Tuesday, 08 April 2014
Pictured Above: Stirgess's hoof in his Easyshoes
This past weekend Jeremy and I went to the McCulley Farm 2 day ride in Northern Florida. We took 4 horses. 3 of the horses sported the new EasyShoe Glue Ons. The new Easyshoes are super cool, our horses really seem to like them and go really well in them. It is also really nice that they are open on the bottom for the hoof to breathe and it's really easy to clean their sole out.
The plan was to ride Stirgess and Shai on day 1 and Act and Nixon on day 2. I would be riding Stirgess and Act, Jeremy on the two others.
Act (Opening Act) is our newest horse. In 2008, when we worked in VA at Crerun, Jeremy actually started Act for the track. When Act was done with his racing career we advised our friend to buy him for endurance. He was with our friend for a couple of seasons and our friend recently got out of horses and told us he was available, so we bought him from her. Act and Nixon are half brothers as they are both sired by Dreams of Valor (A Samtiki son). They don't look alike though:)
We drove to the race on Thurs. It was an easy drive, only 2 hours. When we got to the ride it was late as we had gotten a lot done at home before leaving for the ride. We pulled the rig in and just parked it and went to the ride meeting, leaving the horses on the trailer until after so we could find out where we should park for the electric site we had reserved. The ride meeting also had a dinner with it. The McCulley basecamp is really awesome. The camp is all level, and it is very large. There are many barns with corrals in them that you can put your horses in if you like. There are also showers in camp and ample electric hook ups for rigs as well as primitive camping out in nice pastures.
After the meeting we found a place to set up and unload. It was in a nice spot right next to a water spigot and the showers. The horses all looked great. We went to bed after we set up, it was dark so we would vet in, in the morning.
That night Stirgess and the guys were really loud banging buckets and rubbing on the trailer. I could kill them. Jeremy slept through all of this. At 3 am Stirgess became very demanding and was pawing incessantly. I started to worry that there might be something wrong. Nope, he just wanted more hay. After that, around 4 he started pawing again. I think he thought that I might get up and tend to him again, grain perhaps?? Jerk. At 5 I got up to grain the 2 racing and feed everyone.
We saddled up at 7 and went to vet in. (On Wed before we left Wendy fit my Reactor Panel saddle to Stirgess: http://www.reactorpanel.com>www.reactorpanel.com ) Start time was 7:30. Stirgess was sooo happy to be at another ride. Jeremy rode him at the FITS 1* in early March. Now Stirgess was fit and he wanted to get it done. This would be the first time Stirgess was allowed to go more quickly since he bowed his tendon in Dec 2012.
Stirgess and Shai had a great time. Most of the day we were in about 5th place. The trails are super fun at McCulley. The course goes from wide open sandy roads and then into single track twisting trails through the trees and back out again and then back into the woods, all day, in and out. Very fun. It is also a pretty ride, there is a nice river that you ride along periodically throughout the day.
At the last vet check we left in 2nd and 3rd. 1st was 1 min. ahead and 4th was 1 min behind us. Stirgess and Shai went along as they had all day. Jeremy and I decided we would continue riding the way we had all day, which was gradually picking up the pace a bit each loop. We didn't want to get carried away with sprinting on Stirgess, although he would have happily done it.
In the end Shai and Stirgess tied for 1st with a ride time of 4:23, with Shai winning Best Condition and High Vet score. Great day:)
That evening we went to the barn where the meeting and dinner were served and Jeremy and I played some pool while we waited. After the dinner and meeting we headed back to our trailer and watched the movie, Vertical Limit, or half of it anyways. Then we went to bed. The horses were better that night, that and I was more tired.
I got up and fed again in the wee hours of the morning. We saddled up at 7 and started at 7:30. It was my first race on Act. We have owned him for about 2 months. He wasn't in training when we bought him, but had been up until Oct. Nixon was doing a comeback ride. He hadn't been raced since he got loose at the FITS ride in 2013. So we started out a few minutes late. We were talking with Valerie Kanavy, who was also taking it easier, when it was announced that the trail was open. Val wasn't mounted yet and we weren't near the starting line. We walked out of camp. The two horses took it easy for the first loop, trotting the majority of it. Then, like day 1 we had a :50 min hold. The horses ate well and relaxed. We gave them our electrolyte mix with Redmond Salt in it. The next loop we went a little faster and cantered some. Then another :50 hold. Finally we were on the last loop and they cantered easily around. The two looked fantastic. We ended up tied for 4th in a ride time of 5:17. Act and Nixon were rockstars. At BC they both looked great. Act won Best Condition and High Vet, Nixon was runner up for Best Condition. Super day!
We hung out with friends Ellyn and Jeremy Olson at our trailer and then they headed home. A couple of hours after we finished it started to rain. We took our time packing up. We headed out around 7pm.
I would highly recommend this ride to anyone wanting to have a great weekend. Super fun and well organized.