Maggie flew out from Georgia to go to the ride with me, as my crew, as this was supposed to be mine and Gallants first 50 miler! However, a week before the ride, Gallant slipped on some concrete and scuffed up his back legs. It didn't seem too bad except one leg swelled up pretty bad, and I had to have the vet come out. We put him on Bute and Antibiotics just in case. Vet said he was out! Yikes! What do I do!? Maggie flew ALL the way out! And now here we are debating on not even going?!? I felt terrible! I decided to let her ride Rio in his very first ever endurance ride, with the agreement that she would run 10 of the 25 miles to make it easier on him. Rio has Insulin Resistance, Cushings, and has had prior tendon injuries; I call him my glass horse. Maybe I'll crew for her!?!?
We opted for the Sunday 25, as it was less miles than the Saturday ride. We ended up driving up Saturday, (and back on Sunday), it was my first time ever doing that, and not driving up on Friday for a Saturday ride. I was a little tired on Sunday, but overall it was fine!
We got to vet in and hang out Saturday afternoon and got some awesome "horse yoga" pictures with the beautiful Maggie as the model. We had a blast. My health issues are on the mend and I felt amazing for the ride. I wasn't nearly as tired, hypoglycemic, or hot as I had been on my prior rides, despite that fact that I was out there for nearly 2 hours longer than normal.
Shortly before this ride, I ended up getting my older retired endurance horse Sunny back, and had ridden him enough in the few short weeks before, that I decided he was fit enough to do a slow easy ride. We completely went with the idea "To Finish Is To Win". With my Glass Horse, and a 22 year old, our only goal was to get those two through the ride without injury. I was on pins and needles with worry for Rio the whole time.
We had a fantastic time and took it nice and slow, and easy. It was cool and cloudy and perfect for a ride, I was so thrilled with the weather. The horses were amazing. Rio did fantastic. I am so blessed to have such a sweet, good natured (and handsome) boy.
We started the Endurance ride towards the back and just kept a nice slow even pace. Maggie running was the perfect slow speed, but we were definitely glad when she got on, because I think if we would have maintained that pace we would have over timed. When she got on we were able to pick up the pace just a tad. The ride was smooth and flat, mostly some sand, not too deep, and consisted of 2 loops, the southern and northern loops, with the vet check in between. It was pretty cool that we got to ride the same loops as some of the 50 mile riders and theoretically could have ridden with them. We even passed a few riders, including my friend Nina, on the way into the vet check.
Both horses vetted in perfectly before the ride, and at the vet check. The hold was only 30 minutes! The shortest one I've ever had. I felt that was barely enough time to get the horses vetted (especially because there was a line) and let them rest a few minutes and tank up. We took Sunny's boots off, as the footing was so good he definitely did not need them, and they were causing him to trip a little bit. After they were off he was great.
We completed the second loop and came back in with the horses doing great, and not tired. Maggie and Rio came in 17th and Sunny and I came in 18th, around 5 1/2 hours, my longest LD to date. Both horses vetted out great! The ride was managed wonderfully and I would say it was in my top two for favorite desert rides.
I was so happy that Rio completed, but the real test, how would his legs hold up?!? I watched Rio like a hawk after the ride and other than a little stocking up (which is totally normal for him) his legs were great! I could have cried with happiness after everything I've been through with my boy. Maggie is quite a bit lighter than me and ran half of the ride, so I don't think Rio is quite ready for me to ride him in an LD; he needs more conditioning and lots of long slow distance to continue building up his tendons. But it MAY be in our future!