Tuesday, October 21, 2008

National Championships 2008

Ride Recap

I saddled up Thursday morning in the rain. Daniel was very helpful from the very beginning, helping to get the saddle straight and the girth tight enough (but not too tight). I mounted up and Tanna was a good boy. No hunching or threatening to buck. A very good start to the day.

We walked to the front of the property where other riders were starting to gather. I gave my number (101) to Nancy Gooch, the legendary Southeast timer. I picked Joe and Kit out of the horses pretty quickly as Joe was on the ground walking and had his headlamp set to red. I followed suit and turned my headlamp on red as well. I kept Tanna walking to keep his mind engaged and his muscles warming up. His rump rug was securely over his hindquarters, keeping them warm and dry.

After Joe mounted, the two of us walked around together and Joe found Laura and her mare, Mo. Our little group was complete. Now to wait for the controlled start.

When Nancy called out the trail was open, the 44 horses slowly began making their way to the end of Bill Wilson's property and down the short stretch of pavement to the trails. Joe, Laura and I tucked in near the back and followed.

Once the horses were safely on trail and off pavement, the speed increased as the horses began to trot. I kept Tanna down to a dull roar. The darkness certainly helped his brain as he couldn't see all the other horses, just the ones right in front of him. I still had a good fight on my hands to keep him off those horses. I settled into the front position of our little group.

My little 14 year old grade Arab had no idea what I would ask of him in the next 24 hours. Not only would I ask him to go 100 miles, almost twice as far as we'd ever been before, but I would ask him to carry me up and down all the hills. Normally, I dismount and give him breaks on the steeper hills, but with my ankle only 3.5 months from being broken and the pins and plates still in place, that would not be happening on this ride.

After about 2 miles, we popped out on more pavement and I insisted on a walk. The best I got was a slow trot. He could have walked faster. Goofy boy. I did not want him or the other two horses slipping on the wet pavement. Shortly after reaching the pavement, a rider blazed past at a faster than safe (imo) speed. Right in the middle of our little group without a single word to any of us. Lovely trail manners (read the sarcasm).

When we reached good trail again, we again moved out at about a 9 or 10 mph trot. Soon we dropped off the ridge and down in the valleys for hills and climbs and single track trail. Somehow we all three separated here. Laura moved on out ahead, I hung out in the middle and Joe came along behind. Playing to the horses's strengths. Tanna was very strong and very insistent that he could go much faster than I was allowing.

After we popped back on the ridge, I paused to electrolyte Tanna. Sometime last season, I thought it would be fun to teach Tanna to electrolyte from the saddle. I only dose about 10 cc of LyteNow at a time. LyteNow is a thick paste and such a small amount is easy to syringe from the saddle and keep it in his mouth. I did it for fun before, but at this ride, I was so thankful that I didn't have to get off or bother Joe to get off and electrolyte my horse for me. I always follow up the electrolytes with a homemade concoction of Neigh-lox and Fastrack in an applesauce base. This last thing Tanna thinks is a treat and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I give it to him.

Back on the move, I kept Tanna to an 8 - 9 mph trot. Very hard with an open trail and an eager horse. But I know this horse and I knew he could not go as fast as he thought he could and still finish. We dropped down off the ridge again to follow the trails out to the new horsecamp. We fought a lot. My leg was bothering me quite a bit as Tanna fought and pitched a fit down a hill. Down hill is the worst for my injured leg. I was unhappy and in pain and spinning Tanna down the trail in an effort to get his brain back. At this point, Joe and Kit appeared behind us.

Somehow it was better with company. Joe was having issues getting Kit to settle down, too. At least I wasn't the only one!! We had both hoped the boys would settle down together, but no luck. They seemed to egg each other on and try to out-do each other.

We came in for the first vet check in last place just after 10 AM. Exactly where we wanted to be. My motto is "get out back early and stay there all day."

I walked Tanna over to our vet check area and carefully dismounted using the mounting block. Daniel immediately began unsaddling Tanna. It was cold and we were wet from the rain. Seems the rain had let up by this point, but I was still wet and cold. As soon as the saddle was off, I put a wool blanket over Tanna. I hobbled after Daniel to the pulse line and the vets. Tanna vetted in fine. The grass was slick and Tanna slid at the far end of the trot out. I caught my breath, but he was ok. He vetted in ok and back to our area for the 40 minute hold time.

I sat down, removed my shoe and brace and propped up my leg with an ice bag while Daniel settled Tanna with hay and feed. After about 15 minutes he ran back to the trailer and returned with a wind breaker for Tanna and another wool blanket for me. While on trail, I wasn't that cold, but stopping, boy, was I freezing!! I dutifully ate the meal I had planned for this check. An egg, a yogurt and a cheese stick. Protein, fat and carbs.

Before I knew it, Tamra, Joe's wife, crew and keeper of the time, called out the 10 minute warning and we moved to prepare to go back on trail. I replaced my brace and my shoe while Daniel began resaddling. I stopped by the porta potty, mounted up and headed out after Joe on our second loop for 16.5 miles. Laura had left out earlier since she had made it into the check earlier than us.

This was our pattern in the vet checks. Tamra was very good about keeping an eye on the time all day long. Anytime I called out "time check" she would respond how long we had left in the hold. Very handy when trying to determine if Daniel had time to run here or there to do this or that.

This time, the horses were moving along nicely. Still asking to move faster, but behaving themselves for the most part. We were on a ridge for about 2 miles and after a walking warm-up down a short stretch of pavement, we allowed the pace to be quick at 10 - 11 mph. Soon enough, we'd drop off the ridge and slow up. Both Joe and I commented on how well the horses were working together. We made good time, even after dropping down the ridge. We caught up with Laura and her mare and the three of us continued on together into the away vet check a bit after 1 PM.

When we came into that check, the sun was out and it was pleasant although not what I would call warm. There was lots to look at though, and Tanna's heart rate was not down to 64 bpm by the time we got the saddle off. Tamra graciously helped check his HR while Daniel held Tanna and I sponged his neck and cleaned his legs to get him to relax. Doug Sandlin and Roger Barrett (crewing for Ed who was out on trail) were helping Joe get Kit down to criteria. Finally down and to the vet. Tanna vetted in well and we returned to our crewing area. Kit also was vetted in and back.

Unfortunately, Laura pulled her mare at this check. Just wasn't their trail or their day.

A third of our ride over already! I ate the Subway sandwich Daniel had retrieved for me from the lunch table and a couple of cookies baked by Nina Barnett (yummy!). Tamra and I discussed the upcoming loop. It was a tough loop. 15.5 miles and lots of hills. It would be a slow loop. Tamra stressed not getting complacent, but to move out when we could to make time. I told her and Daniel to expect us in 3 hours. We would do our best to keep to that time frame.

Off we went on our tough loop. We were truly the turtles, moving at a slow, steady pace. I know management was concerned that we would be too slow, but we had a good plan and were so far working to the plan. Our goal was slow and steady all day and all night until the job was done.

The 3rd loop was pleasant. Some of the tough hills I was expecting were not in the actual loop! I was happy to discover a whole section of switchbacks were by-passed. Whew! And some of the tough hills on the Shaw Lake loop were broken up by the Wildlife loop in the middle. I had never ridden the wildlife loop and quite enjoyed it. Mike Caudill met us on that loop with some water and then met us again on the way out of the Shaw Lake loop. Thanks, Mike!!

Headed back to the vet check, we passed by the way to the switchbacks that were not in the loop. Those switchbacks led to the other horse camp which is often used as an away vet check for Chicken Chase (the spring ride run from Bill's place). Tanna wanted to head to that horse camp for our next away check. He was unhappy with me and convinced I was steering him wrong to send him past and back toward Wilcox Lake and the actual vet check. It took at least 1/2 mile to convince him before he settled down and moved out properly.

We came in from the 3rd loop at 4:30. We'd done that loop in 2 1/2 hours. Yay!! Our toughest loop down in good time, half the ride over and our horses in good shape. Our plan was working.

After vetting in, we evaluated where we were and our time. Our next loop was 13.5 miles back to base camp. We would arrive there after dark. I knew that this loop was not glow-sticked, but I wasn't worried. Joe and I both had headlamps and I knew the trail very well. I told Joe to tell management not to bother with trying to get out to glow-stick any part of this loop. We'd get there ok.

Tanna was beginning to eat well at this check. I ate some potato salad and drank some protein drink. I had no idea at this check what I had planned to eat.

Dr. Otis and Becky hung out with us, waiting for our hold to be over. I was surprised to see Ron Chapman still in the check, too. I hoped he hadn't been pulled. He hadn't. His out time was 18 minutes before ours.

When we left the check, everybody else left, too. Back to camp we went. This loop wasn't very exciting or memorable. While headed down a long stretch of pavement, we commented on the many long skid marks we saw and kept our horses to a slow trot or a walk to make sure we didn't add any skid marks. Back on dirt trail, we trotted and even did a bit of cantering where we could. On the hills, Joe dismounted to walk and I passed him a backpack I wore that held alfalfa hay. Joe would hand-feed the horses while stopped for a breather. Those hills are tough stuff!! I silently thanked my Tanna for carrying me up them. I definitely had the easiest job on the hills. Just sit there and be a cheering section for the other three (Joe, Kit and Tanna).

We made it back to camp by 7:45 in the dark. I had no trouble finding the trail and keeping us on the right track. No anxiety from riding in the dark. I had a very nice headlamp that Daniel picked out and then attached firmly to my helmet.

Tanna vetted in fine and began eating everything he could reach. The only thing he wasn't allowed to eat was Kit's mash. Until Tamra gave him that, too. ;-) Kit preferred Tanna's. Joe and I had both been worried that the horses would quit at this point. They had done almost 65 miles and were back in camp. Tanna showed no sign of quitting. I didn't hear Joe mention anything about Kit quitting either.

I was freezing at this check and added a sweatshirt, a skull cap under my helmet and some SSG Wind Stopper Riding Gloves I'd purchased from a vendor on-site. I know, don't use stuff at a ride that you haven't used in training. But my hands were numb. My regular gloves are SSG, so I figured I'd be ok and I was. I was SO grateful for those gloves!!!! I ate next to nothing at this check. About 5 minutes before time to tack up, Tamra mentioned there was hot soup around somewhere for me. I said I'd wait till next check to eat it.

Out on trail again. This 5th loop I'd been looking forward to all day. It was a 15.5 mile out and back loop along the ridge. No hills to speak of and time to move out some, even in the dark. My plan (and thus our plan as Joe was strangely agreeable to my plans all day long) was to keep to an 8 mph trot and go steady the whole loop. I hoped to come off that loop with a 7 mph average, allowing for some time to stop for grass/water, etc.

We fell into a steady rhythm with the horses. Kit has a bigger trot than Tanna, so often would move up along-side and then pass slightly. Still along side, but ahead. Tanna would begin to fight to speed up, but I would back him off. Kit and Joe would slow, also, Joe sometimes moving Kit back directly behind Tanna to slow him down.

At some point, we caught up with Ron and he fell into line behind us. We had a comfortable silence as we all concentrated on our horses and our own thoughts.

During one of the times that Kit pulled ahead, I pulled Tanna back to a reasonable trot and Kit and Joe just motored on ahead. Tanna got mad and I was unwilling to break my plan to stay with Kit and Joe, so just slowed to a walk. I let Ron go around me, then picked up the steady 8 mph trot again, with my fussing, mad horse. After all, the last one in the dark is the one that gets eaten, right? I was pleased that he still had the umph to fuss and fight at 70+ miles, though. ;-)

After several minutes, I caught back up with Joe and Ron walking. Joe commented, "I suddenly looked around and no one was there!" He'd been in his own little world and hadn't realized he'd left us. Hehe. We tucked back into line, Tanna, Kit and Barukah and continued on to the turn-around spot. Here we paused for various issues and I headed back toward camp at a walk to give the guys a chance to take care of business.

I was worried about getting grass for Tanna on this loop. Often on trail, I will scout out good places for Tanna to grab a bite and send him to those spots. But in the dark, with my headlamp, I couldn't tell what was good grass and what wasn't!! I kept getting it wrong and was getting frustrated.

As the loop progressed, I became aware that Tanna need to pee. He just wouldn't do it. When we reached the water buckets out on trail, we all paused and let the horses drink. Also, praise God, there was a good bit of grass for the horses to munch on. I hoped Tanna would pee there, but he decided to be shy. I sent the guys on ahead and carefully dismounted. Tanna will generally pee when I do and this time was no exception. It took a bit of doing to get Tanna situated on a downhill and to stay still while I carefully mounted. I had to reposition him several times before he figured out I could not get on until he stayed put.

I caught back up with the guys and we headed back into camp at 10 till 11. This loop had taken a little longer than I'd planned, but we were still doing well. We were at 80 miles. Only the 2 10 mile loops left to go and plenty of time to get those done before the cut off at 7 AM.

After following Tanna through the vet line, I sat down back at our vet area. I pulled off my shoe and brace as normal and propped my leg up. I became aware that I didn't feel well at all. I was suddenly very nauseas, light-headed and my stomach and abdomen (both) began cramping. I felt horrible. I was also freezing. I had no idea what to do to make it better. Die, maybe?

As soon as Tamra became aware of what was going on, she heaped blankets over my head and passed me saltines and ginger ale. Our out time was 11:36, but I would not make that, if I made it at all. Tamra assured me that was ok. We could go out 30 minutes late and still have plenty of time to finish.

Finish? Ride a horse? I could hardly walk (and not just from the leg pain) and just wanted to sleep. I alternately dozed and continued to force saltines and ginger ale down my throat. Finally, I realized I had to try it. I couldn't Rider Option out of this yet. I had to go out and try to do one more loop. If I couldn't ride, I could come back and go to sleep. But I had to try. Had to. So I gave the word and the horses were resaddled. Joe had waited through with me rather than go out with Ron on time. Tanna had taken full advantage of the extra time to eat. Daniel, Tamra and at least one more person helped me get on Tanna who patiently waited for me to get on. We left out just after midnight.

Joe opted to walk Kit until we reached the short stretch of pavement. I couldn't believe the pain that shot through my body as it protested being bounced around on the saddle. I struggled to sit upright and properly and not impede Tanna. I knew that after my muscles warmed up, they would be more pliable and wouldn't hurt as much. Joe mounted and we walked to the trail. We walked a little further and I asked Tanna to pick up a slow trot. I gritted my teeth as the pain intensified, but after a mile or two, my muscles did warm up and the pain returned to a "normal" level with just my leg hurting the most. Amazingly enough, the nausea and light-headedness disappeared while on horseback. I felt pretty good, although very sleepy. We walked and trotted and caught up with Ron. When he pulled off trail to take care of something, Joe and I just kept moving. I didn't want to prolong this ride any longer than necessary and Tanna was doing well. Joe kept backing off and I didn't quite understand what was going on. I sang some on this loop. Quietly to my horse. Sorry, Joe. ;-) Maybe that's what kept him backing off!

We moved out when we could, but kept a relaxed pace. I kept looking for grass for the horses to eat. When I did find some, Kit would often only take a bite or refuse altogether. That was worrisome, but we kept moving on. We passed Nancy waiting at the finish line. Once more around and we would be done!!

We came into the vet check around 1:45 AM. There was only a 30 minute hold for this check and the saddles did not have to be off for the vets to look at the horses. I dismounted at the in-timers and stumbled off toward a porta potty while Daniel took Tanna directly to the pulse in and vets. Amy Whelan graciously ignored my protests and made sure I made it to the porta potty without falling down, then to my vet check area. I collapsed in my chair, sick again. Amazing how I wasn't sick on the horse, but completely helpless on the ground. Tamra again heaped blankets over me and gave me ginger ale and saltines.

We left out of the vet check only about 5 minutes late this time. The last loop is a bit of a blur. I had the adjustment period of letting my muscles warm up again and again the nausea abated while on horseback. Thank God for that. Otherwise, I don't think I could have made it. Finally, not too long before the finish, it occurred to me that Joe kept dropping back to use his headlamp so Kit could see better. Duh!!! I assured him the light did not bother me and to just leave it on when he was near me. Took me a good long time to catch on to that one.

I was SO happy to see the finish line!!! Nancy was there! What a lovely sight! Daniel and Tamra were also there with hay for the horses and to take our vet cards. I asked Tanna to canter the last few steps across the finish line as is our custom. We walked back into camp, although Eric Reuter was out there with Nancy and graciously offered to drive me back to camp. I declined and chose to ride my trusty steed back into camp.

Back at camp for one last trot out. I determinedly followed Tanna to the vet and was pleased to see Dr. Ken Marcella. He has been there for many of our accomplishments and it was fitting that he be the one to do Tanna's final check of the ride. Even before he did the official check, Dr. Ken commented that Joe and I both had 100 mile horses! Sure enough, a final check and a final trot out resulted in good grades and a completion!! We had done it!!!

Forty-five minutes after crossing the finish line, Tanna was safely in his corral with his winter coat on, munching on hay and his breakfast and sleeping. I tried to get my blackberry to send out a blog post, but gave up when the service would not come in. I snuggled under many blankets in my sweats and went to sleep.

The Aftermath

My sleep was not restful. Apparently, I moaned and groaned and sighed and generally was not a good sleeping mate. I drove my poor sleep-deprived husband out of bed at the crack of dawn. I tossed and turned and hurt and was nauseas and light-headed and the cramping was relentless.

At 9:30 AM, Daniel came and got me up. He said to come have a massage before the awards banquet. The massage was very lovely and helped my back and shoulder muscles tremendously. At the awards banquet, I picked at my food and ate very little. Nothing tasted good or sounded good, although I'm sure the food was wonderful.

I was very happy to receive my completion award. A nice fleece zippered jacket with the AERC NC logo on it.

After the awards, I returned to crash in bed. My rest continued to be fitful. Daniel managed to sleep some during the day. I got up and walked Tanna around some and went back to bed.

Finally around dark, Daniel insisted I see some medical professionals that happened to be on site. They recommended IV treatment and I gave in. I was embarrassed and not the best patient, but still grateful for the help. I received a liter of fluids and reportedly my color improved as did my attitude, although I still felt sore and crampy and not very good. After receiving the fluids, we returned to our camper. Earlier in the day, Daniel had gone out and gotten Subway sandwiches and I managed to eat half a 6-inch of mine. I also managed to drink some Propel water.

I went back to sleep and this time I slept quite well. I woke up around 3 AM and felt not too bad although still sore and a little crampy. So I walked Tanna around to let him stretch his legs and grab some grass. Then I ate the rest of my 6-inch sub, drank some more and went back to bed.

The next morning, I felt pretty good. So we packed up to head home. Daniel wanted to hang out some more, so I headed out driving the big truck with the horse trailer, leaving the smaller Tacoma for Daniel to drive home when he got ready.

When I got home, Serts (horse) and Serena (dog) were ecstatic to see us. I had to curb Serena's excitement as she was whining loudly. After she calmed down, I gave her a lot of affection. She was so happy to see us. I let Tanna out and watched him run around. Serena joyfully ran with him and stood watch while he rolled. Serts, on the other hand, decided it was better to hang out with me!! That was a switch and I gave him lots of pats and some handfuls of yummy hay before finally driving up to the house and then Serts went to join Tanna in some enthusiastic races and bucking fits.

Rider treatment is not discussed a lot. I did not want to be treated, but did it for my husband. I did not feel 100% better right away, but I was able to eat and drink on my own after the treatment and began to recover on my own. On Friday I was so sore I could hardly walk. By Sunday, I was moving much more freely. It seems dehydration has a lot to do with soreness, for me, at least. The cramping did get further apart, but did not go completely away until Sunday.

I figure my treatment was a lot like a horse might go through. Before treatment, I knew I should eat, but did not want to. Did not feel like it. In fact, I felt like I'd return the food and water if I did get it down. I just wanted to sleep. The cramps were painful. I looked like death warmed over. In fact, on Friday, whenever I did venture out, I jokingly told friends I was colicking. Not so far from the truth, really. During treatment, I began to feel a bit better, but the cramps and muscle soreness was still there. Everybody who saw me said I looked a lot better. But I didn't "feel" a lot better. I wonder if our horses also look much better after treatment, but don't feel as good as they look? All the next day, the cramps continued, even as I was eating and drinking and finally felt much better. I guess part of my point is, even after a horse is treated and begins to look and even act better, there still might be lingering effects that make the horse uncomfortable and a little extra love and consideration is definitely in order.

On analyzing what went wrong with me and why I got so sick, three things settled out that seem most likely for the problems. First (and maybe foremost), I was concentrating so much on taking care of my injured ankle, I neglected to take as good care of the rest of me. Second, I set myself up for dehydration because I didn't want to stop on trail to pee. This goes back to my ankle and the fact that it's hard on me to mount and dismount without the high mounting block we have. I drank about 140 ounces throughout the day and night. While that seems like a lot, I'm used to drinking about that during the course of a 3 loop 50. And the third factor was that I stopped eating after 50 miles. I should have eaten at the 64.5 mile vet check. When soup was mentioned, I should have taken the extra time to eat the soup instead of brushing it off in favor of leaving at our out time.

Tanna definitely looked and felt better than I did. I would much rather me be sick and him be well than the other way around! All day Thursday and Friday, he had a bright, kind look in his eye, perky ears and seemed much less sore than I was. Of course, he took much better care of himself than I did! I am so proud of my horse!

Many Thanks

There are so many people that contributed to our first 100 mile completion. I will try to remember everybody, but if I forget somebody, please, please accept my apologies.

These are in no particular order, except the first one is paramount.

God blessed so much. First our accident back in July that broke my left ankle and left thumb. I thought our chances were gone right there. But God blessed and healed and I was able to be on a horse again by September, albeit at a walk. God continued to bless and things went right to allow us to make our attempt. God continued to be there through it all. I was so worried and focused on the ride that about 10 days before the ride, I had to just pray and give it to God. I was holding it back and it was mine. But all things are God's and if it wasn't God's will for me to do this ride or to not complete, then so be it. Not my will, but His. Such peace when I let that go. And God rewarded with success. Praise God.

Daniel, my husband. I could not have contemplated doing this without him. He has been supportive (enabling?) of my entire endurance career (addiction?) and he was all on board to assist me in the 100. It meant he would have to put down the camera and crew for me, but he willingly did it. We spent so much money to get the tack just right, the shoeing just right and to get us there (not to mention the hefty entry fee). He had to put up with my non-stop chatter about the ride and the plans and the repeated instructions on how to do the trot-outs. I'm sure he was relieved that we drove different vehicles to the ride. He got some peace for a few hours! LOL. But seriously, I could not have and would not have tried this without him. He is a wonderful husband and crew and I thank him very much.

Angie Fura. She is a great endurance buddy. She was very supportive and encouraging. Telling me that I could do this. Helping me plan my ride strategy and my meals and encouraging me through my recovery. She gave me the idea to keep Tanna fit by putting him in the round pen twice a week, even when I was non-weight-bearing. So I hopped on my trusty riding lawn mower and proceeded to round pen my horse. She also did so many little encouraging emails and phone calls that I can't even count. And Tanna was proudly wearing a small balance "charm" that Angie made for his bridle. Thanks, Angie!

Amy Whelan. Lots of email support and encouraging me from the moment she knew that the 100 was on Thursday and that I was interested in trying it. Also, the small matter of managing the ride and all the hosts of details. And keeping me upright during that last vet check while Tanna was being vetted!

Roger Barrett. Definitely one of my mentors and a great endurance pal. One of the most encouraging things he said to me 2 weeks before the ride. I was expressing concern about riding balanced to avoid hurting my horse over the course of 100 miles. He glanced at me and said, you don't weigh enough to hurt your horse by being off-balance! That really put to rest one of my fears. I did concentrate on my form during the ride, but no longer worried about it. (Not to mention a nice ego boost. ;-))

Eva de Paulis. Another one of my endurance pals and mentors. I can't count the emails and conversations we've had about horses in general and her unwavering faith that I could do this was very inspiring.

Debra and Ted LaComette. Thanks for the peanut m&ms. Thanks for being there and giving me support. When I got sick in the vet check, Ted miraculously appeared and the fact that Debra had to deal with similar issues on her 100s made me think, I can do it, too! So thanks for support you might not have known you gave.

All my other Middle TN endurance pals. I'm sure you all thought I was crazy. Maybe I was, but thanks for the support and all the training rides through the years. (Good grief, sounds like I'm dying or retiring or something!!!)

Tamra Schoech. Tamra was such a great help! She was a good crew mentor for Daniel and I know neither of us knew what to do when I got sick. But Tamra was right there, knowing what to do and what to say. I don't think it even entered her mind that I would quit, although it certainly did mine. I'm glad I didn't have to. She and Daniel were always right there as soon as Joe and I came off trail. Ready to help and take care of horse and rider.

Joe Schoech. Thanks so much for the phone call just after my accident. Thanks for the offer to go first in the dark and the encouragement that I'd have company if I made it to Nationals. You have no idea how much that meant to me and how motivating that was at a time when I thought I'd blown my chance to ride the 100. I always enjoy our endurance adventures together. Thank you for being there for this one. I'm so happy to have been a part of Kit's first 100, as well. Tanna and Kit get along well (when they're not scheming together!) and I know Tanna was very happy to always have Kit for company and I was happy to have your company.

Ride management, vets and the countless volunteers. None of it could happen without all of you. I know many of you from other rides and was thrilled to have so many people I know and respect at the ride pulling for me and rooting for me.

And last, but not least, my Tanna. What a good horse he is! He's my buddy and my constant companion in my endurance adventures. He never said no. Never quit on me. Always ready to go out again and eager to see what's down the trail. He unquestioningly and uncomplainingly carried me up and down hills all day and most of the night. And came out looking great. I'm in awe of his heart and athleticism and can't wait to ride again. Of course, he gets a very well-deserved rest for the next month. But I'm grateful to him for being my pal.

One final note: To the ones who bet against me and my horse, I'm happy you lost! :-P


Ashley said...

Congratulations April!! Riding your first 100 is of course something you will remember forever! Your overcame great adversity not only with your accident but with getting sick and everything else. You did an awesome job and I know you and Tanna will continue to do great things :)

I've only completed 1 100 but hope to do it again some time soon, maybe I'll see you out on trail :)

Tamara Baysinger said...

Nice job, and what a great story. Thanks for sharing!

Jonna said...

Congrats-someday I hope to experience that