Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Crewing Tevis 2016 by Adrianne Buschling

These two extraordinary athletes took me on quite the adventure! Tevis Cup 2016 will forever be a treasured memory for me. Huge thanks to Bobbi, Willie, and Bobbi's husband Mark for the opportunity!  

We arrived in Sacramento on Thursday night, and were fortunate to have a lovely place to stay overnight. Early Friday morning, we got up, showered, loaded up, and headed out to Robie Equestrian Park, which is where the ride began. We got settled in, I braided Willie, and Bobbi checked in and got Willie vetted in (pic is them at the vetting in process). As suggested, I took lots of electrolytes and drank lots of water. We were at 7000' elevation in high desert, and we didn't want to get dehydrated or succumb to altitude sickness. Well, I now know that I can NOT consume ANY of the electrolyte products on the market - especially the caffeinated ones!! OMG, I thought I was going to die by about noon. My heart was racing, I was shaking so badly it was interfering with braiding, my whole body just flat out felt weird! But I survived, and by night time, I was starting to feel a little less wonky. 

The drive into and out of Robie Park was stunning. Everywhere you looked, there was a view worthy of a post card! I wish I had managed to get more photos, but I either didn't have my phone (camera) with me, or we were driving as fast as we could down dusty forest roads in a 4x4 pickup truck with a big camper, hauling a trailer - which doesn't exactly yield awesome cell phone shots. I guess I get to keep those memories tucked safely away in my memory bank. I hope to return to the area and explore at a much slower pace with my husband and our pups - I'll take pics then :-)
We set up camp, went to a bunch of meetings, checked out some of the vendors, and attended a pre-ride dinner down by the beautiful meadow (darn it, why did I keep forgetting my camera??? Oh yeah, I was spinning out on electrolytes, caffeine, and amino acids, lol!) After dinner there was one last meeting, then we went up to get ready for the start. We eventually settled down around 10 or 11 pm. Sleep eluded me, but I was happy to get to lay down for a while to let my muscles relax. By 2:30 am, Bobbi was up feeding Willie. After he ate what he wanted, I went out and did some pre-ride body work on him. By 3:30 am, Bobbi and her husband Mark were tacking him up.

It was glorious in the mountains, chilly at night, crystal clear skies, and so many stars. And the moon was vividly bright... The Tevis Moon! I massaged Willie by moonlight, and he was ready - he most definitely knew where he was! 4:30 rolled around, and Bobbie mounted up. She headed up to the starting line along with 171 other riders, the buzz of anticipation thick in the air. Shortly after the start at 5:15 am, we charged out of that park as the clock struck 5:30 am (per ride rules we couldn't leave before 5:30). We had to cover 90 miles to get to the first vet check we'd be crewing, Robinson Flat. With the obligatory Starbucks stop and quick pit stop to fill up the truck, we were lucky to make it with 5 minutes to spare before they cut off vehicles from entering at 9 am. Then it was our turn to get busy. 

Mark (Bobbi's husband), Lynn (her friend and neighbor) and I were Bobbi and Willie's crew. Considering we barely knew each other, I'm positively amazed by what an exceptional team we made! Bobbi had provided us a spreadsheet with all the things we needed to bring to each stop, and where to have what set up. She knows her stuff... As demanding as this event is, thanks to her guidance, we managed to make her stops calm, refreshing, and timely. Willie ate and drank like a champ - he was all business, and completely in his element! As we were getting ready to send Bobbi out of Robinson Flat, I noticed something didn't look quite right, and earned my keep by realizing she didn't have her cooling vest. We got it to her in the nick of time, and she headed off into the canyons.

We cleaned up our stop and headed back to the rig. We were on double duty as a horse ambulance, and thought we'd be taking 2 horses to the next stop, Foresthill. Since we also had to take the two horse's riders, Mark asked if one of us would volunteer to ride down with another ambulance, so there would be enough room in the truck. I volunteered and rode down with two riders who had been pulled due to their horse's being lame. Listening to their conversations really instilled in me that endurance riding is definitely a lifestyle, not just a hobby! Many of these people were raised doing endurance, and come from generations of endurance riders. Everyone seems to know everyone, and they have so many stories to share - some funny, some sad. 

Upon arriving in Foresthill, the first thing I noticed was the heat. I kept hearing, this isn't so bad, it's been way hotter in the past! Yikes!! I've been in Western WA for 10 years now... I haven't seen as much sun as I did on Saturday and Sunday in my past 10 years cumulatively!! I'm just glad it wasn't hotter! I immediately thought of the horses and riders picking their ways through those three canyons. Tough as nails really doesn't do them justice. 

Again, we got to work, scoping out the situation, picking out a spot to crew Bobbi and Willie, and eventually settling down in a shady spot to watch riders come up Bath Rd after their grueling ride through the canyons. Many residents of Bath Rd come out and set up chairs, cheer on the riders, set out hoses, buckets of water, and carrots - they're super supportive! Bobbi and Willie came riding in around 7:15. Willie pulsed down quickly. We took him to our crewing spot for feeding and massage, while Bobbie changed and got ready for their night time ride along the narrow trails. At 8:15, they set off into the night. 

We cleaned up, got the rig packed up, and set off to the Auburn Gold Country Fairgrounds. There was a specific parking area we were looking for, and it was tricky to find, especially in the dark, but we did eventually succeed in finding it. We got camp set up, both for us and for Willie, then took the gear we'd need down to the stadium. We came back and tried to get some sleep, but incoming rigs, chatty/sleep deprived/loopy people, and a particularly loud train made sleep elusive yet again. I decided to check my phone to see if I had finally gotten cell service, and I had... It was tenuous, but there! There were so many messages! I had pretty much forgotten about my phone by this time, as I don't think I'd had service since the airport! 

After a while, the influx of rigs slowed, and I managed to fall asleep for about an hour around 2am... Thankfully I set my alarm for 3am, cause Bobbi and Willie were making good progress, and we needed to get moving up toward the finish line. The actual finish line (where their ride time ends) is quite a ways up from the finish line everyone sees in the pictures. The riders cross the finish line, then their crew walks down with them to the stadium (but can't crew in any way yet). There they take their victory lap and cross under the more visible, commonly photographed finish line. 

We were so excited to see Bobbi and Willie coming up the hill at 4:30 am! We walked them down vet check, Willie pulsed down quickly and trotted out sound, passing with flying colors and earning their official completion! I went to work massaging him while he ate for an hour or so, at which point they did their final vet check and were deemed "fit to continue" (the unofficial theme of Tevis - the horse must always be fit to continue). We cleaned up the crewing spot, took everything back up to the trailer, and got Willie settled in to his pen for the evening. By the time all was said and done, I think it was daylight again. 

After a couple of hours failing to attempt to sleep, I got up and started to break down my sleeping stuff, and got all my things packed up. We went out for coffee/oj and got a quick bite to eat, then returned to watch Best Condition, where the horses who placed 1st - 10th in the ride are presented for evaluation. CRI (cardiac recovery index), soundness, and many other factors are evaluated and considered, and the winner receives the Haggin Cup.

All too quickly, the time came for us to make our way to the airport. I got checked in, met up with Lynn (we rode to the airport together and were on the same flights leaving from and returning to Portland), and after an hour and a half delay, headed home. I think I made it home around midnight thirty (this morning)... I was completely, deliriously exhausted. 

Whatta trip! I learned so much about this sport, and met many wonderful people. The horses and riders are true athletes. The ride was extraordinarily well organized, everything flowed seamlessly. Three people who hardly knew each other pulled together to make a top-notch Tevis crew for the incredibly well prepared and conditioned Bobbi and Willie. Well done team!!

Darice White and Beau Tia Maria (Tia), Tevis 2016

My Tevis journey. Saturday July 23rd. Tevis Cup race day!!!!

This is going to be a long one.  After a rather chilly night trying to sleep in the horse trailer we were up at 3:30 AM to get the horses ready to start the ride. The area is extremely dry and the amount of dust 168 or so horses creates is choking. I'm not sure of the official count but there were a lot. I know the ride # was down from previous years. All sorts of equines take part in this ride. At least 2 mules, Fox Trotters, Standardbreds, Appaloosas etc but obviously Arabians have the greatest representation.
I was shocked at how calm Tia was. Usually with a group of revved up horses Tia would be the ring leader however she stood camly waiting at the start. Good girl don't waste your energy as you'll need it. Trust me on this one. 

The dust was ridiculously thick! Tia was coughing from all the dust and I had dust in places I didn't know existed. It is a mass start however pen 1 is started first. Pen 1 are those who are vying for the win. That wasn't me!! I was quite content to settle for last place if it meant a finish. I was riding with my friend, Wendy. We ride together a lot on endurance rides. Our horses complement each other and will push and pull each other which is ideal for endurance. Wendy and I also have the same concept about our horses and that their welfare comes ahead of all else so it's a win win. 

The first vet gate was sheer pandemonium! Horses, riders, volunteers, scribes and vets everywhere. I somehow managed to get myself separated from Wendy. I have to say I totally panicked. I couldn't see her anywhere and I thought she had been right behind me. I walked to the out timer and asked if rider # 22 had gone through. She said yes. I thought well that's weird that she would have left without me. Bitch lol. I thought I'd better haul butt to catch up to her. I got to the next vet gate and no Wendy. Well Wendy was rider #24 not 22! I know that often you will end up riding these things alone BUT I wasn't expecting that at mile 36. AND our plan was to stick together as much as possible if we could.
Wendy said she saw me leave and the look of panic on my face so she chased to catch up to me. Ok all was good again.

After the initial vet gate the horses really start to spread out thank goodness. The craziness gets spread out however it is hard to settle in on a ride like this. So big, don't know the area and I've never ridden a point to point ride so that means I had to keep my vet card. Oh joy. How not to lose that when totally sleep deprived and a bit freaked out by it all. For those of you that know me calm has never been a word used to describe ME. I have a lot of Squirrel moments. I did manage to not lose my card but it was one grubby mess by the end of the ride. 

We decided there was no way we were giving up the photo op at Cougar Rock. We both ride sure footed mares and we were confident they could do it. The thought is you get the picture at Cougar Rock or you get the buckle. I hoped that this was a myth but the lure of the picture was just too much to pass up. Up and over we went and continued on our way. I hoped that the pictures would make me look tall, slim and younger. 

We headed into the canyons. This was the area I was dreading as the heat was supposed to be ridiculous. The cooling vest I bought was wonderful and saved me. Money very well spent!
Ok the canyons! Who knew there were 3 of them??? I guess I should have read up on that. They were brutal. Down, down, and down some more but let's throw in a ton of switchbacks just to make it interesting. I was so glad I worked with Tia in trotting down hills as well as going up. Once you get down the canyon then you get the joy of climbing back up the other side again with more switchbacks just for fun!! And 3 of them for your riding enjoyment. Ick! I can live without riding another canyon. Or at least no time soon. They have vet gates after the canyons and that's where a lot of riders get pulled. The heat, the climb and the descent take their toll on the horses and some riders. 

When we stopped at Forest Hills for our hold I thought I should think about changing clothes. I read where someone suggested changing your underwear. I sat down and went to take off my half chaps and I didn't have the energy to unzip them. So unless I put my underwear on top of my riding pants it wasn't happening. 

If someone tells you that you can ride Tevis without a light or glow sticks well they are just dirty rotten liars. The full moon does you diddly dot squat of good when you're riding through the trees.
As we didn't want to get lost in the dark we would join up with a rider with a light if possible. If they were moving out we would stick with them if not we moved ahead in the dark hoping we wouldn't lose our way or fall off a cliff. 

At about mile 86 disaster struck. I had been following a horse for quite a few miles when he suddenly balked and we got too close. He kicked out with both hind feet and caught me in the face. Off I came and smack onto the gravel road. I got back up quickly as this is Tevis after all. Mustn't tarry as you need to be constantly moving or you're out. Only 1 problem. My nose is bleeding profusely. Like call in the Red Cross as I'm giving a donation bleeding. I had nothing to use to stop the bleeding so Wendy gave me her bandana. My motto is unless you need an ambulance get back on that horse and I did. My husband would have said to me you've been hurt worse. He's very compassionate. My knee was also injured in the fall making it hard to get back onto Tia so Wendy had to come to my aid to get me back in the saddle. 

What I found out later is Tia spun away from the kick and started to go down the embankment. Tia's athletic ability saved her from tumbling probably to her death. (They didn't tell me this little gem until after the ride but maybe just as well). I wasn't sure if Tia was harmed and couldn't help but think (as my nose continued to flow like Mount Vesuvius) what a shame it would be if we got pulled so close to the finish. And yes that happens all the time. I got the vet that I had seen a couple of times and he assured me that Tia was fine. I asked him to tell me if he thought my nose was broken. Vet, Doctor. Whoever is handy. He didn't but found me some ibuprofen and we were off. Nose still bleeding but at least slowing. 

One section of trail is crossing a river where they use glow sticks to mark the route and you stay between the markers. We were told that the river would be 1 1/2 feet deep there. Well liar, liar pants on fire!! Imagine my surprise when the water was up to Tia's belly and now I had soaked shoes and socks. Squish, squish down the trail we went. At the vet check at mile 94 I could tell Tia was tired but we were almost home. She vetted in well and we were in the home stretch. Once the horses get close to home they really pick up the pace as they know they are going home. As we had a cushion on our time we kept them to a walk for most of the way in. 

We were very happy to see our crew at the finish line and know we had at least made it within the time allowed. We came in to the stadium and did our victory lap. I'm not going to lie. I cried. I was seriously tired having spent so much time in the saddle and relieved that I was done with just the final vet check to pass. Horses do get pulled at the finish and I hoped after everything I'd been through I wouldn't be a casualty of this. Tia vetted in very well. I believe a lot of A's but I don't have her final vet card. Wendy trotted her out for me as by now both my knees were totally useless. The trot out wasn't stellar but enough to get us the green light and our completion. I hugged the vet, cried some more and said a prayer of thanks.
I was surprised that I handled most of the ride well. I drank constantly, coped with the heat and didn't have a crash(well the one on the ground) or hallucinate. I guess some people do. I was a bit motion sick but that started after the fall so not sure if I would have had that or not if I hadn't fallen.
And once again was glad I had a helmet on my head. My knees ached though. One of my legs is seriously larger than the other from my fall. It will require icing and maybe some bute. 

The volunteers at this ride are second to none. Dianne Roberts brought us a cooler with ice to soak our cooling vests, another lady lent us her head light so we could see down the trail in the dark. They would offer you food, fill your water bottles, sponge your horse, saddle your horse, hold your horse while you ran to the loo(which sometimes was behind a downed tree) all with kindness, interest in your well being and wishing you a great ride as you headed off down the trail again. 

We were never aiming to win or to top 20. We just wanted to complete and get the buckle. Beginners luck? Maybe but I will cherish that buckle anyway. This was an amazing experience that I will treasure until the day I die. I have no doubt that I will still have some of that Tevis dust up my nose when that day comes.

Brenna Sullivan and Ebony's Blue Sky, Tevis 2016

Now that I've had time to think and digest, I wanted to write my Tevis story down so I remember everything later!

I hauled Sky up to the Auburn fairgrounds on Wednesday morning where Lora had gotten us a stall right next to Merlin. Merlin and Sky became fast friends and I was able to park my rig right next to Lora's below the horse stalls. It was literally the perfect set-up! Lora and I drove over to Echo Valley Feed to get some last-minute supplies and feed and got lunch in Auburn. I rode Sky down to No Hands Bridge and back that afternoon so we would know the last few miles up to the finish. Judy, Jen, Brian and Kelly showed up that afternoon and after the BBQ we all hung out on the lawn catching up while the horses munched in their stalls.
The next morning, I got Sky's boots glued on by the EasyCare team. Jesse Caswell helped me walk Sky back and I helped him by holding Apollo so he could see how the experts did the gluing. After that, we loaded up and caravaned with Lora, Judy and Brian up to Robie Park! It was pretty spectacular driving up 80, looking out over the Sierras and knowing we would be starting over the far range!
Getting parked at Robie Park was a chore and stressful for all involved. Brian helped me big time in backing the rig, re-backing the rig, getting frustrated and pulling it around. We also had to shuffle the horse corrals a bit because by this time Sky and Merlin were hopelessly bonded! But all ended well; horses ate, we set up our little camp and waited for the rest of Lora's crew to file in throughout the evening.
On Friday, we rode the horses, checked in, vetted in, bought some last-minute stuff at the vendor's and attended the pre-ride meetings. mom, Auntie Lynn, Katherine, Davina, Lu and my Dad showed up at various times throughout the afternoon and evening to get my crew stuff and work out a plan for the next day. I was endlessly stressing out about whether or not the horse was eating enough. She was literally knee high in 8 different types of feed which were of course, coated in a nice layer of Robie Park dust. I did everybody a favor and went to bed early.
I got up at 3:30am and saddled her under her blanket. I got on her early to give her a really good warm-up because I knew the pack would be moving fairly good after the start. We started right on time and it was chaos! Horses were kicking and squirreling all around; the expected product of close quarters and well-fed, well-rested fit endurance horses!
The first few miles down to HW 89 crossing were a blur. We went faster than I would have liked, but it was my attempt to keep her brain together. She was pretty wound up. I took a wrong turn at Squaw Valley and ended up going about a 1/2 mile out of my way; was not paying attention to the obvious trail marking! As we climbed up from Squaw Valley up to High Camp, the horses settled and I was able to appreciate the amazing views! We hit High Camp which is almost 8000 ft and she drank a lot of water. I electrolyted her and we climbed 2500 more ft up to Emigrant Pass which still had snow! I did what Becky Lange suggested and looked behind me out to Lake Tahoe and was not disappointed.
At this point, the trail descends down into the Granite Chief Wilderness. This was an incredibly scenic part of the trail looking out over the granite mountains that we would pass through. The grass was green and there were wildflowers all around! However, I could not believe how technical the trail was. There were huge boulders and chunks of granite for the horses to negotiate coupled with streams and bogs that made everything very slippery. Sky didn't have to slow down for the really really rocky sections so we were able to make up for some time that we had lost by walking up to Emigrant Pass. After Lyon Ridge, the trail become dusty and we were stuck behind long lines of riders. You couldn't see the trail below you and I saw at least two horses trip and go down.
We approached Cougar Rock and I decided that she was paying attention enough to try it! The rock is pretty intimidating as you ride up to it and once you decide to go, you are committed! The guy immediately in front of me almost fell off to the side when his horse refused and squirreled around mid-way up. He somehow managed to get turned around before they had a wreck and go down to the bypass. Sky and I were up! I pointed her up the rock and held on. Up and over we went, no problem! Good pony!!!
The trail had some hard climbs in the sun before hitting a dirt road which was a welcome relief. I rode with Jeff on a beautiful Appy down to Red Star Ridge; our first vet check at 28 miles. Sky came in with a pulse of 80 even though I had hand-walked her the last mile in. She never comes into vet checks this high, so I was worried. Thankfully, as I continued to scoop water on her and use my alcohol mixture on her neck her pulse steadily dropped. She used this time that I was cooling her to really tank up and eat well so it was a blessing in disguise. I vetted her in with Mike Witt and she was down to 56 and got good scores on hydration and gut sounds. We were good to go to Robinson! I was so relieved! One of my big worries was to get pulled before seeing my wonderful crew at Robinson Flat!
From Red Star to Robinson was a gravelly dirt road, but it was a welcome mental break after the technical trail through Granite Chief. I rode with Dean Moon and his Rocky mare Cassie for a bit, as well as a nice lady from British Columbia on her Connemara cross. We passed two people who had parted ways from their horses and ran into the horses about 2 miles down the trail.
About a mile from Robinson Flat, I got off Sky and walked in. My crew was waiting for me as we walked up and did a fantastic job of stripping her tack and getting her cooled off as we walked into the vet check. She pulsed down and vetted in fine. Davina and Lu had parked at Sailor Flat the night before and found the perfect spot in the shade. Dionne fed me and gave me a towel to get all the dirt and grime from my face and Sky did nothing but eat. Carol had brought some friends to help crew and it was such a welcome sight to have everything expertly taken care of by everybody!
I left Robinson about 5 minutes after Lora and Merlin and caught up on the downhill Forest Service road to Dusty Corners. Sky and Merlin rode great together and we had fun leapfrogging with Sharon Wimberg and her friend. The weather was still comfortable and the horses hit a good pace. The volunteers at Dusty Corners were awesome and both horses drank pretty well!
We started along the trail that leads to Pucker Point. It was fairly exhilarating along that narrow little trail; Pucker Point was downright scary to me! The trail kind of drops off into nothing down to the river far below. We held our breath and kept going.
At Last Chance at 50 miles, Sky ate and drank well again, pulsed down and vetted through with Dr. Balch. He gave her all A's and said she looked fantastic. I thought we are in as good of shape as we can be heading into the canyons. Lora had ridden off ahead so when we hit the first canyon, I got off to walk. It was fairly technical and slow going. Sky grabbed some wild oats growing along the side. The farther we descended, the hotter it got. I elected not to go down into the river at Swinging Bridge as there was a long line and a creek on the other side. Sky drank well in that little creek and I was able to cool her off.
We found Lora and Merlin a little ways up; they had both taken a nasty tumble in the creek. In retrospect, I should have tailed Sky up, because I didn't truly appreciate how steep and technical that canyon was! There were large boulders the horses had to step up on to and the climbing was relentless. Sky lost a boot at the bottom and did the entire climb barefoot on her right hind. Good thing she had not yet shed her sole in that foot!
Right at the top at Devil's Thumb, there were water troughs. Again, in retrospect, I should have kept her walking the mile into Deadwood so she could have walked out her fatigued muscles before immediately stopping. As it were, she gulped water and I was rummaging around in my pack looking for a spare boot. I started to cool her and noticed a muscle tremor right above her stifle. Not good. I immediately pulled her away from the trough and started walking slowly into Deadwood. I walked right up to Dr. Lydon and asked if he could take a look at her. I hadn't cooled her or anything. He thought I was asking to vet through and to my surprise she had already pulsed down. This reassured me a little bit. I told him about her muscle tremor and he told me to walk her around and then trot her out. He couldn't see anything and said her gut sounds and hydration parameters were good. He passed me on the vet check.
I knew we still had two canyons to Foresthill and it just wasn't worth it to risk having a problem in the next canyon. I told Dr. Lydon that I was going to pull her and unceremoniously ended our Tevis journey. I had to wait for transport and there was a horse colicking, so I elected to give her some fluids so she could be comfortable in the wait and long trailer ride out of Deadwood. It took about 4 hours total to get back to Auburn.
While I was disappointed, it was amazing to hear the next day that Lora had finished along with Abigail on her mule. I just about cried watching 75 year old Jesse Caswell trot into the finish on Apollo. I loved watching the Haggin Cup judging and the award ceremony the next day. It was an emotional year for a number of reasons; stories of loss and hope and triumph abounded. Just being a part of this event was really something I'll never forget.
The most important part was that my horse was happy, healthy and moving out great afterwards in Auburn. When I got her home, she bucked around the pasture and her legs feel cold and tight. I think that's pretty good for 55 miles of really tough trail. Not sure what our next step is; for now Sky gets a long deserved break!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Darlene Anderson and SAR Tiki Rock On, Tevis 2014

Tevis...One Wild Ride, or, Just another Ride. It really is just that.

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!

Photo by Lynne Glazer Photography

The alarm went off at 3:30 am, startling me. I hadn't really expected to fall asleep. I got myself up off the bunk, lit the flame under the water which Max would make coffee for he and Ron, and a chai tea for me and went about the business of feeding the ponies. Rock was ready to eat, as he always is. I woke up Ramone with my rustling about and the boys were soon begging for their breakfasts. Nearby horses thought they should also have some O'Dark:30 breakfast. 

The night before I had sifted through my ride clothes, deciding if I should make any last minute decisions on what I had planned to wear. Max made a crack about my life being pretty good if this was my biggest worry. He was right. Max poured us cereal, yogurt and served up the beverages. Ron showed up about this time and we shared a quiet breakfast. No matter what Ron says, it's true, I am quiet from time to time. 

Heading outside it was still pitch dark, but you could hear the Robie Park ridecamp coming to life on this Tevis morning. I was going about removing Rock's blanket, admiring his braid job, and his shiny shiny hide, all the while telling him what an amazing Rock Star he is to me. I would do my best to bring him through this adventure unscathed. He asked for a few treats and stood quietly while I saddled him up. On either side of me, my Tevis ride partners were also saddling up. We had each attached a green glow light on the back of our saddles so we wouldn't lose track of one another in the dark. They worked really well. Almost too well! Before we knew it, we were ready to mount up and head off on the long walk to our start point, Pen One! On our prep ride the day before we figured out it would take us about 10 minutes to get down there. The horses moved along the road quietly and confidently. Rock led the march in his bold way. Ramone and Warrior followed his lead. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Trails (and Trials): Crewing Tevis 2012

What a ride! Crewing for Tevis is certainly a mighty job, but really, one of patience. Driving, unloading, waiting...helping! feeding! Then loading, driving, unloading, waiting, again and again. Caveat: I was not a very good chronicler of the event, when I'm busy I don't seem to think about the camera, only when things finally calmed down, and were too boring to take photos of!

I was part of crew for Team Stalley. Pam Stalley has (I think, my brain is too tired to look it up right now) 12 buckles, her daughters Jennifer and Alyssa have multiples as well. They know what they're doing! They know how to train, they have it down pretty well. The crew binder spelled it all out. I loaded some of their stuff on Wednesday night, and was set to met them at Robinson. I also briefly met with GoPony on Wednesday and talked horses and boots, which was fun but is all a blur and seems like ages ago!

Saturday morning we (I had recruited my SO too, ha, he can't escape!) got to Robinson and half the crew was already there (they had rider food and stuff, we had mostly horse stuff). Unload quickly, three minutes only then back down the hill!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Karen Chaton and Pro Bono, Tevis 2013

We had a great ride this year. Everything fell into place for us in so many ways. I actually entered early and planned ahead for the ride this year. And still managed to avoid any Gremlins!

We got up to Robie Park on Friday morning before the ride and got set up by 9 a.m.. It’s nice that we are only about 65 miles from the start so there is no need to go up any earlier.

I had lots of time to take Bo out for a nice leisurely pre-ride on the start of the trail. He was nice and relaxed and already had his mind focused on his job. When we got back, my crew person Wayne ran the Groomlights over Bo one more time. Bo really seem to enjoy that.

I then went down to vet in. This year we didn’t have to bring our tack down to weigh in so that made it a little easier. We vetted in with no issues and Bo got his #80 written on both sides of his butt. It was a relief to have made it this far.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Karen Chaton and Pro Bono, Tevis 2012

Getting to the start of the Tevis Cup is often the hardest part. It takes so much preparation, planning, and then of course worrying about every little thing that could or does go wrong. This year I had the hardest time making my mind up about going. In the end, I realized that I may regret it later if I didn’t try, knowing that my horse Pro Bono (“Bo”) was in such great shape.

On Friday morning we trailered to Robie Park, the starting point for the Tevis. It is roughly 60 miles from my house so Bo arrived after his brief trailer trip looking great. I checked in, then saddled up and took Bo out with a friend for a pre-ride to work off some of that excess energy that Bo was sure to have at the start the next morning. After that, we went to do our pre-ride vet check.

Peter Greig, Dr. Jim Baldwin, Karen Chaton and Pro Bono at Robie Park. Tevis pre-ride vet check.

Coincidentally, we got to vet in with Dr. Baldwin, who had just recently vetted us in Idaho at the City of Rocks ride. Bo passed with flying colors. We were now officially entered and cleared to start the ride!