Monday, 06 May 2013
Above: This is the valley that camp is in, you can see the trail markers on the post. This happened on Sunday and it is still this way now as I write on Monday night.
We shut down our Florida farm for the winter and pulled out early on Thursday morning. All 9 horses and both dogs in the one rig. The new trailer did well, the only problem we had during the trip was the sleeve that is on the gooseneck of the trailer collapsed down, the bolts that screw tight couldn't get tight enough. Oh well, we made it.
We pulled into the ride site around 4 pm. Lori Oleson met us in camp to help us unload and set up the 9 horses. The weather was very cold, especially compared to Florida. We got the horses all set up and then walked around a little to see who was there and set up our crew area. While Lori and I did that Jeremy met with a mobile repair team that fixed the issues that we were having with our trailer.
Just a little later Lynn and Mark Ashby pulled in and set up their travel trailer next to our trailer. It is awesome and very nice to hang out in. Merlin's brother and niece were there too, he loves playing with them.
Lynn started making us dinner and Skip arrived. Some of our group went to Mexican food and some stayed for Lynn's cooking. Super yummy. Later on that night Jeremy and I went to the Bistro in the Biltmore Estate and had dessert with friends for a small memorial get together for our dear friend Deborah Reich.
When we returned from dessert we went to sleep on Lynn and Mark's extra bed in their trailer since our new trailer doesn't have any living quarters (it does have a bed in the nose of the trailer that we put in.)
After I had just fallen asleep Jeremy woke me up to tell me he thought one of our horses was loose because Stirgess was calling. We got up and found Honor walking around and someone had already caught him. We tied him up and Jeremy wanted to go sleep in our bed because he wasn't comfortable in the other one.
Oh, I forgot to mention that something had happened to Jeremy's elbow and it was very swollen and he wasn't sure what happened, he was worried about anything and everything that could have happened, staff infection, poisonous spider bite, bone chip, etc. He was very worried...Nothing ever came of this. It is still swollen but seems to be getting smaller, slowly.
On Friday morning we got up and Lynn made us a big breakfast and Lori brought Starbucks. A great start to any day:) Michelle Roush and Tracy Hofstrand had arrived at 3 am and came out to the ride site at 10 am to pre ride. Michelle would be riding Dust in the 2* 75/120 with Lori who would be riding Erebus. While we rode Skip and Mark set up more crew logistics.
After we rode we had Lori and Michelle go check their weight to make sure they would make weight. I went and got ride packets and then Nicki and Andy arrived. Jeremy rode a second time with Nicki. Jeremy and Nicki would be riding the 3* 100/160 on Chanses and Cleo and trying for COC time, which on the Biltmore course can be impossible on some years, weather dependent.
After that we all vetted in. All 4 horses looked great. They were all ready to go. They all had on the new Easyboot glue on tread pattern that we raced in, in England. It gives GREAT traction on slick conditions, like grass and mud.
Dinner that night was at the riders meeting, and was catered by the Biltmore. Very yummy, especially the berry cobbler.
Saturday morning went very smoothly. The two 100 mile horses went off and a half an hour later the 75 mile horses went out as well. It was cold and threatening to rain, much like the day before. If the rain would hold off it was the best possible chance to get a COC at the Biltmore.
The loops flew by. Nicki Meuton was leading the 100 and Jeremy, Nicki Gilbert (our rider) and Amy Atkins, who was riding the late Deborah Reich's mare Juniper were close behind.
Dust and Erebus were doing great as well. It was their first time doing anything over 55 miles.
Around the 55 mile point Jeremy and Nicki G were arriving at the same time as Nicki M. Cleo was out recovering everyone but then waiting a couple minutes for Chanses. Cleo recovers almost instantly. She probably gave up 15 mins to waiting over the entire day.
Dust and Erebus finished in style as they cantered across the finish line. Both horses had a successful day and looked great at the end of the day. They were confused leaving the last two checks as they were both certain they had gone far enough! Rookies are so cute:)
At the last check Chanses and Cleo had a 10 min lead. Unfortunately Chanses vetted out at this point. Cleo went on without him. She had to do the last loop leaving camp and now without her friend and this was her and her rider, Nicki's first 100. A bit over half way around the loop Nicki M passed them. Cleo made a good effort but the hills had added up (she hasn't seen a hill since last Aug). Cleo was second in a time of 10:16. We were very pleased with her effort and Nicki's ride! It was a super time for the Biltmore.
We took care of the horses and broke down the crew area and as we did the sky opened and the rain began. I was happy our horses and riders were off the trail as it was getting dark and now it was pouring.
As soon as we were all done we went to Skip's room and took a shower and then all meet for dinner at TGIF's. It was fun re-capping the day. A great result for the Reynolds Team.
We slept well that night, it continued raining all night. The last rider on the 100 finished around 4:30 am and rode through the night, alone, in the rain.
The awards were complemented with breakfast. The 100 mile team that Nicki and Jeremy were on, won. The 75 mile team that Michelle, Lori and our friend's Barbara Hershberger and Sarah Schick were on came in third.
Nicki Meuton won and also had BC on her mare Not Tonight. The top three horses on the 100 were mares. Juniper was third with Amy.
After the awards we moved our rig down the road but still in the same valley as camp. We wanted to get onto higher and more solid ground due to the rain and we had rented two grass pastures for our horses and two nights of hotel for ourselves. Our original plan was to stay until Tuesday morning so that our horses could rest before hauling to CA.
Sunday afternoon I called the Biltmore stable to ask about the rumors I had been hearing about an evacuation order. The stable employee assured me that there was nothing to worry about and that it would not be an issue and not to worry. (I told her if anything changed, no matter what time it was, to call me right away.) She also said that if it did become a problem that I could exit out the back road behind the Equestrian center. I asked her if a semi truck with a semi trailer could make it down that back road and she said yes...Apparently this person was delusional at best.
On Sunday, after this call we went to the movies and saw 42. After too many previews the final preview went on too long and I realized that we were in the wrong theater and that we were watching the beginning of Scary Movie!! We jumped up and switched theaters, we missed the first 10 mins of our movie:( It was a great movie though.
That evening we went to dinner with Emilio at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. It was great. We had a good time. Slept like babies that night.
This morning, Monday morning, we woke up and had our hotel breakfast and we were thinking about checking out and hitting the road when we both got calls from the Biltmore Equestrian center saying that there was a bit of water in our horses pasture.
I guess in NC "A Bit Of Water" is different than what I would call a bit of water. When we got out to where the horses were it looked like the picture above. You could see just the tops of the pasture fences above the water. Luckily one of the ranch hands had the foresight to move our horses to a higher pasture so they were not swimming all night!!
The 9 horses were all standing on a postage stamp size island and wondering what the heck to do with themselves. We got a ride out to them in the bucket of a tractor. The water was really deep. We decided on the least dangerous plan as far as what route to take them out of this area. Our trailer was also on an island. So all looked fine, well relatively speaking, nothing was harmed.
Jeremy saddle up Smitty and ponied the horses while I ponied horses with a ranch hand named Gary, off the tractor bucket! (Gary has a brother-in-law that lives in Los Gatos, the town in CA that we are headed to! Small world!) The horses did great and got moved to a higher pasture on a hill. They were relieved and happy. Stagg and Cheryl showed up about then and saw the tail end of the water rescue mission, I think Cheryl even got a video of Jeremy ponying across the water.
As for the trailer, it is stuck out in the middle of the water on a small island. It doesn't much matter as the "backroad" in no way would accommodate our rig. So it looks as if we will be here until Wednesday. If we are still here tomorrow night we will have dinner at Stagg and Cheryl Newman's house and stay with them.
After the horses were situated we went for a run, the weather was perfect today. The trails were beautiful, a little muddy but not too bad. Then we ran a few errands and went to Pannera for lunch. We then went to the horses again and fed and blanketed everyone. Now we are at our hotel with our two dogs. We had pizza delivered and we are about to watch The Voice. We are still having fun!
We will see you on the other side... in CA. Hope we see you at the Shine and Shine Only ride on the 18th.