Muckleratz 50 mile CTR

muckleratz_2014The weather was totally perfect for the ride.  Being at the end of July, this ride can be (weather) brutal.  We had mid 80’s for Saturday with a pretty low humidity.  Sunday got a little hotter, being 89 and the humidity came up early in the day.  Fortunately, our ride management started the riders at 7:00 am so most everyone was finished riding by 1:00 pm before things got too brutal.

The week leading up to the Muckleratz ride was dicey for me.  I swayed back and forth between do both days as a 50, do both days as 25 each, do both days???  My back had been bothering me on and off and I was concerned that I would not be able to finish two days back to back.  Miss Daizy has been working most excellently and I didn’t want to ruin her completion rate because of my traitorous back.  I contacted Lindsey (the ride secretary) and asked if I could be an “elevator” rider.  What this means, I ride the 25 mile on Saturday and before final vetting, I make the decision to either stop at 25 and complete, or continue (elevate) to the 50 mile ride and put it all at risk by going on to ride Sunday.   She told me I absolutely could be an elevator rider and that took a lot of strain off my brain.

I also had some concerns because Steel was coming along to compete and the weekend before she was pulled lame from the Vermont 50 mile END due to interference.  Although she came home from that ride perfectly sound and the interference wounds on her ankles were not major, I was worried that she would reopen them on Saturday’s ride and be pulled for lameness.  I contacted the two people that wanted to ride her and let them know that she may or may not be able to complete both days.  They understood and were prepared.

Taking two horses to a full on weekend ride, with no helpers coming along, is a handful of work.  Back in the day, I always had one or two (sometimes more) people that wanted to tag along to the ride just for the fun of being at a ride and helping out.  Fortunately, Miss Daizy is about as easy a horse a you can want for taking to a ride and camping.  She is a “no fuss, no muss” type of horse that really requires very little in the way of care while at a ride.  She’s perfectly content to be in her corral and hang out all alone.  Steel, on the other hand, is a very clingy type horse and I was in for a real shock at this ride, trying to get a handle on her anxiety … keep reading!

I like to take along exactly what I’m gonna need … and not one thing more.  I measured out the food and set things up for three days.  I grabbed what hay I thought I would need for three days.  I made sure I had two of everything in the way of fly sheets, coolers, extra halters, etc, etc.  It was a fun week packing and repacking the trailer.  For myself, I always know exactly what I need and since I had no-one else to worry about, that was the easy part.  Knowing I had a junior rider for Steel and not really sure which saddle would fit the child, I packed 5 saddles to take with me.  What I didn’t pack was the center fire rigging for the small western saddle.  More on that later on.

Friday morning I woke up excited and ready to roll.  I had a couple cat customers to handle first thing and (of course) one of those cats decided to take a piece of me with him during his grooming session, right behind my left knee.  Great.  Big ol’ scratch that was gonna get all itchy when I was riding and sweating.  The rest of the cats behaved themselves and I got through my morning rather quickly.

I rolled into the barn at noon and quickly loaded horses.  Another nice thing about my girls, they go on so many trailer rides that it’s old hat to them and they just hop up and start eating from their hay bags before I can even get them tied.  Love that!

Then I ran to my house to pack the cooler and food stuffs and I was out of there by 1:30 pm.  Now, knowing my history of “getting to the ride” adventures, imaging my surprise that I breezed right on to the ride and arrived by 3:30.  There was a little tie up on I-81 but I was almost to the Rt 209 exit when that started snarling up so I was only in that for about five minutes.  I heard from several other riders that the delay on I-81, due to construction, had them tied up for over half an hour or more.  Guess I got lucky!

campingWe arrived at base camp and I found LeeAnne.  There was a rather nice parking area right in front of her so I backed in and prepared to set things up.  Sweet person that she is, she came over and helped me get my corral set up.  THANK YOU!  It’s always nice to have an extra set of hands.  Perfectly timed, Heidi and her two “Steel riders” were parked on the other side of me.  Imagine the planning that would not have worked out had we wanted it to be that way!  So, all night Miss Daizy and Steel were able to visit with the two horses they would be riding with the next day.  Sweet.

LeeAnne confiscated Pixie and for the rest of the weekend, Pixie remained “LeeAnne’s dog” to anyone that would listen (chuckle).  Pixie was quite smitten with LeeAnne, too!

There was a small snag at check in.  Because I had decided to elevate, Lindsey told me to let the vet and lay judge know that my number was changed to 57-E (for Elevate, not for Excellent)  This threw off the one scribe, who was rather rude to me about this slight change.  This kinda set the tone for this ride weekend.  I am going to attempt to keep my story light and funny (as always) but there were many things that happened at this ride that upset my sense of “balance”.

Okay, so I totally ignored the rude scribe.  I spoke with Dr. Nick about the procedure for Saturday should I decide to elevate and received education.  See, this is the first time in 15 years that I ever elevated.  I always either just did or didn’t.  Seeing as I needed this 2 day 50 mile ride for Miss Daizy’s Versatility in ECTRA, I was determined to get it if at all possible, bad back or no bad back. BUT!  I didn’t want to lose her miles and her completion record, either.

During the checking in process, the public announcer was getting frustrated.  In fact, the whole weekend we listened to the PA fussing at riders.  Towards the end of the weekend, I was ready to go up and take the microphone and just sing the hamster dance song to make people smile because at no point in the weekend did we hear even one nice announcement.  It was always yelling, fussing, get your ass over here and never a kind or funny word.  Sad sad sad.

Now, I will have to say (briefly) that those of you that read my stories know that last year, this ride almost didn’t happen.  Cate stepped up and took over managing it and asked me to be her secretary.  Since I couldn’t ride last year because my back was out (way way out) I had a lot of fun working with Cate.  We did a last minute pull off for the ride, and we managed to get a good turn out so the ride stayed alive.  (read those two stories, one from me and one from Miss Daizy)  On a shoe string budget, we put together a great prize list and had plenty of food and good times.

With that said, Mary and Lindsey did a marvelous job of keeping this ride alive.  The Saturday ride filled and had a waiting list and the Sunday ride was almost full.  There were 23 entries for the 2 day 50.  AMAZING!!!!  I was so pleased that this ride was saved and I am hoping to be able to come again next year!

The parking areas were filled to the brim.  Shortly after I arrived and settled in, I got parked in by three rigs that arrived after I did.  I was okay with that because I had nowhere to go for the next two days.  Apparently, some time before I had arrived, the parking attendant gave up on trying to organize the rig parking so while the beginning arrival rigs were neatly stacked along the tree line, the later arriving rigs are parked everywhere haphazardly.  it made negotiating between camps and corrals very interesting at the end of the evening.  In fact, there were a couple people that I wanted to stop and ask them if they had ever camped at a ride before because they had left absolutely no room to walk between corrals.  I had to ask the one rider in front of me to please shorten their corral so I could walk my horses out of their corral.  Boy, did I get a dirty look, a huff, and a “talk to the hand” back turn.

REALLY???  How the heck did you expect me to get my horses from their corral to the starting line in the morning with your corral taking up all the space????


Friday night we had pizza – PIZZA – for dinner.  The ride meeting was informative and that’s when we found out there were some riders missing from the “starting times”.  One of those being my friend Cindy and her horse Bailey.  I was scheduled to go out with Heidi group because her junior rider was on Steel.  After some negotiations, they added Cindy to Heidi’s group and removed Adrienne and her junior to ride in a different group.  It’s all good.  I did let Heidi know that Miss Daizy and Bailey work very well together, but they also work fast so we would probably be abandoning her very quickly in the morning.  Steel should be okay as long as she is with a group of horses she knows.  Heidi was good with that.  Cecelia (Steel’s itty bitty junior rider) was also okay with that.

Everything is worked out and settled and now we relax and do some visiting before bed time.  I had so many people stopping me to talk and catch up that by the time I was able to settle in to read a chapter of my newest Kindle download, it was past 9:00 pm already.  And about the time I decided to turn in and get some sleep, Tiffany came over to talk to me about a horse I have for sale.  We chit chatted for about 20 minutes.  Her horse has a cyst that is causing lameness issues for long distances so she is looking to find a replacement horse because she loves this sport.  I am hoping that she finds the exact right horse because she does love her mare dearly and it’s breaking her heart that the mare can’t compete competitively in this sport due to the cyst.

The one problem I did have with the close quarters parking was the horse that was camped next to me.  His corral was right next to my truck.  I sleep in my truck.  And that horse serenaded me all night long.  ALL NIGHT LONG.  He called and hollered and carried on ALL NIGHT LONG.  So much for being rested for Saturday morning.



Day #1 … so after my long night of being serenaded, I finally just got up around 4:00 am.  This was an added bonus for me because I was able to read a couple chapters in my new book.  No-one was awake to disturb my focus (hehehehe) Of course, no-one was making coffee, either.

Steel and Miss Daizy had a peaceful night (I think).  They both had poop marks on them so I knew they had laid down to rest.  I cleaned them up and gave them their breakfast.  I had already setup the hold buckets and food the night before so I really had nothing to do but travel from camp to camp visiting.  Yes, this is the best part of rides for me, the visiting.  I do love to talk.

start_rainCecelia is too excited to be part of the ride this morning.  She is a very quiet child when I’m around (maybe I scare her, I am a bit on the eccentric side) but I can hear her talking a mile a minute over in her camp.  I pulled the horses to the side of the trailer (thankfully, even though I got dirty looks, that rider did move her pen so I could get my horses out.) and Cecelia came over to groom Steel.  It was sprinkling rain off and on while we were getting ready.  I had checked the weather and it said absolutely nothing about rain.  I threw my extra blanket on top of Miss Daizy’s saddle to keep it dry because I am riding in shorts and I don’t want to be sticking to the saddle.


Saturday_startWe’re out on trail around 7:45 am so we got up on our horses and prepared to go.  I have to tell you, I am only sharing this picture in this story because Heidi already put it on Facebook and everyone has seen it.  How the heck anyone ever wants to ride with me (when I look like this) is anyone’s guess.  I know I am a very odd (off kilter) person, but this picture sure sets it, doesn’t it.  Thank goodness, Cecelia doesn’t seem to notice me behind her.

Good Lordy Lordy

Cindy and I quickly left Heidi and her two juniors behind.  I knew that would happen because Miss Daizy has really got a motor for a little bitty horse.  Bailey was actually working very nicely, on a loose rein, steady right beside Miss Daizy.  Cindy and I were having the best conversations.  The first loop blew by so fast.  When we passed the 10 miles and looked at our time, we did it in 1 hr and 9 minutes.  WHOO HOO.  Miss Daizy is so ready for endurance.

We slowed them down a little bit, but neither horse was prepared to go “CTR speed” just yet.  We screamed into the hold at 90  minutes.  That’s okay with me, that just means we can take longer in the hold before we go out again. I am perfectly content to let Miss Daizy rest a little longer before going out and screaming down the trail again.  I am feeling pretty good so I’m pretty sure at this point that we will be elevating to the 50 mile.  The only thing that has me a bit concerned is that the first loop was almost all gravel roads.  I hate gravel roads.  Even though the horses have shoes on, that stuff beats on the soles of their feet.  Occasionally, Miss Daizy took an off step when she’d hit a particularly hard rock.  I hated that.

Vet in pulse for Miss Daizy was 40 and her respiration was 18.  Whoo Hoo.  This little mare rocks it.  I cannot even begin to tell you how proud I am to be her rider.  She just goes and goes like a little energizer bunny.  Carrying my fat (not to mention crooked riding) ass around and getting pulse ins like that.  She is amazing.  I cannot imagine how I ever had any fun at rides before she came along.  I ride her on a loose rein, I get to enjoy the scenery and conversation with my riding partners, and I never ever have to ask her to do anything.  She just does it.

Now, to be able to catch her in the pasture.  That will make her perfect!


We go to trot out and


Bailey is gimping on his right hind.


Cindy took off his boots (just in case that was the problem) and trotted him again….but no…he is still gimping.  How disappointing for Cindy.  We’re all examining Bailey looking for obvious injury and he seems okay other than his gimping.

Oh dear

So Cindy and Bailey are done for this ride.  I feel so sorry for Bailey.  He was working like a real champ.  Not pulling on Cindy or being excitable (as he is want to do) and he was a true gentleman on the first loop.  His pulse and respiration were great so he must not be in too much pain…just off.  (NOTE:  Cindy said that when she worked him out that evening he was trotting and cantering in the pasture just fine.  I suspected he either pulled a muscle spasm or maybe her water bottle that was bging on his hip bone bothered him.  She said all is well and she is intending to enter him in the Big Loop Boogie in three weeks if he’s looking good.)

Since I lost my riding partner, and I am having tons of time to finish the second loop, I decide to wait for Heidi’s group to come in and I’d go out with them.  When they came in to the hold, Cecelia looked ready to cry.  I watched Steel and she looked good, moving along nicely, but Cecelia did not look  happy at all.

Heidi asked me what the trick was to keep Steel going forward.


I had never had Steel stop on trail and refuse to go forward but apparently she was doing that with Cecelia.  She passed through her vet check great so I didn’t think it was due to any kind of issue with her overall movement. She had opened up one of the interference wounds she received at the Vermont 50 mile ride.  The other one was still scabbed over.  I checked her front feet to see if she had tore her heel bulb while forging, but it looked good and she didn’t flinch when I squeezed on them.

I told Heidi I had no idea why she was doing that.  (I did eventually figure it out, stay tuned).

We left out of hold for Loop #2 and Steel was moving along very loose and free.  I know because I was behind her most of that loop.  I was watching her feet to see how she was moving.  I have a pretty good idea of what we need to do to stop the interference and I’ll have a discussion with her farrier about her thoughts on the movement.

Loop #2 was a much prettier ride than Loop #1.  Lots of quiet and peaceful trail and a lot less gravel.  We were making very very good time.  Since I do not wear a watch (they all die within hours of putting it on, must be my magnetic personality) I asked Heidi where we were on time when we hit the 5 miles to go.  We had plenty of time to slow it down a little bit.

I have to put in a side note here.  Heidi’s other junior is riding on a little pony mare named Bugsey.  I totally fell in love with this little mare by the end of Day #2.  She is like a mini Miss Daizy, little energizer bunny just going and going and going.  I was very impressed by her keeping up with the big horses and sometime even passing us to lead the ride at a good speed.  Nice little pony mare.

By mile “2 to go” Steel was starting to stop and stand.  We are on a serious down hill the last 3 miles (just like a serious up hill the first two miles).  I started to get suspicious of her saddle.  Her feet were fine, she was not gimping.  But she seriously did not want to move out going down the hill.  Up the hill and on the flats she was moving freely and easily.  On this last 3 miles of hard downhill she was refusing to trot.  She was stopping and standing.  She had her ears hanging off the side looking pretty dejected.  Although she has done lots of rides in this saddle with other people, she has not competed in this saddle.  I’m beginning to think the saddle is pinching something on the downhills.

We finally get into the final hold and all is well.  I elevated and got my safety check.  All A’s.  Steel vetted in great!  Her final pulse was 42 and her respiration was 8.  GOOD DEAL!  She only opened one interference wound so she only lost one point on wounds.  However, she was slightly off on her left front – this is the foot that she tends to forge on, so she lost 4 points on lameness.  I checked that foot after her ride and the foot was fine.  She had not forged the heel or bruised it.  The lameness actually came from her girth area.

OH YES, we have found the issue.

She was totally burned behind her left elbow in her girth area.  The skin is not broken but if you touched her girth area, she jumped through the roof.  She had so much pain.  Apparently, since she had such a little rider on her, the girth had moved too forward and had totally burned her, on both sides, but the left side more than the right side.

Oh man oh man oh man.

I should have thought about that and brought the center rigging for that saddle.  AND, I used the old girth, I should have put on the new girth.

I am retarded.

At least I solved the puzzle about her refusing to go forward on the downhill.  AND I learned a valuable lesson about girth placement.

It will never happen again Steel, I promise!

Even with her terrible score of 91, Cecelia won 4th place Junior rider.  She received some very cool prizes.

IN FACT, as I sat at the Awards Ceremony Saturday evening, I was way excited to see all the booty that Mary had at her ride. Everyone that top tenned was getting all kinds of booty.  She had special awards for every occasion and every conceivable interesting type of mishap, goodhap, novice, turtle, hare, etc etc etc.  I was so excited to complete my ride on Sunday and receive some this most awesome booty that Mary had for prizes.  That’s the second best part of CTR’s … the prizes.

One small disappointment was that I had given two books to the ride to be prizes for the Happiest Rider.  Lyndsey had contacted me to say that Jim always gives a “Good Time Charlie Award” so could I choose another category.  Very quickly, and with a big grin on my face, I said “Let’s give them to the person who had the best mis-adventure” for the day on the 25 mile ride.”  (Being as the subtitle is One Woman’s Riding Mis-Adventures)  Lyndsey thought that was a great idea.  Unfortunately, although I knew of at least two riders that completed who had a slight mis-adventure on the trail on Saturday, my book was awarded to a novice rider.  I was kinda sad.  But, I got over it because as a novice rider, it’s always great to be recognized for the effort of being a Green Bean.

Okay, after awards, Sean and Alec came to visit with me and brought along Abigail.  She was totally about visit with her Mema and seeing all the horses and hub-bub.  By the time they arrived, most the Saturday riders had left (including the serenading horse and the corral space hog that were blocking me in.)  They parked next to my truck and we had a great conversation.  At meal time, we all got some food and sat at the camp chasing away flies.  Oh yes, for some reason, Saturday evening, little black flies came and took over my camp area.  I asked LeeAnne if she had flies down where she was and she said they were horrible.  Where did they come from and why did they show up 20 minutes before Sean and Alec came over?  I will never know because just after they left, the flies left, too.

Maybe … no, that can’t be why … hehehe

abigailAnyway, after Abigail got some food into her tummy, she was all about riding the horsie. Alec took her all over camp to see the different horses and Steel got to investigate yet another small person.  I wasn’t prepared to put Abigail on Steel because if I took her away from Miss Daizy, she gets all anxious and that’s all I don’t need … an anxious horse with a little person on her back.  I was a little leery about putting her on either horse, to be perfectly honest.  I had no little bitty saddle with me and camp is still in hustle bustle mode with people hand walking their horses and getting ready for evening shut down.

abigailWith some trepidation, I pulled Miss Daizy from her pen and we threw Abigail up on her to give her a pony ride.  I was highly impressed with Miss Daizy.  She took little baby steps and was so gentle for Abigail.  hard to imagine that she just did 25 miles at top speed, cranking down the trail, when you saw her ponying my granddaughter around and around.  Again, this mare never ceases to amaze me.  She is most awesome and very very precious to me.  Thank you Renee, for letting me have Miss Daizy.

I checked on Steel after my boys left and she is still very sore in her girth area.  Not as bad as at the vet check, and there is no visible swelling, but she is definitely burned by the girth.  I decided that in Steel’s best interest, we should not compete her on day #2.  I was so sorry to disappoint her rider that came as part of Heidi’s group but my motto is always (ALWAYS) save the horse.  Her rider totally agreed with me and she was very okay with it.  She was part of Sunday’s crew and she did a marvelous job.  I felt badly for her, but Steel had to be my first priority.

I climbed into my truck with Pixie when it got dark, read two chapters in my Kindle book, and promptly fell asleep.  Since the serenading horse had gone home, I actually slept all night with very little trouble.  (Apparently there was some hubbabaloo with a horse or two running through camp around 2:00 am, but I didn’t hear a thing)


day2DAY #2 – I am going to be sponsoring Adrienne’s junior rider on a CDR for the first loop.  Adrienne wins the prize (literally, because Mary gave her a prize on Saturday) for the most mishaps at a ride.  On her way to the ride, her hitch (the part attached to the truck frame) fell off.  That’s right!  The welds had rusted through and the hitch fell off.  With horses in the trailer.


Ben (bless his heart) went out and rescued her.  Kinda like last year when he rescued me!  He brought her trailer to camp but Adrienne needed to stay in camp on Sunday and wait for her “got me home” ride to come and pick her trailer up.  She asked me if I would take out her junior rider on Zayna and I was all for that.  Miss Daizy and Zayna have ridden together a couple times and they get along famously.

We had some slight issues on the first loop.  I think that Zayna may have been a bit stiff and sore because she really didn’t want to move out in the first five miles.  In fact, at one point I had lost Zayna and had to stop, turn around (which Miss Daizy protested in spades – she is about forward motion, not going back the way she came!) and go find her.  Her rider told me to go on without her.  Well, THAT is not an option!  She’s a junior rider and I’m her sponsor.  I told her it was okay.

I did briefly think about being over time because we were going so slow.  I quickly threw that thought out of my head and started paying attention to Zayna to see what was wrong.  Zayna is a very fast horse that has a big trot.  I have ridden with Adrienne and Zayne at two different rides and this is not the Zayna that I know.  About mile #6 Zayna got her speed on.  This is why I think she was just tired and sore when we started.  We finished the first loop in a hair under two hours.

When we arrived in the vet check,Steel was screaming her head off and Miss Daizy started screaming back.  I told her to get a grip and stop it.  THEN … HORRORS … Miss Daizy tucked her head between her front legs and started pogo stick bucking.  Not one buck, not two bucks, but a series of stiff legged bucking that would have made any rodeo horse proud.


I didn’t come off, but I felt something in my back go “POP” and my hip instantly went on fire.


Oh, I’m mad now.

Adrienne’s ride was all hooked to her trailer and ready to go so I hugged her goodbye and there went my riding partner, off into the wild blue yonder.  In the meantime, I was ready to beat Miss Daizy senseless.  I could barely stand because my hip was screaming at me.  I gave myself a mental beating and told myself to buck up and get over it.  I still had 12.5 miles to complete this 2 day 50 mile ride for Miss Daizy.

Miss Daizy had a good pulse, but her respiration was high.  I questioned the P/R person, and she told me that they had a lot of inversions due to the heat and humidity.  It was pretty humid, and her respiration wasn’t THAT high, so I decided I would keep her hydrated and wet on the second loop.  Against all my good reasonings, I gave Miss Daizy a half of an electrolyte.  I have never given her one before and thought it might help her a bit for second loop.

I decided to wait for Heidi to come in and ride out second loop with her.  Steel’s Sunday riding partner, who did not get to ride (sob) was very helpful to me at the hold.  Thank goodness because I am really hurting.

This is where I learned all about Steel’s separation anxiety in the hold while we were out on trail.


Not only did she run her corral and scream all morning, but she broke a panel (sob) and scraped her chest.  Apparently, being left behind in camp while Miss Daizy goes out to ride is not a good plan for her.  I will have to rethink taking her along if I do not have a person delegated to keep her company.  Heidi’s crewing group did a marvelous job of watching out for her, but it was not their responsibility.  I’m lucky she didn’t hurt herself any worse or get loose and hurt someone else.

She screamed and screamed while we were in hold waiting to go back out for second loop.  I was already upset because Miss Daizy bucked my hip out of alignment, and now I am doubley upset because Steel is disturbing not just me and Miss Daizy, but everyone else in camp and now I am the one that everyone is talking about behind their hands.


Sunday_startWell, I hooked up with Heidi and we went back out for the last loop of the 50 mile ride.  She took this lovely photo of the second loop.  I really really enjoyed the trail on the second loop.  Much nicer (and less gravel) than the first loop.  Miss Daizy was still very very strong and was moving out at a pretty good slip.  I told Heidi that if we were traveling too fast for her, just let me know and I’d rate her down.  It wasn’t until we hit the 5 mile to go that Heidi and I parted ways.  Miss Daizy was smoking and they wanted to slow down.  We went out ahead and about the time we hit the 2 miles to go, Miss Daizy had a plan.

She’d trot for 100 feet, put on the brakes and snack.  Once her mouth was full, she’d trot out 100 feet, then slam on the brakes and snack.  We did that the entire last two miles.  But the time we got into the hold, her tummy had to be very full.  She ate everything she could lay her mouth on and she drank very well at every water stop.

BTW, this is the first time Miss Daizy and I traveled trail in a competition alone.  She was perfectly content with being alone.  She never hesitated to leave Heidi’s group and she didn’t hesitate to pass two groups along the way.  I really enjoyed the last five miles of the ride (even if I did need some serious drug infusion for my hip)

As we approached the driveway leading into the hold, I could hear Steel still screaming.


I am embarrassed to death.  I prepared my back for another bucking frenzy as Miss Daizy started hollering back.  (more embarrassment)  And really, Miss Daizy was pretty well behaved about it.  She called a lot but made no effort to ditch me so she could get back to Steel.  Thank goodness for small favors!

Again, Steel’s not-rider was at the hold so she helped me water on, water off.  It is blazing hot in the sun and there is very little shade to hide under at the hold area.  Water on, water off.  Miss Daizy found her slurry and stopped screaming so I had hopes I would be able to get her heart rate down well enough to pass the P/R.

Water on, water off.

I take her over to the water trough to drink while we wait 4 more minutes and I hear yelling.  Some green beans (this is our new term for new riders to the sport) had picked up the hose and were hosing their horse.  Now, this is a NO NO in ECTRA.  However, I felt that the situation was handled very poorly.  First, they were yelled at to put it down.  Then they were made to feel embarrassed because the person yelling did not explain, did not give them education, simply yelled WTF are you doing.


I heard them sheepishly questioning why they got yelled at because it seemed like a good idea, they do it at home in the barn … but questioning to each other (all of them being green beans) so I made my way over and explained the ECTRA rules about everything is to be done by hand and no hosing is allowed.  Water has to be put on by hand out of a bucket.  I also explained that they should contact me later so we could go over some of the ECTRA rules so they would understand the whys behind them.  They were a very good (and attentive) crew so I really hope they do reach out to me.

I glanced up at the ride clock by the timer tent and see that my 20 minute time is up so Miss Daizy and I go over to the vet area.  She immediately lifts her head and starts hollering at Steel.  I ask the P/R lady to hold up a second and I got her calmed down.  Her final pulse was 42 and her final respiration was 18.


day2_halfwayI limp over to the vets to do trot out and Miss Daizy starts acting up again, hollering out for Steel who is hollering out for her.  She was very misbehaved at the final vet check and even threw a foot out at Dr. Nick (I AM SO SORRY)

I limp out my trot out.  I probably should have asked someone else to do it for me, but I was determined to do this ride on my own.  I wasn’t moving very fast so neither was Miss Daizy.  If I had someone else trot her, she would have looked much better.  She was definitely  not tired and she had a lot of energy and pizzaz.  I am very impressed with her strength for this sport.

We completed!  I went back to the trailer to start packing up things while we waited for the awards ceremony.  I was way excited to get some prize booty, especially after seeing all the stuff Mary gave out the day before.  A very nice woman named Denise showed up at my trailer and told me she heard about my back and she is a chiropractor, would I like a quick adjustment?


I quickly explained my hip joint’s history then she threw me to the ground, ran her hands over me and did a quick push and twist and


Whew.  Hip is back into place.  Now, where the heck was she before I went back out on trail?  I tried to give her some money to pay for my adjustment but she waved me off saying she was glad she could help out the Famous Dodie Sable and would I sign this copy of my book that she just happened to have with her.


So now that I can walk again, I finish getting everything cleaned and packed in the trailer.  LeeAnne comes over to visit with her dog, Pixie, and I pop into the trailer to do a quickie bucket bath.  Thank goodness for Denise, I am pain free and now I’m relatively clean.  We leave Miss Daizy and Steel to go up to the awards ceremony.

KUDOS to my friend LeeAnne for winning the Grand Champion for the Sunday 25 mile CTR.  She reacted exactly the way I did when I won my first Grand Champion.  Choked up and tears.  It made me teary eyed to see her all teary eyed!  I was thrilled that she had done so well and handsome Jack is most awesome!

And now it’s time to give awards to the 2 day 50 mile riders.  I am very excited because not only did I survive two days back to back riding, I felt that Miss Daizy was so strong and completed the ride not at all tired.  This is our step 2 of four steps to getting her a versatility in ECTRA for the 2014 ride season.  I was so concerned for completing this 2 day 50, with my bad back and the fact that I haven’t ridden consistently for the past three years … and this is my first season back in the swing of competing since my back injury (read that story when you have time) so the best part of my weekend was finishing!!!!

To Finish Is To Win

Imagine my disappointment when placings start for the 50 mile riders and after watching all the CDR and CTR people on Saturday and Sunday get these most marvelous prizes,  but the 50 mile riders … who worked just a little bit harder than everyone else to keep their horses sound and fit to complete … didn’t get any prizes.  Only the Grand and Reserve got prizes.


Oh, she did mention, on more than one occasion, as she handed out the 50 mile ribbons, that we all got T-shirts for completions.  Well, everyone got a t-shirt, before the ride even started, whether they completed or not.  Do you not think that the 2 Day 50 mile riders are just a little more deserving?

I did when I held the ride last year!  The 50 mile riders, top ten placings, all got a feeding bucket full of goodies, plus their ribbon.  And yesterday everyone CTR rider got a vet wrap.  A lot of people got special awards.

(Yes, I am whining!) So today, nothing for the 50 mile riders.  I felt badly for all of us that completed.  No booty for us.

Oh well.  Did I mention I completed?  I am more excited by that than anything else and although booty would have been nice, the ribbon is beautiful and I completed, even with my hip screaming at me.

So here is how she finished.  She rode two days in a row, with a crooked rider who is totally out of balance on a good day and the last 12. miles I was halfway out of the saddle most the time.  I know because a c ouple people we passed commented on it to me.  I couldn’t help it.  I could only ride hanging off her left side to relieve the pain a little bit.

She is a miracle horse.

She lost a point for attitude (again, SORRY DR. NICK)

She lost a point for opening up her interference wound on her left rear leg.  I was not surprised by that because the trail was all gravel and rocks and she had to work extra hard to keep herself moving forward.  I’m pretty sure I know when she did that, too – it was on the last loop, with me hanging off her side, and she took a bad step and gimped along for about 10 strides before she got herself going again.

She lost a point for I DON’T KNOW WHY on her right rear leg.  It says wound, but there is no wound there.  I know because when I got her paper at the end I quickly ran back to check her right leg as I hadn’t seen anything and didn’t treat it.  There was no wound.  No wind puff, no anything on her right rear.  I’m thinking there was a mistake and although scoring is over, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t miss something.  I went to find Dr. Nick and ask him to come look at it but he was nowhere to be seen.  Rigs were pulling out left and right and I figured he was packing up to get out of there, too.

So, even though she finished 5th place with a score of 97, I cannot find anything wrong with her right rear leg so suspect she could have had a higher score.


Not that it matters.  It is what it is.  She completed a 2 day 50.  I completed a 2 day 50 and we are halfway to earning her versatility!  It’s all good and I am thrilled to death!


Day #3 (The day after)  Amazingly, I feel really good.  My left calf is burning in agony when I wake up and I suspect that is from the last loop where my hip was out and I was compensating, trying to ride straight so I didn’t injure Miss Daizy’s back.  Other than that, I feel really good, not tired, not sore and I am still bouncing on air at the fact that we completed our 2 day 50 mile ride.  I now have a better mind set about completing a 3 day 80 mile ride at Chesapeake in the fall.

When I arrive at the barn to do morning chores, Miss Daizy and Steel both cantered from the back of the pasture up to the gate to greet me with their tails flipped up over their backs.  Ah, so they are feeling pretty good, too.  I check Miss Daizy all over and she’s her typical gretzy self, demanding breakfast, not a hands-on vet check.


I check Steel and the interference wound that she reopened had already scabbed up and was not sore or hot to the touch.  I pressed on it pretty hard and she didn’t flinch.


I ran my hands over Steel’s girth area.  There is no swelling or heat (whew) and I cannot see any visible soring or hair loss.  The right side is still tender, she didn’t like me touching it.  The left side seemed fine as she didn’t give me any reaction at all.


I feed them breakfast and try to rub some of their crayon numbers off their butts while they’re eating.

I feel good, my horses feel good, the sun is shining and all is well for the Sable Clan!