Monday, February 12, 2007

Camp Osborn Boy Scout Pow Wow Endurance Ride

rest stopWednesday, February 7th, Daniel and I packed the remainder of our things and headed down south to Georgia. The trip took over 9 hours and included a 45 minute stop about half-way for Tanna to relax and eat some grass. Normally our first ride of the season is Chicken Chase in April, but we decided to splurge and go to Camp Osborn for the first time.

We reached camp just after dark and were able to quickly locate our electric camp site due to Jamie's excellent posted camp map. After getting Tanna's pen up and camp settled, we took Tanna for a walk and retired.

Thursday was a busy day spent visiting with new and old friends, registering, vetting in, setting up our vet check area, and getting everything ready for Friday's ride. Although I prefer to spend holds at our trailer, our camp was 0.4 miles from the vet check area, so we decided it was best to set up close to the vet check area.

The weather was very nice for the ride down and on Thursday. 60s and sunny compared to the 30 degree weather we left in Nashville. Friday's weather was nice, too, but cooler (50s) and cloudy for much of the day.

The ride meeting was held in the dining hall. The 50 had 4 loops. The Red loop (13.5 miles), the White loop (14.5 miles), the Red loop again, and the Red/White loop (10.3 miles). Dr. Ken Marcella was the head vet with Dr. Otis and another vet helping out. Pulse was 64. Tack on for the first check, rider's discretion based on conditions for the later checks. Holds 40 minutes each for a total of 2 hours worth of holds. 50s start at 7:00 AM.

I woke up the next morning at 5 AM and began my pre-ride ritual. At 6:45, I mounted up with Daniel's help and we headed to the start line. I checked in with the timers, Nancy and Samm, greeted Joe Schoech and hung out waiting for the start. Tanna's heart rate was 36. He was not concerned at all. At 7 AM, Nancy called out "Trail's open" and the 45+ riders moved down the road.

I held Tanna to a walk and let others pass by. We did some spinning around, but basically under control. We fell in beside Joe and Bogie and picked up a trot. The first couple of miles of trail wound through a field. It was awesome to see the other horses ahead of us in several small clustered groups. Horses under control, but fired up and strong. Just an awesome, good feeling!

After a bit, I found myself riding in a small group with Joe, Betsey Knight, Debbie DeVita and one other rider whose name totally escapes me. As we flew along, I enjoyed the banter of the other riders and focused on keeping Tanna from running up on the heels of the horse in front of me. When one of the front horses stopped to urinate, I took quick advantage to tie my shoe and we were off again.

Soon Betsey and the other rider took off and Joe, Debbie and I were left to finish the loop on our own. We had a great time chatting. Some of the time was spent discussing pacing and reverse splits.

My goal for the day was a 7 hour 50. Tanna was in decent shape and this was a flat ride which made it a great ride to practice basic pacing. Debbie's horse, Tyrone, was a great pacing partner. We finished our first loop with a 7 mph average (which went down to 6.6 mph by the time I made my way to the pulse box). Pretty good start to the day. Joe, unfortunately, pulled at the first vet check.

Tanna ate very little at the first vet check, which wasn't really a surprise. He did eat little bits of hay and grain, though. I left him saddled through the vet check and the hold with his rump rug down and his cooler draped over his neck. He received mostly As with a B in guts. Again, not a big surprise for this horse.

The second loop was the white loop of 14.5 miles. Debbie and I rode along, chatting about everything horsey. :-) Tanna and I were having a great time. This loop took us along country roads. There was some two-way traffic, and while Eric Ginter apologized for this at the ride meeting, I really liked seeing the other riders as we passed them.

We came in from the White loop with a 7.5 mph average. Tanna had eaten and drunk on this loop fairly well. By the time we got to the pulse box, our average had dropped to 7 mph. It's interesting to see how fast the average drops just from walking or stopping to electrolyte.

Tanna ate and drank at this vet check. I again decided to leave tack on. Tanna ate for about 15 minutes, then stepped back and just relaxed and watched the activity in the check. I chatted with Vance, the guy set up next to us in the vet check. He was only 7-10 minutes ahead of us, riding his wife's horse in the horse's first 50.

When our out time came, I mounted up and waited for Debbie's out time and away we went on the 3rd loop, which was a repeat of the 1st loop. This was a slower loop for us. We walked out of camp before picking up a trot. We spent some time at the water troughs, especially where there was yummy peanut hay for the horses! We also spent a bit of time grazing along the trail.

Some of the trail was a bit beat up from the horses that had already gone through. There were some holes that we had to watch out for and a couple of bad bogs. Tanna dropped his hind end in a hole in a bog. Fortunately, we were just walking and he pulled out of it with only some mud to show for the incident.

Back near camp, there was a nice little loop around the lake. Daniel was waiting to take some pictures of us as we circled the lake to try to get some nice reflective pictures. Then it was just a half mile or so to the vet check.

Just before camp, there are two bridges. One is wooden with no sides. Tanna is quite used to wooden bridges. The other bridge was metal with sides. I stayed mounted both times crossing both bridges and Tanna did a great job of being careful without being stupid. He was a little concerned to hear (and probably feel) the vibrations on the metal bridge when Tyrone and Debbie followed, but he was a good boy.

The 3rd loop was completed with only a 6.3 mph average (dropped to 6 by the time we got our pulse time). But Tanna had eaten and drunk and I was pleased with the loop. Because of the fall in the bog, I chose to pull Tanna's saddle for the vet check. I wanted Dr. Ken to really check Tanna over for any soreness that the fall might have caused. I informed Dr. Ken of the incident and was pleased that there were no ill effects. Tanna even got an A- for gut sounds instead of a B!

Tanna ate a lot (for him) at this vet check. He finished his grain and I hand-fed him hay for a good deal of the remainder of the check. I saddled up and headed out about 3 minutes after my out time for the final 10.3 mile loop. Vance and Debbie had left together since I was late on my out time.

We had done a lot of trotting and some walking, but not much cantering this ride. So I decided to let Tanna canter more this loop to use different muscle groups. Tanna and I flew along having a great time. After a couple miles we caught up with Vance and Debbie and we trotted and chattered along. I kept an eye on my average speed. My goal for the average was 7.5 mph for this final loop. We paused several times to eat and drink. At one trough I kept checking my watch so much that Debbie asked if I just wanted to go on. I said I did, bid them farewell and headed down the road for the last few miles.

Tanna was doing great. We cantered on different leads, did some trotting, paused for some grass and just kept moseying along. Our average speed stablized at 7.5 mph and I was pleased. I didn't want to spend too much time with electrolytes, so I managed to electrolyte from the saddle this time. I pulled the syringes out at a trot and stopped him for the actual dosing. That was fun. :=)

We passed a couple riders who were off and walking along the pavement. We exchanged pleasantries and Tanna and I trotted along the side of the road past them. Soon we turned onto the final stretch toward Nancy and the finish line. I asked for a canter and Tanna cantered in nicely across the finish line for a 7 hour 9 minute ride time! Who-hooo. I got my time from Nancy and cantered to the main road where I dismounted and walked the rest of the way to the vet check.

I pulled tack and went directly for the completion exam. Tanna did so great the entire ride. I was pleased with his vet scores. Only 2 Bs the whole day and those on guts for the first checks. He had energy to spare and looked perky at the end.

This was a great first ride of the season for us! A good finish time, good eating habits and no soreness or stiffness. He did have a bit of swelling in the legs when I got up to walk him in the middle of the night, but that dissipated with the walking.

Thank you to Jamie Ginter for putting on this ride. I had such a good time. The vets were awesome as usual and the trail was marked so I was literally riding ribbon to ribbon. I did get side-tracked once, but that was totally my own fault! This was a lot of fun and I'm really glad we put this on our schedule this year. Thanks to the vets, the timers and all the volunteers that made this ride happen!

For those of you that like GPS data, use this URL. http://cheval.motionbased.com The Camp Osborn ride should be at the top right now. I have one track for each loop and one big track that combines all the loops together.

After we got home, Tanna had a good roll and then went running off with his buddy Serts.

More pictures of our trip can be found on Daniel's Flickr site.

1 comment:

Akasha said...

Great story April! I loved the rolling picture at the end.. that's a keeper.. :)