|Check out our lakefront view at Skymont!|
So, we were really looking forward to traveling together to Mustang Memorial in southern New Jersey on Oct. 1. Then Mother Nature struck, turning my place into Noah's Ark (we were hit with 8 inches of rain in just 12 hours the Wednesday before the ride, with the wet stuff moving north for an unrelentingly gloomy weekend forecast).
We'd already decided to use Kelly's rig instead of mine, a Yukon SUV pulling a teeny Brenderup -- NOT the best setup for a muddy basecamp! Considering another option, I sweet-talked Kelly into adding over 500 miles to our trip by heading west to the Skymont Ride in central Tennessee. Ike Nelson does a fantastic job of managing this fundraiser for the local Boy Scouts. Having traveled there two years earlier with Gryphon, I knew how my way around and how fun those trails are along the scenic Cumberland Plateau. Best of all, their forecast called for sunny skies and perfect fall weather!
|Siena chomps as I enjoy more Kerry Butter!|
Taking turns driving and sleeping, Kelly and I covered the 600 miles in under 12 hours, arriving mid-morning. While I grazed our hungry horses in a grassy field near camp, she found a place to shoehorn the rig at the very end of the crowded basecamp. But our cozy site was right on the lake! After hauling our crewing area gear to the other end of camp and going for a warmup ride, we enjoyed some wine & appetizers that included Kerry Butter from Ireland and Ciabatta Bread (Kelly is quite the "foodie," and high fat diets provide necessary energy for riders as well as their horses!)
Heading toward the ride briefing along the glowstick-marked path to the lodge on the other side of the lake, we caught up with friends over dinner, including Dana Abernathy and Joe Ford, who'd both successfully completed their rides earlier that day. Sleepily returning to our campsite, I happily snuggled in the back of Kelly's SUV until time for the pre-dawn feed.
|At last! Kelly & Dinero finished with all As about 5 p.m.|
Siena had fantastic recoveries and solid vet scores all day, and I'd planned to stand for Best Condition. Then Dr. Otis saw her favoring her left hind during the warm up. We'd finished an hour behind winner Tina Cochran, so probably wouldn't have had a chance anyway. Given that this was Siena's prep ride for the FEI 75 at Broxton, I asked Dr. Ike, who is an equine chiropractor, to check her. He found soreness in her lumbar region that he said could wait til I got home to be adjusted.
|Siena enjoys a hearty roll after her 2nd place finish.|
Heading along the glowstick trail to bed, Kelly checked her SUV only to find that the battery had drained. Some nice neighbors gave us a jump start and we decided to go ahead and hit the road while the vehicle recharged rather than taking a chance on it not starting when we'd originally planned to leave in the wee hours. Kelly left her air mattress set up in the back, we again took turns driving and sleeping, pulling into my drive before 10 a.m. Sunday.
My 2-year old gelding Chrome's microchip had come in the mail, so after work Monday I trailered him & Siena over to the vet so he could get it implants and she could get her chiro adjustment. I was delighted that she was moving soundly during the pre-examination, but she deserved this therapy after 50 fast miles of trail and 1,200 miles of hauling in a strange trailer. And Chrome got some great experience learning to enter a stall all alone and stay patient!