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Strawberry Fields Forever (My First Endurance Ride)

Well, I finished my first ride! Kind of. . .

Let me explain.

As I mentioned, my first endurance ride was this past weekend. Sterling and I arrived at camp just north of Strawberry Reservoir on Thursday, set up quickly and easily (there were just the two of us, so it was super simple), and basically relaxed the afternoon away.

Everything went smoothly, with one tiny exception—halfway through dinner, the trailer shook and we looked out the window. Kadie (my horse) was lying on the ground, her leg wrapped up in the Hi Tie (the apparatus that keeps her attached to the trailer). We rushed out, got her back on her feet, rubbed her down, and she didn’t seem to be any the worse for wear. We weren’t sure how it happened, but we were grateful that she didn’t seem hurt.

The next morning was a bit frantic—the alarm clock didn’t go off, so we started the ride 5-10 minutes late, dead last of 39 riders. I wasn’t too bothered; this was my first ride, and I was really more interested in the experience than coming in ahead of anyone.

That said, the experience was fabulous! I’m a speed girl, and I have to say that I love these endurance rides. I totally got into the trotting and galloping, and like the long rides a lot better than the shorter walks. I’m definitely a lifer—this was the first of many rides for me!

We had our vet check halfway through the 25-mile ride and passed with flying colors; we grabbed a sandwich, gave the horses their supplements, got a thumbs-up from the vet, and we were off on the second half of the ride. We arrived back in camp before noon, and finished 15th and 16th—a pretty good spot considering the late start we had. I was excited for the second ride on Saturday. . . until we noticed about an hour after getting back in camp that Kadie was favoring her leg, limping around and not doing well at all.

The vet checked her, and they pulled Kadie and me from the ride. (I got an award for the most gracious pull—I didn’t care about being pulled at all, I was mostly concerned about Kadie.) We couldn’t figure out what had happened; the ride that morning had been the smoothest ride I’d ever had on her, and Sterling and I had been watching closely and never saw her show any signs of lameness.

While I was disappointed, we made the best of the situation, taking it easy Friday night. . . we actually enjoyed a leisurely dinner and played a few games (Go Fish, Speed, etc.) before heading off to bed. We slept in, broke camp, and still got home several hours earlier than we would have otherwise done. We kept our eye on Kadie the whole time, and whatever the problem was seems to be gone now.  She’s walking fine, and although we’ll certainly take it easy the next few days and have the vet look her over at least one more time, nothing seems to be wrong now.

And I can’t wait for my next ride! I’m feeling badly that I didn’t start riding years ago when Sterling started, but I’m glad that at least I’ve started now. I guess I’m living proof that it’s never too late to pursue a new interest!

I took a few photos, although in the middle of a competitive ride, taking pictures isn’t a top priority. But the scenery was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I thought I’d share the few photos I took. . . .


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Reader Comments (6)

Hi Shelli,

what a wonderful experience. One of my sisters completed the Winton to Longreach (central Queensland) Endurance Ride over 30 years ago and I still have fond memories of strapping for her. It was 250km over 2 days. Looking at your photos makes me a teeny bit envious :)

In regards to Kadie, my other sister and her daughter are involved with Eventing and she uses magnetic boots on her horses after events and also puts a poultice on their legs to keep swelling down. The horse my niece rides is over 20 years old now and is a trusted friend. He still loves tackling the cross-country courses.

Remember with Endurance riding it doesn't matter where you come. Just to finish the course is to win.

Hugs, Keryn
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeryn
You know, not that my daughter is comparable to a horse, but she had a phantom leg injury as a toddler that scared the daylights out of me. She stumbled near a carpeted step, it was really a low step into/out of a sunken living room. Her knee landed near the base of a floor lamp. So, she got up and started walking, and her leg BUCKLED right under her a couple steps away. She tried to walk again, she could stand up, but when she'd take a step her knee would buckle. She was about a year old, and had started walking at 9 months, so she just reverted to sort of crawling around, unbothered. But I was TOTALLY *freaking out*. She hadn't cried at all when it happened, and I could not even see a mark, except a tiny little sliver of a mark about 1cm long under her knee, and she didn't seem to be in any pain...but I was concerned that something awful had happened to leave her suddenly unable to walk on that leg! We had only one car, so I called her dad to come home to take us to the clinic. By the time he got there almost 3 hours later, my daughter had just started walking around fine--all of a sudden, right before he walked through the door. My husband has been my ex for about a dozen years now, but I bet he still thinks I was making it all up :-O Thank God nothing was wrong, but there was still no mark on her leg but that tiny one, which never got any bigger, or got red or swollen or anything. As near as I can figure, she actually hit that spot below her knee on the base of the floor lamp and it just "shocked" a nerve or something. Her leg has been fine ever after--I hope Kadie's is, too!
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimberley Morris
Whew! So glad Kadie is ok. Wow, endurance is tough. I can "show" but can not do the endurance. My hat is off to you. Is Kadie an Arabian? Good Luck and enjoy!
June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Brown
Congratulations on your ride. When I lived in Squaw Valley years ago I remember riders participating in the Tevis Cup Ride and was so impressed by the dedication this type of activity requires.
June 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWendie Waldman
Looks like you had fun! I haven't been horse back riding since my honeymoon more than 20 years ago and that was a crazy experience! I'm glad that Kadie is doing well, although, I was quite surprised that she was named "K"adie instead of "S"adie!! ;) Enjoy your new-found hobby with your husband!
July 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Davidse
Dates are set for next year - hope to see you there
Strawberry Endurance Ride
February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStrawberry Endurance Ride

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