Tuesday, 12 August 2014
This past week I flew to CA for the Tevis. I landed in San Francisco on Thurs morning. Hillorie was all smiles when she came and picked me up. We drove back to her place and finished the last minute packing. The plan was to go drop off her young horse to trainer, Mark Schuerman (the trainer of this years Tevis mount Hadeia), and while we were there we would make sure all of my tack was in order, then we would go drop the trailer at Foresthill.
We loaded up Hillorie's big, young chestnut and hit the road. There was a bit of traffic. The weather was super, but then again pretty much anywhere North of Hell would be an improvement to Florida's weather this time of year.
(On a side note, the Easyboot team booted up my mount on Wed for me in the Easyboot Glue ons. I love that group. Easycare has done a lot for the Tevis as well as for my horses personally.)
We got up to Mark's around 2 or so. He was there as well as my good firend Nicole Chappel. We all got organized and of course I had to check out how Hadeia looked. He looked perfect! His body weight was nice and his coat was shiney. I was now getting a bit more excited about the race that would be in less than 2 days.
After going over a few details, Hillorie and I left. We went for a late lunch at the Flower Garden Inn. We had a chicken salad to die for, it had all kinds of goodness in it, including different types of berries.
When we were done we headed up to Foresthill, hitting up the grocery store on the way. We parked in our regular area at Foresthill. By now it was probably around 5 pm. We were burnt out with driving so we decided to stay in Auburn that night, rather than driving back the hour plus to Hillorie's house to then turn around first thing and come right back up. We had a lot of fun catching up and hanging out.
On Friday morning Hillorie ran a few errands and then we met back up and went to Echo Valley Ranch to grab a few items. We had fun goofing around in there.
The drive up to Robie was great, the mountains are so beautiful. We stopped in Truckee for a bit, while getting something cold to drink we sat in a really cool cafe/restaurant and watched the locals go by.
We pulled into Robie around 2. Mark thought he would arrive around then. I checked in and looked at what the vendors had to offer, all the while running into friends. Great to see everyone.
When Mark pulled in we helped him get all set up. Hadeia was excited, he knew where he was. He has done the Tevis the past 2 years with Mark, placing 11th and 7th.
Hadeia (registered name, French Open) is a 14 yr old, 14.3 gelding. He was gelded as a late 8 yr old. He ran on the flat track before his endurance career, running an amazing 89 times. His legs are very clean and tight, he's a beast.
After everything was done we went and vetted in. Trotting Hadeia out was like flying a kite. Then we went for a little pre ride. Hadeia got a little squirrelly, he was in a great mood!
Hillorie and I didn't have a rig at the start so we stayed at a funky hotel by the lake. It was one of the oddest hotel rooms I've been in in a while.
Saturday morning we had to get up at an extra special hour as we had to drive to the start and hike in. Good times.
The warm up in pen 1 was uneventful. Then it was time to file out of pen one and head to the starting line. Hadeia was walking very relaxed. He's such a goofball horse, his pre rides are the crazy rides and his race morning behavior is great. I guess I'm glad about that!
The morning went by smoothly. Hadeia only complained a few times about my choice of pace. He was funny because when he would trip over a rock that was hidden under all of the dust he would grunt and groan in frustration. He would also grind his teeth if he thought we should be going faster.
We went around Cougar Rock, I feel like it's an extra risk and I already have that picture...
The Redstar Ridge vet check was empty when we arrived but by the time I was getting my pulse (3 mins roughly) the vet check had filled with a crowd of total mayhem. I got out of there just in time.
Robinson Flat was a welcome site. My crew was super cute. I had told Hillorie that I would be wearing pink so she had the crew in pink as well. It turns out that this year the Tevis volunteers were all in pink too!! My crew was awesome. It was Hillorie, Kassandra DiMagio, her son Denver and my parents, Jean and Howie Spinner. (When I got to Robinson, I almost died laughing. My dad had on this hot pink bad 80's shirt that said "Heart breaker" on it!)
Hadeia recovered well and we went in to the vets. I was stopped on the way for a blood draw then went to vet. The vet had me trot twice and thought he might be seeing a LF issue. Great. Went and fed Hadeia and let him relax. When it was about 15 mins to our out time we found out that we had a recheck due to something that was seen in the blood draw. I thought that was funky as there had not been blood drawn on Fri to get a baseline on any of the horses. We went back to the vet and had to re-vetted, but no more blood was drawn. It was decided that I could continue.
So, now I had two things on my mind, LF and funky metabolics...super.
I took care of Hadeia at each of the following vet checks paying extra attention to the little details to make sure I wasn't overlooking anything. He was looking fine.
I rode with many people throughout the day. There were a lot of fast horses this year. It was more fun this way, as we always had company. By the time we hit Chicken Hawk Hadeia looked great, he had all A's.
Coming in to Foresthill Tom, Tennesee and I were all together. My crew was on it! They were so impressive:) After vetting the vet held my card and I had to come back for a recheck. I think as Hadeia was trotting back this time he stumbled and looked funky behind for a couple of steps. Still makes you worry a bit. I got back to the trailer and showered and changed and wolfed down a burger. I felt like a new person.
Tom, Tennesee and I arrived at Francisco's together and while we were there 4 horses arrived. The three of us got out of there ahead again, we rode together to the Quarry. It was just dark when we pulled in to that last vet check. The three vetted fine. While we were there horses arrived again and we were out of there. The three of us galloped to the Highway crossing. Then we trotted up and over to No Hands Bridge.
I had decided before hand that I would make my run at the bridge. My crew was there and handed me a jug of water which I poured on Hadeia and then kicked it into high gear. Hadeia was totally game. I had a light but it was not on. Hadeia trains on this section of trail regularly so he knew every step of the way. It was like I was with Night Rider and I said,"Kit, take me home". It was thrilling. I don't know that section anywhere near as well as Hadeia knows it. I was holding on, not sure if we were hooking left, right, up or down. I was not steering at all. Pretty awesome. Hadeia didn't miss a beat. When we got to Robie Point there were spectators who had to scatter as we flew through. They didn't see me as I was on a dark horse with no lights.
After that I had Hadeia slow up a bit, feeling confident of my lead. We trotted easily in the dark enjoying the thought of a win. We made it from the bridge to the finish in under 25 mins. Hadeia was incredible. I was so excited to pop out at the finish by ourselves.
It was an amazing day for sure. My crew and horse were awesome. I am really lucky to have great people around me supporting me.
I'm sure I might have missed some fun details here but I'm sitting in a hotel in NY 2 days after the Tevis, about to get on a plane for France so I'm a bit scattered;)
Hope you are all well, wish us luck in France.