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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Horse Expo and another AERC 50!

We are all looking forward to summer, but the spike in heat was not exactly welcome. Upwards of 110 degrees, Sacramento Horse Expo was unseasonably hot this year. Last year Dixie and I rode in the demo and it was only by chance that I had something else planned for her this weekend so I declined on bringing her again. It turned out to be a good idea, because the demo was cancelled due to the heat! Instead, Winston filled her place in the booth and we talked with people about mustangs, Extreme Makeovers, training, and TIP programs. I met a lot of great people and am glad that we braved the heat to be there. 

Geyserville also saw extreme heat Friday and Saturday, and when I arrived at 5pm it was still in the 90's! I settled in and walked Dixie around and prayed the weather would be cooler as predicted. The rider meeting let us know the race would begin at 5:30am instead of 6 to try and beat some heat. I also picked up a junior rider (they have to ride with someone older) and enjoyed hearing stories of the day. The ride managers were thrilled that even in the extreme heat, there were no metabolic pulls from the ride that day, meaning people took really great care of their horses. I knew I was with a good group of people! After an amazing Paella dinner, I headed to the truck for some sleep. 4:30am rolled around and I started getting Dixie ready. Once 5:30 hit, we headed out onto the first loop. Our horses were matched pretty well and held a good pace throughout the race. Each of the 3 vet checks we came into Dixie scored all A's and in the final check she only got one B in her gut sounds. I was so proud of my tough little mare! As usual, many people asked about the 'mustang' and how they always dreamed of owning a 'wild one'. I encouraged them to check out the different programs featuring mustangs and get involved.  

All throughout the ride, I kept thinking the weather seemed so nice... I hope it holds! Fortunately, it did!   As we neared the end of our ride 8 hours later, we were met at the finish line by Anthony and Winston. As I recounted the day, only one wrong turn slowed us down and a broken gator on Dixie's EasyBoot Glove made me consider taking her back boot off. Surprisingly, the broken gator didn't affect her boot staying on for the last 20 miles! I was very proud of myself for putting them on! I am sure I owe a big thank you to my farrier for making sure her feet were nice and clean the day before!  We walked back to camp and took care of our horses and relaxed a little bit until the awards ceremony. 

I knew we took a moderate pace so when I heard my junior's name called... I was thrilled! He had won the TOP JUNIOR in the 50 mile ride award and a gorgeous cooler for his pony. The vet spoke about how well he took care of his horse and I was so happy for him. All throughout the day everyone that saw us cheered us on, the future of the sport really is up to the young people that choose to keep it up. We also got to meet one of the younger relatives of the Cooley's, who graciously allowed us to ride on the beautiful piece of private property. It took so much work for this ride to be created, and it really showed that the endurance community is a great group of people. I wanted to thank the ride managers, Cynthia and Forrest, as well as the Cooley's for providing the amazing land. It was a fabulous ride and you can be sure we will be back next year! 

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