Dead Dog Creek – 2008

Dead  Dog Creek 2008

This was our third year of attending this ride. As it is the closest ride to our farm, we decided to pull out all the stops. We encouraged our friend Pat Phillips to go with us with her TWH Cowboy. Pat has been riding a horse for probably 40 years and has competed at numerous quarter horse events. This would be her first endurance event and first competition on one of her gaited horses. She diligently trained Cowboy according to the formulas that had proven effective with our horses over the past few years.

We sponsored a junior for the first time. Michelle Lazorchak was a 15 year old friend of ours that had been showing horses for many years. We got her started trail riding and had talked to her for alost a year about doing an endurance ride. I told her that, if she connected with Rebel and, if he was not sold before the May 08 ride,  we would sponsor her.  I then decided not to sell him prior to the race. She connected with this big grey boy.  She taught him to jump. She also taught him to gallop.

I needed a horse to ride with her as you have to stay with a junior that you sponsor or they will be disqualified. I chose my sweet heart horse Kate. Kate was a four year old TWH that is my pocket horse. She will come when I call her.  She will even get in a trailer sometimes with out a lead rope just to be with me. Kate has stolen my heart.  Our friend Myrl Upchurch is dedicated and fantastic gaited rider. She offered to crew for us. Well actually, she offered to crew for Sandy. I told her I wanted her to ride with us too. She said she was concerned about giving her beloved Rocky Mountain Horse  Sea Biscuit “race brain”. I told she could ride one of our MFTs Revenges Dandy Lady and that I was not concerned about her having race brain.

So for the first time at a ride, we took 2 trailers and 5 horses and sponsored two other riders.

Pat Phillips and Sandy rode the first day’s 30 mile LD. They finished 1st and 2nd, and had no trouble with the vet checks. Pat’s horse Cowboy came down first for the win and BC. First place and BC at her first ride. How can you beat that?

Blues was top ten again in the 50.

For me, the most fun was in the second day in the 30 mile LD. A junior and a Grandma at their first ride. All of us on three of our gaited horses and two of those horses were at their first ride. The course was muddy which actually gave us an advantage. Gaited horses are particularly sure footed as they do not have a period of time when all four feet are off the ground. In rocky or slick footing they shine as there is no period of supsension.

As Kate was the youngest horse, I decided to manage the three horses on Kate’s heart rate and average no faster than 7 mph for the 30 miles.  Each horse had between 200 and 300 miles on it pre ride in training.

The day was cool and the other competitors had to carefully pick their way through the course.  We slowed down slightly but our horses train in the Shawnee National Forrest which is a far more difficult terrain than this course. The funniest moment of the day was when another friend of ours called Myrl during the race to find out how she was doing. We were taking turns swapping positions and had worked our way into the lead. When Myrl was called she was in front. She told our friend Valerie that she could not talk to her because she was in the lead and had to hang up.

The horses were perfect. We averaged 6.8 mph for the 30 miles. It was a race to come down to heart rate and all three horses did so promptly. However, Rebel was in the best shape as he had almost twice as many training miles as the other two horses and he was first and BC. Kate was second and Dandy was third. I had never dreamed that three of our gaited horses could do so well.

To say the least, Michelle was in hog heaven:

Shawnee Sunrise Farm

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