Sunday, 29 August 2010
On Sunday the 22 of Aug I went to Yosemite and stayed overnight to hike Half Dome with my parents and sisters and some friends. We hiked on Monday and then drove home that night. Jeremy had too many horses to shoe so we sadly went without him. He has done the hike a few times already so it wasn't too horrible for him, although I am sure he would have loved to have gone.
We got back on Monday night around 11:45 pm and then I packed up my bag and got everything ready for my 10 am flight for Tuesday morning. When our tickets to fly were booked, we booked them round trip from the time trial in Illinois to CA and back. Originally I was going to go with Jeremy to Deborah Reich's house and then to home. Unfortunately her dogs got mange from the local fox and I had my ticket changed to go directly home as Merlin was traveling with us. Because of this, on our return trip Jeremy and I were on two separate flights at different times on different airlines from two different airports.
Tim drove Jeremy to San Francisco for a 7 am departure and my Mom drove me to San Jose for a 10 am departure. We meet up in Chicago and drove to Jan and Grace's house. It is about 2 and 1/2 hours from their house. We landed on the 24th and I have yet to see my baggage... it is the 29th today! Delta.
Our horses were great when we arrived with the exception of a sunburn on Smitty's nose. Poor guy, it was bright red and cracked. It looks a lot better now. Their weight was both good though and they were in good spirits.
Jeremy put shoes on their front feet and we took them out for a spin. They are in a great mood. It also cooled off a great deal since our last trip. It was dry and cool for the first few days. It is now hot and humid again, but at least it is cooler than before.
Jeremy and I now have seen the expression "make hay while the sun shines". Grace has been cutting hay and raking and baling all week. We helped unload about 6 wagons of hay (about 100 bales per wagon) and loaded them up the elevator into the barn. An elevator actually looks more like an escalator. It is a ramp/conveyor belt that has hook/pegs that grab the hay you set on it and it takes the hay up into the barn loft area were a second elevator takes it lengthwise back into the barn. You adjust where you want to hay to fall from the elevator and then you need people to take the falling hay and stack it. It is a very hot job and you get covered in hay, which them sticks to your sweaty body. We were sweaty but it could have been WAY hotter. We were lucky with the weather really. Another nice thing is that the bales are 2 string bales, unlike our 3 string bales I can actually lift one of these.
Joe and Michelle made their pond available to us to use and we have been swimming Smitty and Sam everyday. Smitty has been swimming a lot in his life, Sam has never done it until now. Sam watched Smitty in disbelief as he disappeared into the water. He even neighed to him several times. When it was Sam's turn he went in pretty easily and he was fine. If he had given us trouble we would have skipped it as we don't want to risk hurting him. Good thing he didn't know or he may have made a fuss to get out of the work!
Joe and Michelle have a lot of really nice horses too. They also raise and sell their horses. I don't know the web address but it is something like sporthorseconcepts.com? You can find them if you Google it I am sure.
On Thursday night we went to the town of New Diggins for Taco Thursday. You get two tacos for $1.50. A great deal. It is like a biker bar (actually there were two bikes parked in the road and you had to physically steer around them to not hit them) but they do not serve hard liquor. We had fun eating and hanging out. Ashley, who is a friend of Jan and Grace came with us as we had all just finished stacking hay. This place also makes an outrageous assortment of home made desserts. We had fun with that too.
Today Joe took us out on a fun ride through the community that he helps manage. It is a country club/ estate neighborhood. It has golf, tennis, boating, fishing and an equestrian center. It was pretty out on the trails. We went 14 miles in the heat.
There is a horse here named Kingley that I thought was cute. I was talking to Jan about him on our first trip out here. She had told me that his heart rates were REALLY low. Jeremy rode him and found out that they were. He had galloped up a climb on one of those extreme heat days and before he could get off the horse at the barn the heart rate monitor read 46. We were entertaining the idea of buying him. Then we thought that we had enough horses so I told a few people about him that I thought would like him.
Jerry Gellespie (SP? Sorry) was here to look at a horse for himself and I mentioned Kingley for Cheryl. He looked at the horse as I rode him alongside the one he was trying. After the ride Jerry took his potential horse's HR and it was 60. Just for fun I told him to take Kingley's. He listened and then stopped and shook his head and then took it again and then paused, thought about it and said, "God".
I was now wondering what he had heard. I asked him what it was and he said 28. Right then Jeremy was standing behind Kingley where I could see him and he was mouthing to me that we needed to buy this horse.
I called Skip and it was decided to buy Kingley Bay. No relation to Bey Shah. He is about 15.1, 9 years old, bay with a blaze and four socks. Very cute, he actually reminds me a lot of my first fast endurance horse, Tyler.
Jeremy and I went out for a ride on Kingley and Loki. I rode Kingley and Jeremy rode Loki who was Jan's other horse for the WEG this year. We were out on a dirt road riding when all of the sudden around the bend came a huge semi truck with a long flat bed came roaring around the bend. It had an over size load sign on the front of it. It was big and really loud. The truck was going about 50 MPH. There was no way for the driver to stop. We had no where to go. The shoulder was too tight for comfort but it was all that we had. Jeremy quickly put Loki into the bushes and I could see Loki getting really tight and stressed. It looked like he was going to lose it. I had enough room to fit between him and the truck so I decided to ask Kingley to keep trotting to avoid both horses from bouncing off each other and ending up under this truck. Kingley was amazing. He trotted by and didn't miss a beat. I could have touched the truck! As the back end of the truck flew by it bounced and he didn't even flinch!
All you out there ought to look into Jan and Grace's horses if you are in the market. There are a lot of choices and they are started right. This will be our second one from them and the first one (Sam) isn't too shabby:)
Last night we were having culture shock so we decided to head to town and see "people". Our first stop was Culvers. Culvers is an ice cream and burger joint that my Mom and sister Hannah had just been talking about during our Half Dome hike. We don't have them in CA, so we had to try it out. I had an Oreo ice cream sandwich while Jeremy had a mango smoothie.
We went to the movies and saw "Grown ups" with Adam Sandler. It was fun. During the preview there was an ad for Live UFC fighting later that same night at the theater (live in Boston, live stream to the theater). Jeremy is way into watching that. He was a wrestler and enjoys the watching the tactics and holds.
After the movie we went to Red Robbin and had burgers. Then went to a sporting goods store to get a one piece swimsuit as it is required for where the USA team will be swimming and I do not own one.
After killing enough time we went back to the theater for the UFC fight. It was 9 pm when it started and ended around 11:45. I watched a few fights and then flipped up the arm rests lay down and fell asleep and had Jeremy wake me up for the Randy Couture fight. After the main event we headed back to Jan and Graces. We got home around 1 am.
Tonight we go over to Michelle and Joe's for dinner. It should be really fun as we always have fun hanging out and talking with them.
So far so good. We head down for Kentucky on the 31st and arrive on the 1st. We will take Kingley down to KY with us and board him so we don't have to back track to pick him up.
I will keep you posted.
Oh, I almost forgot. Strut went to a three day ride in Oregon with Scott Sansom and did days 1 and 3. He won both! Great job.
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Yesterday it was announced who was in the top ten for the USA World Endurance team. The top ten riders are: Ellyn Rapp, Michele Roush, Jan Worthington (our host), Meg Sleeper, Melody Blittersdorf, Lindsay Graham, Ceci Stasuik, Deborah Reich (friend and client) and Heather and Jeremy!!! It was really cool to make it. Sam and Smitty are both looking great.
It was a billion degrees yesterday and we all were putting up a healthy sweat as the announcements were made. Then there were discussions of future details and time lines.
When it was all over we drove to Jan and Grace's house and we were really tired. We ran into Jan at McDonald's and she said that Grace had asked if she should make supper and Jan had told her we would be home too late and then Jan added, " besides we can have popcorn and whiskey when we get home, we need to celebrate somehow."
We did just that. A first.
Well I have to go take care of the beasts.
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
It has finally happened, the time trial is over. We will find out tomorrow who will be in the top ten. Smitty and Sam had a great day. The weather was crazy and the trail was technical.
Loop one was a 17 mile trek through hazy humidity that would fog up your sunglasses, I tried it. The bugs were crazy, it felt like it was raining on your face but it was just the bugs, currently my right eye is bloodshot from the bugs landing in it.
We had a 40 min vet check after each loop. Our next loop cooled off a bit. The humidity lifted as it was preparing to rain. The result was that loop 2 was cooler. We were able to pick it up on loop 2 which was 24 miles.
Another 40 min hold. About 5 min before I was out, it let loose. There was so much rain that it was crazy. The thunder and lightning were there as well. I reluctantly came out from under my tent and got on Sam and left for loop 4.
On loop 4 the footing had gone from ok to slippery and hazardous. We all went as best we could. After this loop we had another 40 min hold. This is when it really got HOT and sticky... like a rice cooker. I told Becky that I thought all of the horses had done really well and that we had a lot of talent out there but that it was getting dangerous. She said that we would probably slow down on the next loop. We all saddled up and mounted. Becky had not told us our speed yet and we were instructed to go over to where she was to get instructions for the loop. We all went over there and she informed us that we would be doing the loop at 3 MPH (this is where I got to thinking "This is going to be a long @#$% loop") and then she added that we should head towards our trailers. We all thought about this for a second and cheered. We didn't need to do 80 miles after all, we would only do 52. It was plenty, trust me.
I feel that Sam and Smitty had a perfect day. We will find out tomorrow who is in the top ten.
Monday, 09 August 2010
Well this is really enjoyable. We are about to go to sleep. Tomorrow is the time trial where people will make it or break it. Hopefully everyone makes good choices. It was 93 degrees out today with similar humidity. It was freakin' hot out to put it bluntly. You know it is hot out when the local horses are sweating just standing still.
We were assigned our groups for tomorrow, it will be mainly groups of 6. We are to do 80 miles at 12.5 MPH average speed. The trail is pretty technical. We will see what happens.
I am going to bed. The next time I write, I should have who the top ten horse rider combos are.
Good night, hopefully I can sleep in this heat.
Thursday, 05 August 2010
Today is Thursday. This morning Jeremy took care of Smitty and Sam's feet for the trial. They are ready. This is the first day here that doesn't feel like we are in the Amazon. The heat and humidity are much lower today.
Merlin got in trouble today for going in the hen house and barking at the chickens (but it was so fun!!). Jan made sure to let him know that it was a very bad idea. Just last week Jan and Grace gave away one of their Jack Russels (Pee Pee, as he would get so excited that he would pee) for going on a killing spree in the hen house. I am sure the birds are still traumatized. I don't think that Chihuahua's have the strength in their jaw to shake a chicken but none the less it is against the rules to stir the hens up.
Right when Jeremy finished up with our horses feet Jan asked for help with the tractor tire. Today was the first day good enough to cut hay and start baling it. When Jan went to get the equipment ready it was discovered that the front left tire had a slash in it. If it isn't one thing it's another. Jeremy and Grace got the tire off and Grace went into town to get it handled.
If you are looking for a new horse you may want to see the website that Jan and Grace have. They have WAY more horses for sale than what is on the site but you will get a small flavor for what might be here. It is a place we will look in the future for sure. We have been witnessing first hand how the horses are brought up and the training and terrain they ride through. These horses have done a lot by the time they are for sale as far as being exposed to different situations. I am pretty impressed by what her green horses and experienced horses as well, have to do. They move cows, deal with tricky footing, steep muddy terrain, cross country riding, riding in large groups, deep river crossings, snow, ice, living out in hilly terrain in extreme humidity and dealing with herd life. This is where Ssamiam came from and we see how he is turning out. Their website is: www.jgranch.webs.com The horses are reasonably priced too.
After lunch I think we are going to ride one set and then head into the town of Galena for some window shopping in the quaint downtown area and then have dinner with friends.
Wednesday, 04 August 2010
We were going to leave for Illinois for the final time trial on the road to the WEG on Tuesday after Tevis. However, the new truck that we had just bought for the new trailer wasn't ready. Dodge had to make some repairs to the truck before we could have it and they really took their sweet time with the parts order.
We had been able to enjoy the new trailer at Tevis as Skip had pulled it with his truck. It was really cool and much bigger than the old one. We waited until Wednesday night and decided that we couldn't wait any longer and that I needed to pack up the old rig and we would head out on Friday. What a bummer. Oh well. It is kind of ironic as we had told ourselves that we would save our money and take the old rig and then changed our minds to upgrade, to be more comfortable and then after spending the money, here we are in the old small rig.
We left at 10 am on Friday morning and we arrived in Scales Mound, Illinois on Sunday morning at 7:30 am. We don't mess around.
Sunday we spent with Jan and Grace. They are so awesome. We rode a few of their horses and got stuff done around their farm. Sam and Smitty both traveled well. We ran fluids to them to help them recover from the trip.
On Monday we rode and then went into town to get some horse shoes and go to the grocery store. When we got back Jeremy, Jan and I rode Smitty, Leon and Sam. They are all doing great. We also rode a set of younger horses after that. Jan is really brave about some of the horses she will ride. She rode a 4 year old mare that kept hopping around and even got to bucking a bit and she just hung on and rode it out. Pretty tuff.
Sam is happy to see Jan and Grace as he used to live here. He is really funny in the mornings when he hears Jan call the horses in for their grain. He listens and then calls to her to let her know that he is here and that she should bring him some too!
Tuesday we rode three sets of horses and Jeremy took care of some of the horses feet that live here. He did some shoeings and trims. Grace and I wormed some of the young horses. It was 92 degrees out with 94% humidity. Damn warm. I ran to get some wormer and I only ran about 200 yards. It felt fine, there was a cool breeze and it was nothing. About 5 min later it felt like my head was on fire and I was boiling over. Pretty warm. The time trials should be interesting. I do feel better, as Jan and Grace both said that it was even hot for them!
After our riding we all headed into the house for the rest of the evening. When I got inside the nice air-conditioned house I was cold because of the sweaty clothes so I showered and then made chocolate chip cookies. Yum.
That night Grace made another great dinner. Everything we had was grown on the farm, including the venison steaks we ate. Super great food. Joe and Michelle came over too. It was great to see them and hang out with everyone. Very fun.
This morning, Wednesday the 4th, we got up and had breakfast and then Jeremy and Grace went to get a better anvil while Jan and I caught the really young stock for worming. There are some great looking horses here for sale.
Today is my birthday. It is the first out of state birthday that I can remember. I have gotten a million messages and Facebook notes so far today. It is nice to get them all.
After worming and Jeremy shoeing some more horses we are going to go for a ride with the three WEG bound horses. We were waiting for the supreme afternoon heat:) Can't wait, oh so fun.
The farm here is very lively. There are a large number of horses (obviously), cows, cats and four dogs (plus Merlin). There are a large number of various birds around. Peacocks, Guinea hens, ducks, chickens, swallows you name it. I even had a duck egg go into the cookie batter. That was a first. Grace told me that it was a duck egg and that they are harder to crack and that the whites are stringy. All true. The whites will hardly let go of the shell. Also the yolk is bigger. New things are always fun to learn. Jan and Grace are action packed and there is so much going on here all of the time. They are really fun.
Well I need to go out and crack the whip in the humidity. Talk to you later.