Was really good. And so it should be when you live 5 miles from the ride base!
We were there by 3 p.m. Joe did his usual walk off the trailer, look around for 5 minutes, then start eating. After I registered I spent the afternoon doing my bit of volunteering for the club by vetting in horses all afternoon: the vet they had booked for the ride couldn’t get there till late in the afternoon and there is nothing worse than vetting in late in the evening, as darkness draws in… As it was, by the time the vets got there I had just about done everyone.
Because the ride is so close to home, Pete and the girls were going to ride as well, so they dropped over later in the evening to collect the truck and trailer so they could bring their three down in the morning – and they brought me nachos for tea. Yum.
I slept REALLY well this time round – because the trailer was gone, Joe’s yards had been anchored to the paddock fence: it’s amazing how much better I sleep when I don’t have Joe’s yards rattling off the side of the trailer all night! Food for thought. I had been religiously hydrating MYSELF so there were a couple of middle of the night potty trips, but overall I was amazed how well I slept.
Ride morning was damp and grey. Joe was feeling REALLY well and the first 15km was our usual controlled stampede, but we did manage to hook up with 2 friends and travel together with some semblance of control. At about 20km we lost a hind boot AGAIN, at which stage I said a few rude words, pulled off the other back boot, and finished the first 40km bare behind. I put new tape on all 4 feet and replaced the boots before leg 2 and completed with no further boot issues. Maybe it’s all the fruit loopery and attempts to canter on the spot at the start that loosen them? I really don’t know.
The track was gorgeous, with lots of varied terrain and some beautiful long canters through open paddock. The threatened rain stayed away and after that first 15km Joe was happy to trot/canter on a loose rein without much input from me – he chose the pace and I looked out for arrows.
I was slightly concerned when we were heading back to base just at the time when Pete and the girls would be leaving and in fact we passed them on a section of common track. Separation anxiety is not something I’ve ever really had to manage with Joe as we generally go to rides on our own. Joe was a bit concerned about it, and there was some calling and pacing of the yard at the hold, but he pulsed down fine and gave up on the pacing after about 10 minutes as being too much like hard work, so that was very pleasing.
(Pete and the girls did their 25km in 3 and a half hours and apparently a good time was had by all!).
Leg 2 was slow, but uneventful, apart from stopping part way round to vote! We had our Federal elections on ride day, and in this country voting is compulsory, so ride management had organised a checkpoint at the local polling station and we could all hop off our horses and go in to vote. The booth was in a small town of about 400 people and I don’t think they’ve ever had so many absentee votes. It was great to ride through town afterwards and wave to people, too.
I had changed Joe’s electrolyte regime around: he had 3 days of pre loading with electrolytes in his feed at home, and this did make him drink really well overnight and during the ride. This was a major relief after Muresk. he got his usual B for gut sounds at the first vet check which (also as usual) had improved back to an “A” by the end of the full 50 miles. Everything else scored an “A”.
We managed 4th heavyweight (4th out of four LOL) and all in all felt we had done pretty good. We sorted out some issues we had last time, and I felt like I had plenty of horse under me at the end. And 4th place is not to be sniffed at, as a number of the heavyweight horses vetted out with lameness, so I was happy.
If I was at my ideal weight, I’d be a middleweight rider – a much more competitive division!!
HOWEVER: we are not doing our much considered 160km in three weeks time (I think!). More on this next time.