibility of them being my next Tevis hopeful. Of course this is cathartic for me, this evaluation.
First is Ali'i and we know he's not looking like a great candidate. I think he'll be an awesome trail horse and even could do some 25's & 50s' but to me, Tevis really is out of the picture. He was so close to going yet already showing issues. That is not good. But, is he not the most ADORABLE horse? Could I not see myself always aboard him? We were a team. That's a hard one to switch your bond to another horse. AND, I have NEVER been launched off of Ali'i. I like that.
Here is Sabi. He's my first endurance horse and I refer to him as "The Cadillac Ride". I finished my first 50 on him 10 years ago and jumped off at the finish line and felt like I could have done another 50. That was absolutely the coolest feeling. It speaks volumes!! 10 years later and 10 years older ~ big plus! But he's 10 years older. He's a strong uphill horse but PAINFULLY slow going downhill. Tevis is a downhill race. I just don't know if I could deal with dragging him down hills for miles. It's hard in training. I don't get off of him as much as I did with Ali'i because he's more of a pain in the ass to get moving.
I retired him when I thought his ringbone would get in the way, but found out with conditioning lately, he is staying sound. He was a strong prospect to do limited distance, and maybe some 50's and MAYBE in my fantasy mind, take me thru Tevis, when I was waiting on Ali'i to heal but now things have changed. I can put the time into him but he's 19 years old and his career is going to be much more short-lived than if I started a younger horse. So, I put the work into him, and I could have put it into a younger horse with more of a future. Something to seriously consider. I will continue to ride him though, and maybe do some 25's with him. He is a fun horse to ride, even if he does have ADD.
What I don't like about him is every day is a new day. He also spooks like a deer. Not so fun to sit. I have been tossed off of him. And, about 150 other times I felt like this was the big one. It makes for a tense ride. And he's a tense horse.I could expect to die on him on one of those Tevis trails. I did one 50 with him (his first, my second) started with the herd (d u m b) and thought for sure it was the last 20 minutes of my life. He ran away with me for 4 miles til my hands were bleeding. I finally was able to slow him down, get off of him, ride alone at the end for awhile (in 113 degree heat) and we finished last. But, we finished. I was so sore I didn't ride him for 6 MONTHS. The thought of it was too much. He's also 19 yrs old so I have the same age thing going. Love you horse, but NOT.
Here is Shiiq. Not my prospect because he's T's horse. I don't want to spend all this time with his horse, then Tony is without, and that's about what would happen. If I did, he's a pretty nice candidate, 8 yrs old. Perfect age, though I'd change the size of his feet. They are obnoxiously small, BUT he's sound barefoot. That's a plus. He trailers nice, ties, is relaxed in different situations and fairly non-spooky. He'll have a fast walk when he's trained. Nice horse. And he's pretty. Pretty is always good.
So, when I go back to the statement "You have plenty of horses to ride!", I come up with this.
She's 10 years old. This is a wonderful age for an arabian to start training, though 7 or 8 would be even more ideal. She's green broke, so she apparently isn't afraid to have someone on her back and judging by the saddling today, she could care less about that. She's big, strong, has lovely feet, and she has no miles on her. That is good and bad. Good for lack of injuries, generally, bad, for she still needs a lot of time. AND, her baby needs to be weaned before we can get serious, like going off of the property in the trailer without baby.
I've been thinking about this a lot. I wanted to breed her again because I am worried about Khemi's age, but I also think she is a perfect prospect. Or, my ONLY prospect.
Hold this date beautiful filly:
Tevis ~ August 1, 2020. O M G . . . (I hope we don't start the race like this......I will be SCARED!!!)
But, I can't wait 10 years. I will be 60, and I'm impatient. I need to ride that race before then.
These are all things to ponder. I was offered to ride a friend's mare next year who finished Tevis this year. I certainly want to consider this and see how it can be beneficial for all involved. Aura would never be ready, as I probably won't wean Khaliq til she's 6 months old. Aura will be lucky to do 50's by the end of 2011. So, it will be interesting to see what transpires. So far Aura is very sweet, though a little distant. We have never bonded like I have with my 3 other geldings and I will have to learn "mare language" as I've always been a gelding fan. All of a sudden I have 2 girls in my midst and the little one has stolen my heart big time. She'll be fun to work with. (So much time to do things with her.) But, since I got the news about Ali'i I've been spending a lot of time with Aura and it's kinda fun. Exciting. I can still smooch with Ali'i over the fence and see how happy he is out in the big pasture and then evaluate my big mare. This might be a good thing. Big, strong Aura. My next Tevis horse?