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WEG 2014

 Heathers Blog 
Wednesday, August 29 2012
On Thursday evening we had the opening ceremonies.  They were awesome as expected.  All of the athletes were invited into a big party.  There were appetizers and drinks and socializing and then we were all put behind the scenes and organized by countries. 

The ceremonies were after dark.  It was a small disappointment that not all of the people could be in the seats to watch as there was not enough room.  Most of our crew were outside on the grass watching large screens instead of live performances. 

All the countries were announced as we marched in with our flag.  Then we all sat down and watched the show.  It was a variety of dancers, light shows, mounted performances and fireworks, lots of fireworks!  Very fun. We had an after party at the barn.  It was pretty fun, then headed off to bed. 

When we got back to the house my whole family had arrived!  My Mom, Dad, Hannah, Jonathan and Dustin.   Super awesome.

Friday, Jeremy and I went to the barn very early to get a ride in before the day got busy.  At 10:30 our truck arrived to haul the horses over to the venue.  It was decided that we would take 6 horses over, due to how the rules were written this time as far as alternates were concerned.  Nicki, John, Val, Jeremy, Meg and I loaded up our ponies and made the 15 min drive to the venue.  Uneventful.

We hand grazed the horses for a long while and then put them in and took care of things.  4:22 was our countries vet in time and we marched over in uniform and vetted.  All but Nicki's horse, Not Tonight, vetted in.  It was very disappointing for everyone.

After that we weighed in and things were officially started.  Later that day Emmett told us that John, Val, Jeremy and I would make up the team.

When all was done at the barn we headed home and my sister and mom cooked pizza and we ate and went to sleep.

Sat we woke up and left the house at 5 am.  Wendy had fed for us early that morning and we didn't start until 7 am.  The horses were eating and relaxed when we got to the barn.  The whole crew team met at the old barn, not at the race, at 6 am to set out to their points before the traffic started.

Marvel and Kutt were saddled at 6:15 and we started warming up.  Both seemed relaxed.  We headed over towards the start after a while and joined the masses in warm ups. 

At 7 am the announcer announced the start and we were off!!  The start was a long shoot with hundreds of cheering fans lining both sides.  The horses shot down the stretch through the cheers.  Marvel lost Kutt immediately as Kutt was going to be riding faster.  Marvel was terrified.  He had never had so many fast horses near him in a crowd combined with all the cheering.  Whenever a horse near him did anything abruptly he would leap and bolt forward.  After about a half a mile he settled into the idea of just galloping along.

The first loop had a number of riderless horses.  I saw two fall down myself.  There was a lot of grass and horses were slipping or tripping I guess.  My new model Easyboot Glue ons were SUPER secure in the grass!  I was very happy with this.  In the entire 100/160 Marvel slipped 1 time.  Very cool.

We passed through a couple of crew points and it was great seeing so many American faces handing bottles to me.

When we arrived at the first vet check I was surprised to see Kutt there.  He was totally freaked out, he was shaking and calling out to all the horses.  He is so quiet all the time that this was super weird.  His normal 1.5 min recovery had taken over 15 mins and he wasn't coming down until he saw Marvel.  I stayed by Kutt until he came down.  We can only figure that it may have been the PA system.  Kutt hasn't been around one since he was on the track.  He was also super wired each time leaving the checks and wanted to bolt out each and every time.  Normally he is so rational but again the PA was there announcing.

Loops two and three Jeremy and I rode together.  After loop three I had a recheck for a hind end.  From this point on I rode carefully and each loop he was looked at twice from then on.

The team was doing well.  Val was having some physical pain from her first loop where her horse decided to spook and leave her but she was tough as nails and stuck it out for the team. 

At the last vet check Heraldic vetted out for lameness.  That left only the 3 of us to make it happen for a team placing.  I was skeptical as Marvel had a questionable hind end. 

On the last loop after I left the last crew point the sky opened up and it really poured.  The rain was torrential and the thunder and lightening were simultaneous.  It was getting hairy for sure, the wind had picked up and the branches were falling around me.  The trail turned into a river and things got sloppy.

About a mile and a half from the finish line a quad came around to inform me that the race had been cancelled and that I could stop.  I looked at the guy and asked where I would go if I "stopped?".  Then I told him that I am almost done and that I would keep going.  I didn't slow down for this conversation.  The two Malaysian riders I was with pulled up and and stood there.  I called back to them to keep coming and then stopped worrying about them and continued.

At the finish our USA team was there to greet me.  It was cool.  I did get to finish, they let everyone stop after whatever loop they were on and since I was on my last one I vetted and finished.

In the end Meg was 11th, Val was 20 with Jeremy who was 21 and I think I was 36 or so.  Our team placed 4th.

It is kind of funny that the last two World Championships the alternate rider who was added the day before the race performed best in both cases...

On Saturday night we had a pizza party at the old barn with the whole USA group, it was a lot of fun.

Sunday we went to the awards.  Sunday was a packing day and then there were buyers wanting to see some of the horses.  It ended up being a busy day. 

In the end Marvel belongs to a Sheik and will be in Dubai and Kutt, Pete and Reggie were sold to Sheik Mohammed and Juma will be training them.  It was hard as always saying good bye to our close equine friends but I know both trainers will handle them well and take really top notch care of them.

Posted by: Heather AT 07:25 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, August 23 2012
During picture day: A Kutt Above with Jeremy and Riverwatch and I.

Time has been flying by and I have been away from the WiFi zone. 

On Tuesday we did our morning ritual of trot outs and then it was picture time!! The whole team got a lot of pics as a group, with horses, without horses with crew, etc.  It was painless.

I forgot to mention that we picked up Maddy on Monday from the Thetford train station.  When we picked her up the car was full so she and her suitcase sat in the trunk.  Nothing like a warm welcome!!

After pictures we decided to go sight seeing in Thetford and have tea.  It was fun, Thetford is a small quaint town.  We found a good place called the Bell Inn.  Ironically none of us had tea!!  We had coffees and food but no tea.  Oh well.

I clipped our horses and Marvel has a heart on his butt and Kutt has his lightening bolts.  I needed a shower after all that hair so  after that we headed home.

Since we have been here our horses have discovered that they LOVE oranges, skin and all.  We have been treating them with a few a day.

There is also a great fundraising effort going on here.  It all started with a bathtub pic of John Crandall due to not enough hot water at his hotel...  Now there has been a full photo shoot of "The Men Of London" and there are at least 12 pics with totally revealing shots for a WEC calendar!!  All the models are part of the USA team.  It has been too funny.

Tuesday evening Skip, Karl, Jeremy and I went into Thetford for dinner.  Maddy and Holly stayed in and made pizza.  The Bell Inn was good for lunch, but then we had dinner there too.  We met Tony Bennedetti there and had a fun meal. 

Wednesday, morning trot outs and then we went for a brief ride.  The horses felt too good and my sister got some crazy pics of us galloping around the countryside.  After the ride we practiced bottle hand offs, I almost didn't survive and then trotted out for the vets again then the horses had the rest of the day to veg out.

We headed over to the venue to check out the vet gate.  This year the horses will wear a small device so that your arrival time and recovery time will be paperless.  As long as the system doesn't go down it will be super efficient.  We were looking at the distances from the in gate to the P&R time area.  Our USA crew bay is closest to the P&R area so there was discussion as to what the best approach would be as far as how to come in.  Good times.

Tim arrived at the train station today, only 7 more of our crew left to  arrive.

Wednesday night we went to dinner with our friends, Hillorie and Abdullah.  Once again, the Bell Inn!  We need to branch out, kind of stuck in a rutt.

Thursday we have been non stop busy, sorry this blog is a bit concise.  Morning trot outs, Crew packing, Rider meetings one on one with Dwight and Emmett to find out what our speeds will be for race day.  Then back to the venue for lunch and seeing what the vendors had to offer. 

We dropped Tim and Jeremy off at the house on the way back and Holly and I had tea and then drove to the barn to get WiFi to write this:) 

Tonight is opening ceremonies.  We have a USA after party at the barn planned so it should be a fun night. 

Team USA is Golden.


Posted by: Heather AT 10:13 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Sunday, August 19 2012
Sunday has been a nice quiet day.  We got to the barn around 8 am.  Trot outs as usual, all the ponies looked good.  After that Marvel went on the walker for an hour and then Nicki and I headed out towards the gallop track that we have nearby.  Nellie and Marvel moved along nicely.  When we got to the track, after riding by the castle and beautiful pond with tons of ducks, we galloped once around together and then I stopped as that was all I needed to do and Nicki and Nellie went for a longer ride. 

I rode back to the barn alone while Nicki finished her laps.  Marvel felt spectacular.  He had on his new Easyboot Glue Ons with the awesome new pattern for break over.  He loves them!!!

After our ride we bathed Marvel and turned him out.  Right after that we went and viewed crew points with Skip.  The parking was pretty limited with the idea of just how many crew cars there will be on race day.  Luckily I won't be parking cars:)

We then went into Thetford and had lunch with our friend Hillorie Bachmann.  It was alright but not he best so far as far as food is concerned.  Still very fun though.

When we finished up with that we went back to the barn and put Kutt's race boots on.  He is also wearing the break over Glue ons.  When we finished that up we turned both horses out.

That night we had dinner at the house.  Karl, Jeremy, Holly,  Skip and I.  It was really relaxing.

Monday morning Trot outs went well.  All the horses are getting really dialed in for race day, they look like they are ready to fly!  After the trot we put our guys on the walker and had our morning meeting.  Immediately after this we saddled up and headed over to the track.  Jeremy and I went on a light ride.  It was fun.

When we were done with our barn chores we headed off to New Market.  We wanted to look around and get a girth for Marvel.  Newmarket is a neat place, it is like our Kentucky as far as Throroughbred's go.  Race horses everywhere. 

After we returned from Newmarket we had individual rider meetings with Dwight and Emmett.  Then headed back to our house to rest.  Our day ended with the best meal yet at the Craquer Restaurant.  Then off to bed.  The days are starting to fly by...

Posted by: heather AT 12:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, August 18 2012
The castle above is the one we ride by on the race and you can see it from one of the crew points.

Today we got to the barn for our morning cold trot outs and all the horses were examined. More people have arrived so the group is growing. 

After trot outs we barefooted Marvel and then put he and Kutt on the walker.  There was a group meeting and then we did chores like cleaning stalls etc.  We are also all taking shifts now watching the barn, we had the 10-12 slot.  I stayed and watched the barn while Jeremy went for a run.  Holly went with a group of crew to see the crew points. 

When Jeremy returned we glued on Marvel's race boots.  They are the new awesome Easyboot Glue On pattern with the great break over.  He seemed happy with his cool new kicks on. 

We went to the cottage to have lunch and then hung out for a bit.  We needed to be back to the barn by 4pm for our afternoon trot outs.  As Holly and I hung out on the couch I fell asleep.  We woke up and headed back to the barn around 3:15.  All seven horses were trotted at 4. 

The whole group of people, crew, riders and staff, for the USA contingent are really supportive, helpful and amazing this year!  I have never seen a more cohesive group involved in one of these International events.  I credit this largely to Emmett's leadership skills and the effort he has put into this to make everyone comfortable not only physically but mentally as well. 

After the trot outs we spent some time at the barn.  Holly went for a run.  Skip and Karl also arrived today so things should get more lively;)

We are wrapping up at the barn and we will be headed to the cottage and then to the White Horse Inn for dinner.  So far Team USA is looking "Golden"!

Posted by: Heather AT 11:51 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, August 17 2012
Above is a castle on loop one of the trail and we have also been riding past it in training.

Becky, Judith and I flew out of LAX on Tuesday, the 14th.  It was very uneventful.  Earlier in the day I got the best news, our horses had arrived at the barn in England a day sooner than scheduled.  Jeremy and the horses flew to Luxemburg and instead of staying all day Tuesday and spending the night to drive on Wed, they just landed and drove.

We arrived on the 15th around noon at the Heathrow airport.  My sister, Holly, landed before us so she was there waiting for us.  After getting our luggage we headed for the rental car office.  Judith saved me big time when she overheard that I was about to pay for the rental insurance.  She asked me if my credit card company covers that for me.  I had not ever checked into this or known about this feature, it turns out that I did have coverage thru my AMEX!  That saved me 35 pounds a day, the current exchange is 1.558 USD to 1 pound.  That would have been pricey!

After our keys were given to us we took our lives in our sleep deprived hands and got into our cars where the driver sits on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road and pulled out of the airport onto real roads...  Holly drove:)  Becky also drove, the other car.  We all decided before hand that we would caravan and that if we saw a Starbucks we would all stop.  We had no way to call each other so we planned ahead.

After a minute we were separated.  Holly and I had directions to our cottage, but not to the barn. Oh well, we would get the cottage and then have a way to get to the barn later.  We drove a ways and then saw that we had missed our turn so we drove to the next exit (a long ways) and went around a round about only to realize we had exited it too soon and so we were now headed the same way as we had just been going! We kept driving to the next exit and got looped around a few times and then figured out where we needed to go to back track to our road we had missed.  In the meantime we saw a Starbucks so we decided to pull off.  As we ordered our drinks who should we see?  Becky and Judith!!  Too crazy, lucky!  We had been going the wrong way to get to the cottage but the right way to get to the barn.  After our lunch break we had no problem following Becky and Judith.

We arrived at the barn around 5:30 pm.  It was good to see familiar faces after a 2.5 hour road trip.  The horses looked happy.  Scott Hie was working on our two guys getting them tuned up.  Scott is a super talented chiropractor and beyond!  The horses love him.  He also fixed Jeremy's knee that had been bothering him since his Tevis crash, now Jeremy can go running without worrying about his knee any more.

The barn is really great and there are huge grass turnouts and a walker for our use as well.  We also have direct access to the course that we will race on, we are on the pink loop which is loop 1.

After tending to the horses we all headed to the White Horse, a local pub.  There were about 12 of us and we all had a fun dinner together.  I had fish and chips so it would be official that we were really in the UK.  As soon as we were done we found our way to our cottage.  It is sooo super cute.  The cottage is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath with a big kitchen and a living room. I slept in and out through the night.

At 8:15 am on Thursday we were at the barn trotting out all of the horses for Emmett.  The horses here all look amazing.  Such a great group. After trot outs we had a team meeting then Jeremy, Holly and I took care of cleaning our stalls, feeding the horses and putting them on the walker.  

In the early afternoon Jeremy and I rode for about 6 miles.  We were trying to find our way to a pig farm to show the horses because there are a lot of sections of the race where you pass them.  We failed.  Darn.

After the ride we washed the horses and put them in the turn out.  They looked happy. That night we all went to a pub called Angels.  As we sat down to eat Wendy noticed something going on across the street, it looked like a sale of some kind. 

For dinner I ordered an omelette.   The waitress asked if I wanted potatoes and vegetables with it.  I asked her if I could have toast, she looked at me blankly so I said, bread?  She asked me if I was serious, if I really wanted bread and potatoes.  I told her yes.  After ordering our food Wendy asked me to come with her to check out the sale.  It turned out to be a motorcycle party that was getting set up for the next day.

We looked at the stuff that was for sale and then Wendy went around and rounded up some bikers to take a picture with and then got them to bring out more bikes!!  Too funny.  We got our pictures though!  Wish I had one to show you.

After that we went back and had our dinner, there were 16 of us now.  Very lively group, the group is growing by the day.  When the waitress served me she said "here are your bread and potatoes"  then she paused and said "weird". 

We got out of dinner around 9:45.  We were so ready for bed.

Today we got to the barn just before 8.  The trot outs began and by 8:15 everyone had been trotted. Dwight was there to inspect with Emmett, he had arrived the night before.  After the trot outs there was a local vet that came to pull blood so that a full panel could be run on everyone to see how the horses were doing.  Later in the afternoon we found out our two guys were fine on the results.

Jeremy, Holly and I went over to the venue to see the start and go for a run.  It is looking great over at the venue.  We ran about 30 mins and then headed back to the barn. It was around 10:30 when we saddled up to head over to a nice gallop track that we have access to.  Marvel and Kutt had a great ride and worked effortlessly.  It was really fun.  They did see sheep today and neither of them cared.  I hope they feel the same about the pigs.

As we rode to and from the track we admired the pheasants and ducks that are abundant on the property and we also checked out the castle, very awesome.  There is also some breed of miniature deer that is around, looks almost like a goat/deer/dog.  Kind of cute.

After our ride we bathed our guys and did our "warm" trot outs.  We are doing two a day, a cold one, fresh from the night in the stall and a warm one in the afternoon, after some work.  They looked great.  Back to the turn out.

Jeremy, Holly and I headed to the cottage for lunch and then went exploring.  We drove into Thetford to get some crew buckets, called "Water Butts", and looked in every pet store we saw, I really wanted to see a hedgehog, no luck so far... I did see a cute squirrel, rat looking thing.  Then by the time we reached Thetford to walk around it was just past 5 pm and everything had just closed, the town closes up at 5 on the dot.  We decided we would come back on Saturday as we were not going to ride. 

We drove back to the barn and brought the horses in from the turn out.  The company, Theraplate, who makes our vibrating plate for our horses had delivered a Theraplate for the team to use.  We put both Marvel and Kutt on for 20 mins a piece.  While they were on Jeremy and I adjusted our new LAS custom USA helmets.  They look sooo cool, sort of like Speed Racer.

We wrapped up at the barn and now we are sitting in our rental car all using our gadgets to use the WiFi outside of the barn office.  Tomorrow Skip and Karl get here.  We have a relaxing night at home tonight.  I think I will sleep all the way through the nite tonight.

Posted by: Heather AT 01:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, August 13 2012
Picture above is of the actual container the 3 horses are loaded into before being put on the plane.  That is disinfectant in the pic as well.

After Tevis, on Sunday morning just after the Haggin Cup judging, Jeremy and I  loaded up Cleo and Stirgess and headed back to Lake Tahoe.  We drove 2+ hours East, unloaded and cared for Stirgess and Cleo and then loaded up Kutt, Marvel and Kingley and headed West.

6 hours of heading West later, around 8 pm we arrived in San Jose at our pasture.  Kingley got to go out but Kutt and Marvel were offered a drink and saddled up.  We couldn't afford to not ride them as we had an 18 mile beach ride scheduled for 7:30 am Monday morning (low tide) and we did not want a tie up.  As we cantered along in the dark, I smiled and laughed as I told Jeremy that I bet no one else who rode Tevis the day before was galloping in the dark on Sunday night!

The beach ride went really well on Monday and Wed.  Becky and Pete joined us too.  Friday we rode once more and then all throughout the week our amazing body worker, Dixie Snyder worked on us and the horses multiple times.  Very awesome.

The horses were scheduled to fly on Tuesday.  On Friday we were told that it would be a few days delayed!  After a lot of back and forth, the horses needed to be at the airport earlier than the original plan.  They needed to be at Jetpets at LAX at 3 pm on Sunday.  We carpooled and had all three horses in Becky and Judith's rig by 8 am and we were headed South.

The drive went by quickly, we made one stop for lunch/fuel.  As we drove down the Grapevine into Los Angeles the temp outside hit 108 F.  Damn!  We had one mishap with the GPS taking us to some vacant lot instead of Jetpets but we were really close to where we needed to be.

The horses settled in just fine at Jetpets after being inspected by the USDA vet and then weighed for the flight weight calculations.  Then we drove all of the gear to another location to get it all loaded into a crate.

When all of that was wrapped up we found our way to Andre and Nicole
Ruggeri's house.  It is in Rancho Palos Verdes.  The horses are at their house and the views of the ocean are breath taking.  We had a very relaxing dinner with them at their house and enjoyed the perfect weather during our outdoor meal over looking the ocean.

Jeremy was to fly with the horses on an all freight flight.  The flight would take off at 5 am so we needed to leave the house by 2 am.  When the alarm went off we all got ready after 1:45 mins of sleep.  We got into the truck and we were surprisingly awake.  As Jeremy started the truck he noticed he had a voice mail.  The flight had been postponed and it would be leaving at 7:20 am.  We piled out of the truck and went back to sleep.  The second alarm went off and it was MUCH harder to wake up the second time.

Jeremy and the horses loaded up without any problems.  After we said our good byes we headed back to the Ruggeri's to sleep.  It was about 6 am when we got back.  I set my alarm for 9 and passed out.  About 20 mins later Jeremy started sending cool pics of the horses on the tarmac getting loaded into the plane.  Very cool, I easily feel back asleep.

When we awoke for the 3rd time of the day, at 9 am we had some cereal and hung out for a bit and then Nicole made an appointment for Becky and I to get Manicures and Pedicures.  It is really hard to prepare for a World Championship:)  I got Red, White and Blue toes and pink sparkles on my fingers.  Very fun.

After that Nicole took us to the beach with a cooler full of lunch packed and we hung out for a couple of hours relaxing on the sand.  Nicole went boogie boarding and we walked in the water.

The beach was followed by a shower and an enjoyable dinner out with Andre and Nicole, Becky and Judith.  The weather was perfect.

Jeremy should be in Luxemburg right now.  He will be there all day Tuesday, then spend the night and hit the road Wed including crossing the channel on a ferry and then he will be at the barn with the three guys, I hope it is going smoothly. 

Becky, Judith and I fly out of LAX at 5:50 pm Tuesday night.  Holly, my sister, flys out tomorrow from Austin Texas.  She will arrive about an hour earlier than us in Heathrow.  It will be up to her and I to navigate on the wrong side of the car, wrong side of the road to find our cottage.  It is about a 2+ hour drive, plenty of room for error!  Wish us luck.
Posted by: Heather AT 10:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, August 10 2012
Well Tevis started out fun...  Jeremy and I rode out to the start with smiles on our faces, the weather was already T-shirt weather and it was really beautiful under the moon.  At the starting line I had happy Birthday sung to me by all of the competitors around, that was super fun.  The start was easy and our horses felt great.  We were riding with our friends, Lisa and Garrett Ford.  At mile 2 Cleo, Jeremy's mount, was leading and got spooked by some water/mud on the trail in the dark.  She jumped up a very steep bank and then was about to flip over backwards when she did a pirouette and launched back towards the trail.  When she landed she fell and rolled, Jeremy came off in the mud and then she scrambled and stepped on him a few times and then disappeared off the edge of the trail.  There was a lot of noise and then it was silent.  Very disturbing.  We yelled for Cleo and there was silence.  All the while the 200+ riders were at a halt on the single track waiting to see what would happen.  Jeremy ran around, ahead on the trail and found a way down to where Cleo was.  He had to push through the dense bushes.  When he got down there we could hear Cleo moving and I yelled to see if Jeremy needed help.  Cleo was stuck on her back in the brush on the hill side.  Jeremy was able to grab her head and flip her over and then walk her out.  After a brief inspection, in the dark, and a trot Jeremy got on and we were on our way again. 

Just after the highway crossing Garrett, who was riding behind Jeremy, spotted the blood on Cleo's leg.  We had to keep going on the single track so we wouldn't block everyone.  When we got to the bottom of Squaw, Jeremy got off to have a good look and it was clear that Cleo, although sound, needed medical attention.  His ride was over and he walked her down the mountain to get help.  It turns out there was a radio guy right at the bottom and a vet with medical supplies and a trailer, very simple.  Cleo got her knee stitched up and her heel flushed and went onto Antibiotics immediately. 

I continued onwards.  I rode most of the day with Garrett and Lisa Ford and Kevin Myers and Rusty Toth.  We had all been training the entire summer together in Durango, CO and Jeremy and I had been coaching everyone so that we could all have a great Tevis performance.  We had a super time riding together. 

Granite Chief was simple, it has really been simple ever since we started using the Glue On Easyboots.  I really feel like Spiderman now with those grippy boots on.  Very secure.

Just before Cougar Rock I told Christoph that I really had wanted to go over it on Stirgess on my birthday ride but that after Jeremy's mishap that I was going to skip it.  As we approached it I was in the lead of our group and I turned back to Christoph and told him how tempting it was looking, this is when he yelled in a cheerful voice, with a German accent, "JUST DO IT!!!".  Without another thought I went up and over.  I am so glad I did.

At Robinson Flat we all made it through.  It was a nice rest and Stirgess ate well.  This was a fun stop because I had some crew there that I hadn't seen in a while, my mom, dad, Brother in law Tim, his girlfriend Jody, Skip, Karl, Megan, Laura and Doug and a few more.  Very fun group.

The trail took the gravel road this year so we flew from Robinson to Dusty Corners.  Rachael Shackelford and Brett and a friend of theirs was there to help put some ice water on Stirgess, that was fun to see them there.

 I got off and ran down the first canyon.  The swinging bridge was rocking at the bottom.  I rode most of the way up into Devil's Thumb, although I did hike and tail some.  Garrett on the other hand was working it!  He was a climbing machine.

After many more miles we were at Michigan Bluff.  We cooled the horses off and headed up again, into Chicken Hawk.  My mom and dad were there.  That was cool, they are not horse people but they crewed like they were.

Garrett, Lisa and I rode into Forrest Hill and took another nice break.  Kevin and Rusty were right there a few minutes later.  Super fun to have all of the training buddies more or less together this deep into the race.

I ate a burger and took a shower, super nice.  At this check Jeremy's mom and aunt Leslie were there as well as my other dad, in addition to everyone else, party!

When it was time to leave Stirgess was out first but the plan was for Garrett, Lisa and I to ride together.  I cruised through town and they soon caught up and we rode through town together waving at the cheering spectators.

The California loop was pleasant.  After a few miles Kevin and Rusty came along and we were all having fun trotting down the trail.  This part of the ride was getting increasingly humid.  It was going to rain and it just got warmer and more humid the further we went.

At CAL 2 we all got water and then hit the trail again.  At this point Kevin and Rusty backed off a hair.  As we approached Francisco we stopped at a creek to cool out our horses.  When we went to leave again and started trotting Stirgess felt off for about 4 steps, I was really worried and then he was fine.

We trotted into the check and all 3 horses looked great.  After a few minutes we all headed to the vet and when I trotted Stirgess he was lame enough for me to stop and walk back to the vet!  Very sad and sudden.  Lisa and Garrett were both surprised and the vets were too as they had just seen him trot in.  At first it seemed like Stirgess had a muscle tightening in his shoulder so the vet said to go work on him.  After stretching and massaging he was worse so I pulled him and started the 3 mile hike up the mountain to the trailer.  This has become a frustrating part in the race for me as I have now made this hike 3 times while being in the top 3. 

As I hiked up I tried to imagine the joy for the Ford's and that helped a little.  Stirgess was now lame walking.  Part way up the hill a car pulled up and said that they would walk my horse and that I should get in the car.  I thought it was someone that had been rafting or something so I politely declined, then Mike Shackelford told me it was him and to get in the car, how could I say no??  Super!  He hiked for the rest of the hill even though we kept stopping the car and offering him a trade for a rest.  Super guy, so generous.

Anyhow, Tevis was disappointing for us but amazingly great for all the rest of the Durango herd.  Very awesome that they were 1st-4th with a Haggin Cup too.  Garrett won and Rusty won Haggin.  Way to go.

Our vet in CO came out to ultrasound Stirgess and see Cleo.  Stirgess had ruptured a blood vessel in his leg and Cleo's stitches are holding well and there is no infection in her heel so he casted that and she will heal up.

I think we got rid of any bad luck so London should really be awesome!  The horses fly out on Mon the 13th. 
Posted by: Heather AT 01:26 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, August 01 2012
Jeremy and I left Durango at 3:30 am on Monday morning and headed West.  We arrived in Carnelian Bay, CA around 8 pm.  Lake Tahoe looks as beautiful as ever!  We are staying at Rodger and Amy Ford's amazing place, literally just off the main road around the lake, about 1 block off the lake.

We have with us for Tevis, Stirgess who I will be riding (number 44) and Cleopatrah who Jeremy will be riding (number 32).  We also have Kutt and Marvel here, as shortly after Tevis we will be flying with them to London.  Kingley came too.  If anyone is interested in a wonderful horse that is FEI passported and has crazy fast recoveries, he is available.

Last night we went to dinner with Amy, Rodger, Duncan, Suzanne, Valerie, Christoph and his intern, Eric.  It was very fun.  Jeremy, Garrett, Kevin & Rusty have been at the fairgrounds for the last 2 days glueing boots on people's horses but they will be back this afternoon and we will have a big group dinner.

I am very much looking forward to Saturdays ride!
Posted by: Heather AT 02:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

Reynolds Racing
Dunnellon, FL 34431
 Heather: 408-687-7082
Jeremy: 408-687-7083

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