Old Dominion 50 2015

base camp signI really like this ride.  I haven’t been on the OD trail since 2007, when Bee Bee and I got pulled on the last loop due to a rock eating the bottom of her foot.  Damn rock.

Paula was supposed to be coming along to learn the crewing ropes from Naoma, but Naoma had a family emergency and canceled on us at the last minute.  I contemplated telling Paula to STAY HOME and just read the ride story, but Paula had already taken vacation and was really looking forward to having some time away and see what this endurance stuff is all about.  I told her that she may have to help instead of just watching and she can learn from Mike (who will be coming with Dom) on the fly.  I told her to consider it “on the job training” or “how to never want to go be crew again.”

WHY?  Because at OD the vet checks are away from camp so you really need some sweet unsuspecting person to drive your truck and all your vet hold stuff around the mountains then carry it through a creek and set it up under the nearest tree and wait for you to arrive in hold so you can explode in a temper tantrum and throw everything all over the place forcing them to pick it all up later after you leave the hold to continue on the ride.

Or maybe not …


This year, however, Paula wants to learn how to be a crew so this is a good ride to learn that.  She did miss her crewing LESSON PLAN on Thursday, when I packed the truck with everything I could possibly need, and then some extras (just in case).  I had wanted to talk to her about each box, what was in it, why it was in there so in case I yelled for something, she could grab it quickly.  However, since she slept through the lesson, we’ll be winging it as I explain it all to her on the ride down.


I am totally ready now.  I’ve been having a tough go of it starting this season due to the lack of working me and Miss Daizy over the winter, but now I’m in “RIDE MODE” and my brain is all chillaxed about stuff.

Except this saddle issue nonsense.    I have been beating myself for the last three days before the ride.  Use the new saddle, don’t use the new saddle.  Use the new saddle, don’t use the new saddle.  I know that I can get through 50 miles in the Barefoot Cheyenne treeless saddle, even though at the end I will have worn out Miss Daizy and myself from auto-correcting for all those 50 miles, but man-oh-man, I hate to break RULE #1.


Never break the rules … never never never – Thursday night when I went to be I made my final decision.  I will be riding in the Barefoot saddle and the new saddle will just have to wait for a different day.  Hope it doesn’t get too lonely in the trailer by itself.

I’ve now been told by two different people (Kevin and Daryl) that I should just ride bareback … OH MY … on my bouncy trouncy Teeth Knocking Miss Daizy????

Uh … NO! …


Friday morning.  I am to meet Cindy out near Hershey so we could travel in together.  Reason?  At OD, parking is tight and on a first come first served basis.  We wanted to be parked together so the horses would be friends over night.  Our plan was that Cindy was going to ride with me and Dom and take it easy.  She even promised to start after the officially “trail open” time, because that’s when I like to let my guys go out … after all the excitement is done.

I told her my plan was to leave the barn between 6:30 and 7:00 which would put me to her exit by 7:30 to 8:00 am.  Amazingly, I was out of the barn driveway by 7:03 am and arrived at the gas station a hair before 8:00 am.

This was the last time this weekend that anything went as planned.


We’re rolling along I-81 at a good clip, maintaining a 65 to 70 mph speed because traffic isn’t too bad.  Even around Hagerstown, we zipped right through without any troubles.  Cindy kept right behind me and I have to tell you that Cindy is the absolute best drag driver.  Whenever we got hung up behind a trucker on the hills, she was already popping out into the passing lane to give me a gap to get out and around.  Not many people know this trick when they’re drag driving and the first time she did it, I though … NICE! … and then the second time she did it I realized that she was a well educated drag driver!


I am trying to educate Paula during our drive.  I gave her a paper and a pen to take notes.  Although Paula has been my friend for more years than I’m prepared to tell you in this story, because it will definitely give away my age, Paula has never even attended an endurance ride.  Oh sure, she reads every story and listens to me talking about new and exciting stuff in the endurance world, and she reads my Endurance News every month … but she has no clue what this sport is truly about.

Sweat, dirt, bugs, more sweat and hard working horses.

Now that Naoma is not going to be there to guide her as to what is happening in the holds, I am trying to set the expectations.  I am trying to let her know that even though I will be moving at top speed working for Miss Daizy and will probably be cranky with her because she is not a top speed kind of person, and I may get cranky when I get into the holds, she is not to take any of it personally.

With that said, my goal on the drive down is to just have her understand where I like to have everything in the hold.  I’m trying to prepare her to just have everything set up the way I want it so I can “Do My Thing”.  Miss Daizy and I are very used to being our own crew, if everything is where I want it, then we’ll be fine.

While I’m telling Paula everything, I hear …


And look out my driver mirror to see pieces of trailer tire flying everywhere.  It looked like a black fourth of July with the tire bursting in air …


I immediately pull on the side of the road as far off as I can.  Cindy smartly puts her rig so no-one can come along and take us out while we’re changing the tire.

Yep, blew another tire.  Different one from last time coming home from the Glass Rides.  Peeled the tread right off the tire but the tire was still inflated.  How bizarre is that.

Cindy is at the tire before I am with a Trailer helper in her hand and asking me for the cross wrench.  HUH!  She changes a tire as fast as I do and we were back on the road in minutes.  I did tell her I was going to be looking for the first tire place to get another spare because now I’m freaked.

NOTE TO READERS:  The spare we just put on the trailer was a freebie from my mechanic.  When I got home from the Glass Rides, he kindly set me up a new spare from a tire he had sitting around.

Literally, the next exit had a very large RV center so we stopped to get a new spare set up.  The guys in the RV center were very packed with work but they squeezed me in and we had a spare tire ready to go and only lost 45 minutes of time.  It doesn’t sound like a lot of time but when you’re standing around in the very hot sun with the humidity already coming up at 10:00 in the morning, and you’re anxious to get to the ride before all the good spots are taken, 45 minutes seems like three days.


We quickly got back on the road and I was talking to Paula some more about the ride and what to expect in the crewing area (I think she was way overwhelmed and she wasn’t taking notes on the paper I got her) when 19 miles and one cigarette down the road …


Tire tread shrapnel flying everywhere and a long pice of tire tread whipped around under the trailer fender so fast and furious that it took out my fender marker light.  Oh yeah, popped it right out and it hit the car that was passing me at the time.  I was cringing that he/she would pull over in front of me and demand my horse as payment for the damage to the passenger door.

(*&%^*$&$#$*^)(*_)=  and double O*&^&*^#^()*)_)+

I think I need to add a new rule to my list of Rider Ruler – do not accept freebie spare tires … always buy a new one.

Yep, the spare tire blew.  Exactly the same as the first one, tread peeled off but air still in the tire.  How bizarre.

Here comes Cindy with the trailer helper and I handed her the tire wrench.  She’s not as cheerful this time as she was the last time.  I told her I could change it and she said she had it, so I stood to the side and started Googling the nearest tire center to our location.

YAY!  A police woman shows up and I quickly ask her about the two search results I had found on Google.  She didn’t know either one of those places but said she knew of a RV Center one exit up.  She started to give me directions then said never mind, and instructed me to follow her.  She would take me there.

Nice police woman, seriously.  She was smiling and cheerful and VERY helpful.

Cindy was very tense and I found out later the her trailer wasn’t inspected.


So the new spare is on the trailer and I follow the police woman to the RV Center.  They said that they get their tires from a tire place down the road.  We all climb back into our rigs and the police woman led us down to the tire place.  She was so nice to us.


Here we are at the tire place and Cindy and I are questioning the mechanic about the tire.  He explained this is very common for trailer tires that are older (mine are three years old) and it’s very hot out.  He gave us an education on how the trailer does not have the suspension that a vehicle does so the tires take a harder beating, plus the sway of the cargo (especially horses) puts the tread under high stress.  He also told me that the tire that blew, while it was a trailer tire and not a car tire, was only an 6 ply which is meant for a smaller trailer and I should be running a 10 ply for my large heavy trailer.  He also told us that many people “cheap out” on their trailer tires, putting car tires on instead because they are less expensive, and those people pay the price with blown sidewalls.

Well, then!  I know more about tires now than I did yesterday.

However, this fiasco is definitely my fault.  I was always taught by my dad to change trailer tires every third inspection.  Coming home from the Glass Rides when I blew the first tire, I should have beat feet to my mechanic and had him replace all the tires instead of taking the freebie spare and thinking everything was golden.

Oh my – lesson after lesson and we’re only three hours into our trip to Old Dominion.

Time lost.  45 more minutes.  Cindy gave me explicit instructions that I was NOT allowed to break her record of three flat tires on the way to an auto race.  I had to hesitate and contemplate that directive because you know me, if someone else can do it – so can I … I decided I had spent enough money already so I cheerfully accepted her instructions.  I did try to make light of the situation and say I was using this as “crewing training” … being as we were “IN HOLD” for 45 minutes each time.  Neither Paula nor Cindy were amused by that.


Cost $98 for second new tire.

On the road again.  Paula and I got into a conversation about pets … it’s a conversation for another story.  We made it to the base camp at 1:35 pm.  A full hour and a half later than I planned on.

PLANS … they will be my downfall this weekend.  I should know better!  I am the Infamous Dodie Sable who perpetually runs by the seat of her pants without a plan, crashing through the forest without a path and definitely always running with quite the adventure along the way.

WHY OH WHY did I think I could devise any kind of PLAN?

base campWe thought we were going to have to park in the back of everyone else, in the swamp, because as I drove in, I did not see two slots side by side.  The volunteers at the ride that were greeting us as we came in, standing in the hot sun and melting, were most pleasant and happy and one took a walk down the long hot and dusty aisleway of trailers to see if there were any slots together.  AND THERE WERE!  Right behind two porta-johns and two water troughs.  Well, there are worse places to park – like in the swamp behind the row of trailers.

ADDED BONUS!  We’re also halfway up the row so that much closer to the vetting. and we’re exactly behind the finish line so I will be able to watch the 100’s coming in on Sunday morning.

arrived at campSo we pull into the boggy field behind the trailers and park right behind the porta-johns.  Neither of us got stuck in the bog, but two people who tried the same thing we did (obviously did not know how to drive in a bog) had to get pulled out by a tractor. I felt badly for them.

I unloaded Miss Daizy and Steel and gave them water so they could drink after being on the trailer for 6 hours.

This is where I started to realize that THE PLAN for crew was probably not going to work out very well for Paula.  While I was unloading the girls, I asked her to grab the two purple buckets.  Okay – one is maroon and one is purple, but the other two buckets are bright red …. so even though I said two purple buckets, it should have been clear that I didn’t want the red buckets.  Yes?  I am going to really lose my friendship this weekend.  She is gonna think I am the most horrible person in the world by the time this ride is over … it’s a BAD PLAN to ask her to help when she was supposed to be there to have fun and just watch to learn.

Nevermind, I’ll get them.  (I am already starting to be a bad rider)

ride camp check inWhen I’m sure they have water and are happily eating grass, and I have a chair pulled out for Paula,  I tell her to sit and wait while Cindy and I go up to check in the horses.  On the way up there (and on the way back) I was greeted by many riders I know, and some crew, and I had a grand time visiting and catching up.  Cindy and I did eventually make it up to the registration desk and back to camp.  It’s difficult to walk along with Dodie, because I stop and talk to anyone who will listen for ten seconds.  I had taken Poe with me so Paula was left all alone.  It didn’t even occur to me that she might be lonely in a strange place with strange people that she doesn’t know.

My Bad .. (yep, I am a bad rider and the ride hasn’t even started)

We get back and then I tell Paula the fun part.  Setting up the corrals.  WHEEEEEE.

campThe entire camp is set up.  It took me much longer than usual, one I was teaching Paula about everything the horses needed and also showing her where all the people stuff was (remember, she missed her lesson on Thursday) and two I don’t usually set up a tent unless I’m staying and riding two or more days … Paula was going to sleep in the truck so I needed to set up the tent and drag out my heavy ass mattress.  It’s all good, I slept like a baby in that tent!!!  Cindy helped quite a bit in getting our camp area set up.


Now I’m ready to go up and vet in.  I told Paula to come on up and bring Steel so everyone was checked in together.  Even though we’re halfway up the row of trailers, it’s still a hike to get up there.  Cindy and I are moving along, Miss Daizy and Bailey totally knowing where they’re going, and I look back to see Paula and Steel pretty far behind us.

Dammit.  My bad … I always forget that not everyone moves along at Dodie speed.

We stop and wait for Paula and Steel to catch up.  I apologized for going so quickly.

I explained a bit of what was going to be happening to Paula.  She was quiet and very observant at the vet check-in.  I know she could not do the trot out part so told her when it was time to trot out I would do Miss Daizy and Steel together. I grabbed both lead ropes and I heard someone say behind me, “Now that’s brave!  Trotting not one, but two horses at the same time in her bare feet.”

Like I’m gonna wear shoes for something as simple as a trot out.


Back to camp to wait for dinner time.  I remembered to walk slowly this time and it all worked out because two people waylaid me for some conversation on the way back.

We’re sitting there talking about the camp and how this is an exceptionally large ride because OD is The Beast Of The East and there are people from all over at this ride.  It’s also the 100 mile ride of the east coast.  I did tell paula that her first crewing lesson would have been better served at a ride where the holds were in base camp, or a ride where there were fifty ride entries and not one hundred and fifty ride entries.


At one point, Paula says to me, “When should we worry that Dom’s not here.”

Nonchalantly I responded, “At about fifteen minutes before the ride starts tomorrow.”


poe_061515The evening was marvelous.  Lots of people stopped by to see me and Poe was the hit of the show (again!) and got lots of hugs and kisses (and pictures).  Don’t mind my knobby knees … didn’t realize they were so funky looking until I saw this photo.  We had good conversations and Dom and Mike actually arrived before the dinner was served.


We went up for dinner and had more good conversations.  Kevin joined us at dinner and Cindy left us to sit with Dawn and Dean’s table.  We were having very interesting (eh hem) conversation, actually.  I won’t go there….

Ride briefing was perfect as always.  Thank you to all the hundreds of volunteers, ride management and everyone else that makes a ride happen.  This ride was run perfectly and smoothly starting right as we arrived with the parking attendants.  And continued here at the ride briefing.  Paula told me later that she was highly impressed with the organization of such a big crowd of volunteers.

I did have 3G service so I was scoping out the weather for tomorrow.

EEK!  I did NOT plan for this.

Weather prediction for Saturday was a high of 88 with 70% humidity and a possible thunderstorm that could be severe. (NOTE to the reader.  The heat index on the day of the ride reached 99.  Humidity was at 100% for about four hours during the mid day.  The morning was cloudy and breezy.  We did get a brief shower that lasted for about ten miuntes.  Then the sun came out, the breeze died and the humidity went through the roof.)

With that said, I spoke with our group (Cindy, Dom, Paula, Mike) about keeping horses cool tomorrow.  This was when things started to really get out of PLAN.  Cindy asked if we should take the stuff to hold in her truck because her bed was bigger.  She also didn’t have a bed lid (I do) so we could just throw stuff in and out of there without too much hassle.  I couldn’t disagree with that.  And she had a lot of water already in her truck, so moving my stuff would be less painful to our backs.

Okay …

I did not PLAN ahead while we were moving things from my truck to her truck.  I did not move my dry clothes (and socks and shoes).  I did not move my emergency box (with horse treatment stuff in it).  I thought I moved my HR monitor, but later turns out I didn’t. (Poor Mike and Paula searched and searched for that thing at the hold because they thought they had lost it when I pitched my temper tantrum of throwing stuff around, or someone had stolen it.)  And I didn’t move my first aid for humans, which had everything you could want – like pain killer and Pepto Bismol.

SO SORRY!  Apparently, even though I had it the HRM my hand, I must have gotten distracted by someone and put it back into the endurance box instead of putting it into the bucket I was taking to Cindy’s truck.

forehead smack

When we were satisfied that everything was where it needed to be, it was dark and we all turned in for the night.  I took Poe for one last walk then we went to bed.  Everyone asked me when I was going to get up.  I said around 5:00 – I completely forgot that they would be waking up the 100 milers at 3:30 am.


REVELRY!  3:30 am.

Poe jumps straight up in the air and lands square on my forehead.


I let her out to go potty and then get back in the tent.  I can sleep another hour.

MUSIC, ride time 3:45!

Or not ….

I lay there thinking about the ride and how excited I am to be at OD after so long.  I’m ready.  Very very ready.  And Miss Daizy?  Well, she’s never excited about much.

ANNOUNCEMENT, ride time 4:00 am!


I get out my Kindle and start reading.

ANNOUNCEMENT, ride time 4:30 am, 45 minutes until the 100 mile ride starts.

Fine, I’m up.  I get out of the tent again and Poe is like … What the?  I tell her to get over herself and go potty again.

I start some coffee on my little stove, feed Miss Daizy and Steel, and sit down to read more on my Kindle.

ANNOUNCEMENT, ride time 5:00 am, 15 minutes until the 100 mile ride starts, please come up and check in with the timer.

It’s just starting to get light and I watch as the 100 mile riders are stretching out their horses and getting their minds ready to rock and roll.  I so want to be one of those riders.  I know that Miss Daizy will be able to rock a 100 mile trail, she is the first horse I ever owned that just goes and goes and goes.  While the 100 mile riders are all getting ready to start, I begin to daydream about riding a 100 mile ride.


Coffee is finished so I get a cup and eat a yogurt.  I know I am going to need to eat as much as possible today because I do NOT want a repeat of No Frills.

That’s the PLAN.

And they’re off.  The 100 mile riders all leave base camp and they’re so relaxed and easy going.  I heard one rider got thrown right after passing out of base camp.

Wow, and so it begins.  Old Dominion 2015.

Paula gets up and asks what she can do.


Dom comes down and asks what she can do.

EAT!  Have some coffee.

Cindy comes over and says she’s too excited.

Me, too!  But we are still leaving after everyone is gone on trail. There are sixty-eight horses starting for the 50 on this ride and I don’t plan on being caught up in that excitement. That’s the PLAN.

I briefly review with Mike and Paula when I expect to be in the hold and what I expect to happen when we get there.  It’s already very humid and the little bit of moving around I’m doing is sending rivers of sweat running down my face.

Ewwwww – I’m sticky already and we haven’t even started yet.

6:30 am I tack up Miss Daizy.  Cindy and Dom are already tacked up.  I’m lazy.

Dom is on her own now, Steel is hers.  I am walking Miss Daizy and realized I forgot something.  I turn to ask Paula to fetch it for me and she’s missing.

Dammit.  (Bad rider attitude, I know)

I throw my reins at Mike and ask him to hold Miss Daizy while I go fetch whatever it was that I forgot.  (Yes, it was so important that I have forgotten what it was I forgot.)  All I remember is thinking that I told Paula to stay with me until I left camp.

I found Paula and fussed at her for not staying with me and Miss Daizy until we left on the ride.


6:45 am – The Time Keeper calls for riders on the 50 to go out.  I told Paula to watch the show.  I had explained to her that at a start of a ride, when there are so many horses, usually one or two horses get so wound up they cause a calamity.  And she was not disappointed.  The stallion that screamed the entire time he was at camp – from Friday until Sunday – almost bucked his rider off and was running with a raging hard on.

shaking my head

Another horse bucked their rider off and caused a pile up just past the start line.

gasping and covering mouth with both hands

Two horses coming from the rear charged through the pile up, causing one horse to slide down the side of the road towards the fence.  Those two riders continued on down the road with the chestnut horse kicking out at the gray horse.

There’s two other BAD RIDERS

And the whole time Paula is watching this with her eyes wide and her jaw hanging.

Told  ya!

going outI wait two minutes after seeing the tail of the last horse disappear down trail and then we’re off.  Time?  6:59 am.  Miss Daizy and Steel are very relaxed and moving along at a slow jog.  Bailey was getting a little ansty while we were waiting to go out and I can see Cindy holding him behind us with a pretty tight rein.  He was behacing, though, not yanking at the bit or scootching his butt.  Just wanted to move out a little faster.  I sometimes wonder about this with horses.  Since I always am the “Whatever!” rider, and my horses always seem to be the “Whatever!” horses, is it possible that anxious horses at the start of a ride are would up due to their riders being wound up, or is it the other way around?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky to have Miss Daizy as my “Whatever!” horsie.

miniNow, I have to tell you that the first five miles of this ride was a blur because Dom had me cracking up over this little mini that was at OD.  She said that she tried to get that mini entered with Mike as his rider.  The thought process was Mike could ride a mile, then carry the mini a mile, then ride a mile.  And after Mike got tired of carrying the mini, he could just put his feet on the ground and run with the mini trotting under him.  This went on and on and the mental images she was putting into my head were so hysterical that I truly did not pay any attention to the trail.  All I know is that was way too funny.

At about mile number five, I had to get serious about things a bit.  We passed Kim.  She was hand walking her horse.  Seems he wasn’t feeling himself and she got off to just take care of him until she could get him back to camp.

Oh no.

A mile later we came to a deep creek on the single track trail and there was a bit of a pile up as people were stopping to get water on their sponges or let their horses drink.  While we’re waiting our turn to cross, Steel decided she needed to pee.  (YAY Steel!)  But, she could have peed on the side of the trail instead of on my foot.  (ewwww) That’s when I realized that I had not put my dry socks and shoes in Cindy’s truck for the hold.


Then when we got our turn to cross, I noticed quite a bit of blood on the side of the creek.  I didn’t say anything (after I dipped to the side to look at Miss Daizy’s legs and be sure it wasn’t her) but another mile we passed a woman on a gray horse going the wrong way on trail.  She was holding her arm and said something about an artery cut.  At that time, we didn’t know if it was her or the horse.  I offered a vet wrap and she said she had it covered she just needed to get back to camp as quick as possible.

Oh my.

Found out later it was her horse, and not her, that had the injury and he was fine after getting some vet treatment.

And around mile ten we’re starting to pass horses.  We’re still on single track trail and all the horses are fresh so they’re moving out pretty well.  I saw Lani at the front of a pack of horses and I knew keeping the pace she was setting would be a good idea so I told Dom and Cindy to pull back a little bit.  I think Cindy was worried to have Bailey behind such a large group of horses so at the first opportunity, she passed the group and  moved on out.  That was the last I saw of Cindy for a very long time.

laurel trail 1Dom and I started talking about silly things and we were moving smoothy behind this group of horses.  Miss Daizy was on a loose rein and wasn’t really interested in ramming up Steel’s rear end, or even in passing Steel (wow) so I let her move along.  That is how I was able to actually take one picture on this ride.  It’s the last picture I took because my phone got wet at the next sponging.

Steel was looking absolutely fabulous.  I always think she’s such a pretty horse and when Dom rides her she is stunning.  Just stunning.  I was riding behind Dom thinking what a nice team they made on trail.  Steel really likes working for Dom.

end loop 1Before I know it, we’re into the first hold.  VC1, fifteen miles down, thirty-seven more miles to go.

I *WAS* smiling when I was coming into the hold.  And that’s where that smiling ended.  I got off Miss Daizy, handed the timer my vet card and looked around to see where Paula and Mike had set us up.  Oh – in a very nicely shaded area out of the way so we wouldn’t be jostled around by other riders in the hold.

Nice!  Good PLAN.

I get over to them and see buckets full of (not water) but stuff, piled inside, and Miss Daizy’s slurry is swollen and yucky and way too much in the pan, and her dry food isn’t set up and there is not handy sponging bucket full of water.

WHAT THE (^&%*&$^&%$*^&)(*_(_)+

I whipped my saddle off, started throwing stuff out of the buckets looking for my elytes and applesauce, screamed at Paula to fill the empty bucket with water and find my sponge and started to lose my mind.  I became a wicked witch.  I kept apologizing to Miss Daizy for her slurry not being ready then instantly turned on the screaming at Paula “Go get this, find that, give me more water.”

Apparently, my fury was being transmitted to Miss Daizy because Mike came over and calmly (oh yes, very very calmly) told me to sit down and eat something and he’d finish cooling Miss Daizy.

Dom and I took the horses up to vet.  Miss Daizy’s CRI was 46/46.  Trot out fine.  Now back to the disaster we called THE HOLD.

All my planning, all my talking, all my teaching did not prepare me for this disaster.  If only I had just done what I initially thought I should do which was go up the night before and set up everything the way I wanted it to be.

I am a bad rider. Rule #8 – If you have crew – TREAT THEM WELL!  Or they will sabotage you!

I guess I deserved it because I wasn’t very nice to Paula earlier when she abandoned me.  I keep forgetting, once I get into competing mode, that she has no clue about this sport let alone about crewing for someone competing in this sport.

I am a VERY VERY bad rider.

And in true Dodie style, as soon as Miss Daizy was settled and eating and everything is okay, I am right back to myself (still in competition mode).  I do not often have a temper tantrum and when I do it’s usually fast, furious and over in less than ten minutes, with all parties involved forgiven and the situation forgotten.  OF COURSE, not everyone is like this so while I’m bouncing around like nothing happened, the people involved are usually fuming.  Makes for interesting conversations.


VC1Steel, on the other hand, was in perfect shape.  Dom and Mike had everything under control on her side of the hold and she was calmly eating and drinking and being the very best girl in the world.  This is the absolute sweetest mare (as long as she can see Miss Daizy).  I am so very very glad when I found Dom last year to be her rider.  Steel loves Dom and Dom is a very good teacher for Steel in this sport.  Through all that commotion of me throwing stuff around trying to find what I needed for Miss Daizy, Dom had Steel’s stuff under control and Steel was as calm as a cucumber.

So I heard Dom talking to Mike about when we’d be back.  I took that opportunity to talk to Paula about what to expect when we come back into the hold in six or so hours.

That’s right …six plus hours.

The next hold is up the mountain sixteen miles at Laurel Run and no crew is allowed in there.  According to everything I remember about this trail – and keep in mind I haven’t ridden it since the year they moved the base camp to this location – this is the very hardest section of trail and once this section is over, the rest of the ride is going to be glorious.  Dom and I will be on our own at the Laurel Run Hold with the help of the many sweet and busy volunteers.

We get saddled up and ready to leave hold for the second loop and Dom is very quiet.  My temper tantrum has thrown her for a loop.  In fact, she’s do damned quiet that I start getting edgy.

Uh oh

We are out on second loop.  The day is really heating up by this point. Paula made sure that I drank and ate and peed.  YAY PAULA!  And had fresh bottles of water in my saddle bags. For those of you that do not know, I do not handle heat well on a lazy day.  Working hard in this heat is absolutely frying my brain.  I’m already having a bad rider day, I’m being a complete and total friend reject and now my shoes are wet and full of mud from the hold and I can’t keep them in the stirrups when we’re trotting.

out on second loopWe were trotting on some very lovely trail after leaving the hold and we should have been able to make some good time this first couple miles.  I was having Bad Rider difficulties and I couldn’t enjoy it because my feet kept slipping out of the stirrups. I made a joke to Dom that my legs must have shrank at the hold, but she didn’t respond more than to say, “Huh.”

I was getting wound up again.  I’m mentally beating myself up for being such a poor sport in the hold, then I’m beating myself up because I have upset Dom.  Then I’m beating myself up because I’m positive that it’s all because of this stupid saddle.  About four miles into the ride we came to some creek crossings and I said I had to stop and fix my stirrups.

BAD PLAN … RULE#1, change nothing.  Well, I assumed I needed to put my stirrups shorter and that just caused me pain for the remaining twelve miles.  Miss Daizy didn’t want to stand still while I  adjusted my stirrup length, like she knew I was making a huge mistake.  So I had a small meltdown and yelled at Miss Daisy.

RULE #5 – Always keep your horse comfortable, no matter the cost to yourself and this includes anything and everything.

I’m sorry Miss Daizy.  I’m just not myself at the moment.  In fact, I haven’t been myself since before I left to come to this ride.  TOO MUCH MENTAL STRESS and I need to stop being a baby.  I could lay blame at the feet of many people or many things gone wrong, but the real blame comes from me.

I am being a very very bad rider.

About five more miles after making this stirrup change to my saddle, I wanted to ask Dom to stop again so I could drop my stirrups back down.  As she was not being Dom at all, I decided not to subject her (AGAIN!) to me trying to change the stirrups while Miss Daizy danced around trying to get back on trail..  Dom was very quiet and wasn’t making much conversation.

I ruined everything.  I threw a bloody temper tantrum and totally ruined everything.

Now I’m sad.

I am an asshole.

Rule #10 – have fun.  And if you aren’t having fun, get off and stop riding in this sport.  And sell the horse and get a goat.

I let Dom get in front of me so I could do some Ki breathing and get my center back.  For about two miles I just thought about happy things and smelled the world around me and did manage to get brain back into FUN mode.

The trail changes abruptly.  We are suddenly on a long descent and I knew this was the five mile hill.  It’s more like the five mile mountain goat climb.  It’s a very steep ascent that goes on forever.  (okay, maybe not forever, but for a very very long time)  We stopped for water just before the climb and I’m so thankful that Miss Daizy and Steel took a very long drink.  It is hot, it is humid, and this climb was loooooonnnnnngggggg with no water along the way.

Now I’m having fun!  Whoo Hoo, let’s climb this hill Miss Daizy!

We passed two horses standing on the side of the trail.  I asked if everything was okay and they said yes, so we kept going.

We pass another horse whose rider is off and tailing her.

We come up on two horses and follow them for awhile but the bigger of the two horses kept stopping for a breather and Miss Daizy was not having any of that.  She didn’t need to stop, she is a freakin’ Sherman tank.  By the third time he stopped for a breather Miss Daizy had reached her limit of patience.  She flicked her ears back at me and I didn’t tell her no, so she took me into the brush on the side of the trail to get around him.  I turned back to see if Dom and Steel were still with me.

Yep, just being quiet.

Okay – I have to admit, by this point in the ride my fun-o-meter is back on full.  I love Miss Daizy.  This mare is so strong and so powerful and riding her makes me feel like a million bucks.  I could not help myself.  As she pulled this hill carrying my fatty patty self, I could nothing but grin from ear to ear in admiration of her strength and determination.  I turned back to watch Steel a couple times and she was doing remarkably well keeping up with Miss Daizy’s hill-climb power. I was making all kinds of silly remarks about riding on my tank and soon Dom started chiming in.

Whew.  Dom is talking to me again.

Five miles.  Up a steep hill climb.  No water for the horses.  And by the gods, when we reached the top I wanted to reach up and touch a cloud.  I remarked on that and Dom said “Please do and make it rain on us.”

Yep – they had promised us rain in the afternoon on the weather channel and I was totally looking forward to it by this point.  We are at the halfway point of this loop and I am drenched in sweat and have drank both my bottles of water … which means I still have eight miles to go and I have no water for those eight miles.


yes - rocksAnd now for the fun part.

Well, fun for me because I have no fears when I ride on my tank.  She is the most sure footed and agile tank I have ever ridden.  We are on the ridge line and we are walking across boulders.  This, in itself, can be scary because one wrong step can means a twisted pastern, thrown shoe or worse, a bad fall onto the rocks. Riders often forget this part of the trail because they have not taken the time to enjoy the scenery, they are simply watching each step their horse takes.  Yes, this picture is the actual trail.  For miles.  We have no choice but to tip toe through the tulips (wait, there are no tulips, just rocks)

For miles and miles.  STRAIGHT DOWN.

second_loop-1And combined with being on the ridge line, if the rider looks off to the right, it’s a straight down drop to the bottom of the mountain.  Not a sloping rolling drop – I have to add this photo not only because the views up here are breath taking but because I had been giggling every time we were walking along the very edge of the world in some places and Dom had once again because very very quiet.


By this time, with all the walking we’re doing, I am really really really wishing we could just stop so I can put my stirrups back down.  You would not think that one hole on the stirrup leather could make such a difference but my hip and left knee were getting cramped and telling me that I made a huge mistake.


flatrocksI cannot believe that I actually have this photo to show you.  This picture does not do this rock justice as it is about as big as a volkswagon.  Yes!  And what you cannot see in the photo is that just off to the right we can actually see the straight down fall we would take if we slip and fall while crossing this rock.  AND EVEN BETTER, just before we got to this rock I heard bees.  Lots of bees.  (I know this sound well as I have my own bee hive)  I’m looking and looking and seeking out the bees because I certainly do not want to be in the middle of them while we’re trying to get through this very dangerous section of trail.  I did finally see them off to the left.  It was a queen swarm on the side of a very large boulder.  They had no interest in us at all, they were busy trying to find a place to sequester their queen for a new hive.


through the laurelsAt this point we reach the Laurel Run Trail.  I love this part of the trail.  If you are a claustrophobic person, you will not want to ride on this trail!!  Nope!  We also had caught back  up to Lani’s group of riders at this point.  That made me feel pretty good because she’s a far more experienced endurance rider than me and if she’s moving at the same pace we are, then we’re doing pretty good.  I kept reaching out and touching the laurel flowers.  They were so beautiful and the blooms were soft and cool.  I was wishing at this point that I was a laurel petal so I would be soft and cool.

Steel has been out front for a long time because she walks faster than Miss Daizy (remember, tanks are very slow!).  Dom turns and looks back at me and I swear she looks ready to cry.  She says, “Thank god.”  I found out later that she really was ready to cry.  She was very frightened on that section of trail where the drop off was right at our feet and one mistake from the horse negotiating the rocks would have sent them off the edge of the world.

Now we have some movement going.  Unfortunately for us, the breeze that had been caressing us for the most part of the ride … died.  DEAD.  The air is as still as death and the heat is beating us to our feet.  I have no water and the horses are not having water for long stretches.  When we do find a mud puddle, they are both drinking like they are dying.  The humidity is so bad it feels like we’re breathing water.  I can’t imagine how Steel and Miss Daizy must feel.  I feel like throwing myself off the mountain and praying there is a stream or lake when I plummet to the bottom.

We came into a clearing and it was loaded with ferns and grass.  Miss Daizy dropped her head and started eating.  I sat there wondering is this is the opportunity to get off and readjust my stirrups.  While they grazed, Lani’s group left us again.  That’s all good.  I think I was stressing out that horse in front of me with all my jingle bells.  He kept tucking his butt when we went into a trot and the bells started singing.


My fun-o-meter is still up though and Dom seemed to be talking to me again.  After we left the rocks we started having a really good time.  We were looking for Sasquatch, forest faeries, and butterflies.  Oh my gosh, we saw so many different kinds of butterflies all the way up on top of the world.

We begin moving down and I know that soon we’ll be at the hold and I can get some water and readjust my stirrups.


We come to the final three miles before the hold and here comes Kelsey headed out for loop #3.

WAIT!  Kelsey is on the 100 mile ride.  Either we are going way too fast or she is going way too slow.  I wave to her but I am concerned because I should never have seen Kelsey on this ride.  Turns out that she was running behind and she did rider option at VC3 or VC4 because they were over time.

Man – that sucks.  She was so looking forward to doing the OD 100.

We turn onto the gravel road leading into VC2 and I hear Dom say, “Oh Steel, did you lose a shoe?”

I turned around and sure enough, Steel had lost a shoe.  She was gimping on the gravel so Dom got off and started walking.  I put Miss Daizy behind Steel to keep the rider walking pace.  Now let me tell you something.  Dom can freakin’ walk!  Miss Daizy was jigging to keep up with the pace Dom was setting.

WOW!  I want to be Dom!

We see some riders coming back out of the hold and ask how far.  They say about a mile and a half.  We walk a mile and see Cindy (this is the last time I see Cindy on the trail.)  I notice that Bailey’s ears are at half mast and his head is kinda down.  He also doesn’t return Miss Daizy’s greeting as we pass him on trail.  Miss Daizy was like, “HEY!” and Bailey totally ignored her.

I holler to Cindy, “How’d the hold go?” and she responds as she’s passing, “Great!”

Okay, maybe I’m misreading Bailey’s body language.  He didn’t look so great to me!  Of course, I am currently on a tank with her happy-arab-kill-the-rider jogging behind Steel and not happy about not being able to move out because if all these horses are coming at her she must be close to FOOD!  So maybe I’m just wrong.

Gotta love Miss Daizy and her FOOD IN THE HOLD addiction.

After Cindy passes, Dom asks me if I saw what she saw and I nodded.  Then she tells me to go on and get into hold, she’d be along later.

WHAT?  No way.  We are riding partners and riding partners stick together.  Even though RULE #6 says – RIDE YOUR OWN RIDE and do not worry that you will be insulting your trail companion.  Simply excuse yourself from the pack and do what your horse wants to do.  You can apologize later, if they’re still talking to you.

I am perfectly content with this pace.  Not only will that get us to hold with lower pulse, my freakin’ knee is screaming from shortening the stirrups and I really don’t want to go any faster.


FINALLY we reach the hold.  The volunteers in that hold ROCKED!  I am telling you that people came out of the trees and grabbed our horses and handed us water bottles and brought us buckets of water and grain for the horses.

Dawn saw us coming is and quickly handed me a frozen milk jug.  “Put this in your water bucket.” she instructs me.  I take that bottle, give her a huge hug smile, and promptly put it on my neck.


Saddles off and Miss Daizy and Steel have (unfortunately) been set up in the direct sun for their hold camp.  I tell Dom let’s go to vet now because they have to be down after all that walking and if we stand here they’re just gonna get hot again.  She agrees because she knows she has to get to that farrier for a shoe.  I tell her she can trot out even though Steel is gimpy because they will let her come back after the shoe is on.  Both their pulses are at 60/60 – good horsies.  We vetted without any sponging at all so I know that long two mile walk did them good for resting.

And yes, Steel was gimpy.  (flat tire #3)

I go back to the hold area while Dom goes to the farrier.  The little kids handed me another bottle of water (THANK YOU!) and a sandwich (THANK YOU THANK YOU).  I no sooner sat down to eat that sandwich than here comes Dom saying I have to bring Miss Daizy to the farrier because Steel won’t stand still.

No problem!  Why the heck didn’t I think of that?  I know how my horses are.


I grab another bottle of water (bottle #3), my sandwich and my cigarettes and we go down to the farrier.  This farrier is awesome.  He is soaked to the skin and has obviously been throwing on shoe after shoe yet he is cheerful and funny and keeps the conversation going while he’s putting a shoe on Steel.  Dom looks very worried and is tense.  I am sitting in the weeds thinking that any tick that wants to get on me is in trouble because I have no fluid in my body for him to suck out.  Miss Daizy is eating every blade of grass she can find and since we’re in the shade, I’m all good with that.  She did manage to eat most the grain they gave her and even though she didn’t touch the beet pulp or hay, she was clearing grass like a lawn mower.

Steel lost a huge chunk of shoe on the inside of her foot.  The farrier packed it full of putty and we go back up for a trot out.  I watch Steel go and for the most part she was sound on her ripped foot but seemed to be taking a bad step every now and gain on the other front foot.  The vet conferred with the second vet and they agreed that she could continue but to take it slow.

Dom talked to her vet friend for a minute and then made the decision to Rider Option pull Steel from the ride.  I was standing off to the side with Miss Daizy and saw her face drop and tears well up in her eyes.

OH NO, DON’T CRY … it’s okay.  I hugged her hard and she said she broke Steel.

No, Dom, you did not break Steel.  Steel is fine.

I think on this for a minute while they tell us that it will be a couple hours for the trailer to get back to pick her up as there are horses in front of her waiting to go back and be treated.  Oh no, if I leave Dom and Steel in this hold for a couple hours, there will be more than horses needing treatment.  Steel will kill Dom in her anxiousness over Miss Daizy leaving her alone.

Okay, I will pull Miss Daizy so we can stay together.  When I tell this to the vet, Dom’s entire body dropped like a stone.  I thought she was going to break down and sob.

OH NO!  Dom, it’s okay.  I’m perfectly fine with this.

We walk over and stand under the trees and Dom is trying to convince me to go on.  I’m trying to figure out how the hell I am going to finish this ride on Miss Daizy all alone.  I see Shannon (who bums a cigarette from me) and she says I can join in her group.  Dom says “GO!”  I tell Dom that Steel is gonna kill her.  Dom says she has a handle on Steel just “GO!”  I tell Dom that I am not mentally prepared to finish this ride alone.  Dom says, “GO!”

Alrighty then.

I grab my saddle and throw it up on Miss Daizy.  Just before I hopped on her I remembered that I wanted to adjust my stirrups.  What I forgot was that I had two empty water bottles in my saddle pack and I didn’t replenish them.  I also forgot to get a granola bar for sugar.

I hug Dom one more time and give her one last opportunity to not die when Steel jumps on her head because I leave her there alone and Dom says “GO!”.

I hop up on Miss Daizy and head out the trail from the hold.  I have no more pictures because I had given my very wet phone to Mike at VC1 and was hoping against the odds that it would dry out and not be broken.

I was going to ride with Shannon’s group but Miss Daizy had other plans.  She took off out of that hold like her ass was on fire.  I swear she knew that we were running on bare bones  time.  It took us four hours and fifteen minutes to do loop #2 – sixteen miles which meant we averaged 4 mph.  I had wanted to reach VC2 by 1:00 pm and we didn’t reach it until 2:15 pm.  I knew the rest of the trail was tough but not hard so if Miss Daizy wants to “get ‘er done” then let’s do this.

Miss Daizy’s flying along.  She has the most comfortable canter of any horse.  For her teeny tiny 14.1 hands self, her canter has a reach that just covers miles.  And it is SOOO wonderfully smooth.  We’re on a gravel road for eight miles.  THANK GOD that Dom pulled Steel because if Steel was trotting on this for eight miles after leaving the hold she would be lame for a week.

We come up on three horses trotting and I ask Miss Daizy to back off her canter and just follow along.  I can’t remember everyone’s name except Gail on a big Arab.  I remember her because she was decked out in yellow (yep, it’s true, I’m not the only yellow rider on trail today!) Her Arab had a trot that just covered ground.  Poor Gail was in the throes of a massive headache and she was not having fun.  The young lady she was riding with (Monica???) was in vet school so we started having conversations about pets and people and she was asking me about the rides I’ve done and the miles were flying by.

The gentleman that was hitching along with us dropped back.  Apparently we were setting too fast a pace for him.  Miss Daizy was up up up and was in no way acting tired or beat up.

THANK GOD I had adjusted my stirrups.  I was having the absolute best ride ever.  Miss Daizy was definitely interested in going faster but since I met up with the group and they didn’t seems to mind my jingle bells, I wanted to stay with them.

Soon I reached for my water bottle and

DAMNATION – they’re empty.


So reached for my candy to chew on that awhile to keep my mouth moist and

DAMNATION – they’re gone.  Must have fell out of my saddle pack when I was digging out Miss Daizy’s electrolyte at the hold.


Into the trees we go and we catch up to an older gentleman and his ride companion.  His horse did NOT like Miss Daizy at all so they dropped behind us.  We rode on a while and conversation came around to vetting again.  His companion was a small animal vet and she recently opened her own practice.  We got into a conversation about running a small business in these economic times.

And the miles fly by.

And I am very comfortable on Miss Daizy in this saddle.  And Miss Daizy must be comfortable because she is letting me post on both diagonals and she is picking up both leads at the canter when I ask for them.

Hmmmm … maybe I don’t need a new saddle for her, I just need to be a better rider.

Finally, the horses I was with dropped back.  Miss Daizy was putting on some speed and I had no idea why.  Her ears are up and she’s getting springy in her step and I start to notice some familiar land marks.  This is only the second time that Miss Daizy has ridden alone on trail at a competition.  She is handling herself very well without other horses around.

I need to pee.  I stop and try to pee, nothing comes out.  While I’m squatting there, Miss Daizy decides she needs to pee, too.  And she peed right on me.  Yep, hot steaming pee right down my neck and back.  And being a good rider, I turned to see what color it was and it was clear and yellow.

But … Ewwww … now I have horse pee on myself.

I’m worried that I feel like I need to pee but can’t pee.  What’s up with that?

I get back on and she practically throws me off backwards as she takes off again.  She definitely feels better since she peed.

VC3 – YAY!  We cross a stream where Miss Daizy drops her head so quickly she almost throws me over her neck


and she drinks and drinks and drinks while I sponge some sweat off of her.

Then we travel through some grass before the actual vet check.  Miss Daizy drops her head so fast that I almost fly over her neck again.

Owwww – Torqued my back on that one.

And she’s walking a step, taking a bite, walking a step, taking a bite.  Although I am anxious to get into the vet check, I am more than willing to let her eat whatever she wants to.

We get to the timer and I hand him my card.  I dismount and my legs collapsed out from underneath me.

Whoa, what was that all about?

I kneel there for a moment while John asks if I’m okay.

Yep – I’m good.

I stand up and my legs are shaking.  Miss Daizy is practically dragging me over to the hold area and she knew exactly where she was going.  I see Paula standing there and I am relieved.  Paula didn’t abandon me.

I didn’t see Mike, but I had expected that.  I knew he was off taking care of Dom and Steel.

My hands start shaking while I’m trying to take off my saddle.  I no sooner get that figured out when my whole body starts racking me with hard shakes.

Paula is hollering at me to sit down but she sounds like she’s coming from far far away.

I’m trying to sponge Miss Daizy, who is panting so hard I can almost hear it.

Paula is yelling at me to sit down and she’s shoving something into my hands.

Two very very very (did I mention very?) nice ladies come over and start sponging Miss Daizy and I look down to see I am actually sitting on the cooler.

I don’t remember sitting down.

I have a half empty bottle of water in one hand and a half a P&B sandwich in the other hand.

I don’t remember drinking any water.

I watch helplessly as these two nice ladies are sponging Miss Daizy.  I want to get up and sponge but I can’t move, my body feels like lead.

I ask Paula what time it is.

She tells me and I can’t wrap my mind around what she’s saying.

So I ask her again.

She tells me and I hear her this time but I have no recollection of what time I came into the hold.

The two ladies are sponging Miss Daizy.

I ask Paula to hold Miss Daizy’s food pan under her face and Miss Daizy digs in like it’s her last meal … ever …

Thank god.

Paula, what time is it?

She tells me and I tell her she has to get Miss Daizy up to the vet, we’re running out of time.  I try to stand and my stomach heaves.

Uh oh

I ask Paula to take her to the vet and I was sure there would be someone over there to trot her out.

And my stomach is rolling and cramping and it feels like I have rocks in there.

Paula give me the “deer in the headlights” look but she doesn’t say anything, she starts walking Miss Daizy to the vet.

The two ladies that were cooling MIss Daizy come over and start cooling me with wet rags and sponges.

And my stomach give a huge heave and

bleck – whatever I had just eaten and drank is now all over the shoe of the one lady.


They start cramming water bottles and gaterade and candy at me.

No no no – I have to look at Miss Daizy

They dump water over my head and stuff more food in my hands

No no no – I have to see Miss Daizy trot

I see her trot.  Tail in the air, head up and ears perked forward.

Thank god.

Mike.  Where did you come from?

Mike is here and he’s saying something but I can’t understand it.

I think I tell him that Paula has Miss Daizy, please go help her out.

Mike disappears.


Tears well up in my eyes as I see her coming back into the hold area dragging Paula.  Poor Paula.

(tears are welling up in my eyes as I remember this part and write it.)


Oh thank god for Mike.

He’s telling me how they had notified him that me and Dom were coming back so they had broke down the hold and had everything packed up to go back to base camp.  Then  he got told that I did go back on trail and only Dom was coming back.  So him and Paula had to off load everything again and bring it back into the hold.

Oh my god, Mike.  I love you so much.

He said Steel and Dom are okay.

At this point, I’m starting to understand conversation again and I am watching Miss Daizy eat everything in sight.  She even went to the hold beside us and was eating their food – which is a big NO NO – but I didn’t care.  She was bouncy trouncy Miss Daizy and I was a dead person.

I told Mike I was done.  I did not have another seven miles in me.

Mike said I was fine.

I disagreed and said we should go rider option Miss Daizy.

Mike said Miss Daizy would be mad.

I said I didn’t care, I was not getting back on that horse.

Mike said Dom would be sad.

Uh oh – I have already ruined Dom’s ride.

I stand up and my stomach is rolling.

I reach to grab an elyte for Miss Daizy and Paula has it in  her hand.

I give Miss Daizy her elyte and turn to get applesauce and Paula has it in her hand.

I give Miss Daizy applesauce and turn for water and Paula has it in her hand.

I decide I want more water and turn, Paula takes the syringe, fills it with water and gives it back to me before I can ask.

Well – it seems that the on-the-job-training at the last hold worked out rather well because Paula had this “in the hold stuff” down pat on go around HOLD #2.  Thank god she didn’t decided to sabatoge me for being a bad rider at HOLD #1.

My stomach is heaving.  My legs are shaking.  I hug Mike and get back on Miss Daizy.

I point her to the out timer and she steps out like we’re just starting the ride.

Holy crap.  I wait for Gail and her riding partner as they are due out a couple minutes after me and I know I should not ride this last section alone.  I am very light headed, sick at my stomach and my legs feel like noodles.

This is heat stroke.

I had no water for myself and I completely forgot RULE #9 – Hydrate your horse and yourself at every opportunity, even little mud puddles are better than nothing … If the horse didn’t die from drinking the water, you won’t either.

I have drank from streams before on rides (See the OD ride from 2005 – HOLY CRAP that one was even hotter than this one)  Why I didn’t get off at the streams we crossed and fill my water bottles I will never know.

I did myself a great disservice.

We left the hold and my eyes hurt.  I was so dehydrated that my contacts were sticking to my lids.  After a mile I had had enough and the sugar I have kept down was kicking in so I ripped my contacts out of my eyes and pitched them.

Thank goodness for disposable contacts.

But now I can’t see the trail very well.

Miss Daizy is cruising along and after about three miles we actually left Gail and her partner behind us.  Miss Daizy must have known where she was going because we’re all alone and she’s picking up speed.  We’re cruising through the woods and jumping over logs and I can’t see shit.

I am trying to pick up where the ribbons are hanging in the trees, but now my left eye is twitching so bad I can’t even keep my eyes open.  And I’m dry heaving at every step.  I finally stop her and just puke up what I had eaten and drank at the hold.  And I puked and heaved and puked and heaved for the next mile.


Miss Daizy is cruising.  She feels very comfortable under me.  Not tired.  Not dragging.

She is a TANK!

We come up on a rider all in purple.


Oh no, LeeAnne is crewing for Kelsey she’s not riding.

Her mare is cruising and Miss Daizy slows down a bit to keep pace with her.

I have no idea what we talked about.  The english language skill has left my brain.

We come out on a gravel road and I ask how far we are.

She gives me a look (I couldn’t see it, but I could feel her energy)

finishline1She says we’re on the road to the finish line.

I ask her if we’re over time.

No, she says we have four minutes until we’re over time.


I am starting to have to hold Miss Daizy back.  She’s pushing onto the bit trying to go faster.

Ah – Miss Daizy knows where we are.

I can’t see shit.

Up in the distance I see a blur that is the timer hut.


Miss Daizy is really pushing against the bit now.

finishlineI raise my hands (reins firmly in grip) and cross the finish line at a hard trot.

WHOA MISS DAIZY.  We’re done, we’re done.

I hand my card to someone (I have no idea who, I can’t see shit)

Someone takes Miss Daizy’s reins and I collapse out of the saddle.

Saddle off.

Saddle off.

Oh thank you whomever just took her saddle off.

Water on.

Water on.

Oh thank you whomever in sponging her.

We need Steel, Miss Daizy is hollering.

Thank you Dom for bring Steel up.

Water on.

FOOD – give her FOOD.

Pan is under her face.

She is eating everything they give her, including the cookies she doesn’t like.


Let’s start walking.

Ooops, my legs are not working properly,


He grabs Miss Daizy and starts to the vet check.


We get to the vet check and Miss Daizy drops her head into the grass and is eating eating eating.

SLOWLY move your way up the chute to the vet.

She eats every step of the way.

Vets are up and waiting on her and she’s still eating.

Okay Mike, get her over there.  She’s either down or she’s not.

Pulse 64.  We met parameter.  YAY!

Trot her out.  Dom tells Mike to go slow.  Miss Daizy wasn’t all that slow!  Tail up, head up, ears up.

Perfect trot out.

Gut sounds good.

Muscle tone good.

Refill good but gums a bit sticky.  Check, she needs more water.

A little skin tenting.  Check, she needs more water.

CRI 64/60 – WHOA!

I can’t believe it.  We completed.

OH MY GAWD … THANK YOU PAULA … THANK YOU MIKE … THANK YOU DOM … without all of you I would never have crossed the finish line.  I was done.  I was hopeless. And I have heat stroke and I’m blind.


52 miles and we have completed the second leg of the Old Dominion Triple Crown.

And Miss Daizy, the tank, is a rock star … as always.

And Paula and Mike and Dom are the only ones that get credit for this ride because without all three of them I could not have finished this ride.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for still helping me at the end even though I was a very bad rider today.  I have to figure out riding in the heat.  I barely did this fifty miles, which is a walk in the park on a cool day.  I am normally a very good 50 mile rider but it appears that I had more working against me with the metal stress of the days leading up to the ride, the stress of the day of the ride and the stress of the heat.

I apologize to everyone (including my readers!) for being a very bad rider.  For being a whiner.  For being un-Dodie-like for this ride.  I am very ashamed of myself for acting so poorly.  I am very embarrassed by my attitude and lack of sportsmanship.  I hope I have not lost the three best people in my life – Paula and Dom and Mike for my behavior.

And Miss Daizy?  Her unofficial completion is 33rd out of 68 starts.  I love my little mare so very very much (and again I get teary eyed as I write this).  She said she could have definitely done fifty more miles, but not with me as her rider because I can’t keep up with her.

There is a bonus ending to this story (for me, anyway).  My back never once gave me trouble and even though I goofed and had my stirrups wrong for one loop, my knees did not get sore.  I finished the ride without any pain, anywhere and the next day I wasn’t sore or stiff or anything.  I was actually pretty impressed by that.

Now, I will admit that the next day my stomach was still raw from throwing up and dry heaving during the ride, but that was totally acceptable.

And please do not chide me for trotting my horse over the finish line when it was hot and we should have been walking … I was riding without any kind of watch or cell phone anmd I couldn’t see the sun for time.  The blurry purple lady told me we had eight minutes until we would be disqualified for being over time.  We completed at 6:37:18 pm … Couple things went wrong there.  First, she thought the ride ended at 6:45 pm (12 hrs) when it was actually 7:15 pm (12.5 hours) so we had time we did not know we had.  And second (apparently) the ride management extended the ride an additional 30 minutes for the 50 milers.  WE DID NOT KNOW!  My riding time was 10:17:48 – (this takes out the hold times) that is the absolute longest I have ever been the saddle for a ride.  WHEW!


NOTE:  Completion rate for the 50 mile ride is only 49%.  Many horses were treated for metabolic issues at this ride.  I heard rumors and if someone reads this story and has the true numbers BELOW, please update me so I can update this story.

2 horses had to go to the local vet hospital.

27 horses pulled, 18 were treated for metabolics with IV fluids at the ride vets and 9 horses were pulled for lameness

1 rider had to go to the hospital.