Monday, November 21, 2011
Jersey Devil Part 3
The picture was taken on Sunday - you can see how nice the trails were. Now imagine those with the weather report below!
Because of the winter storm and our southern location, the weather we were seeing was interesting to say the least. It was a mixture of cold rain, freezing rain and hail. At one point I looked down at John’s mane and there were ice balls covering the top. I glanced over at Minnie and her mane was also covered in ice.
We kept riding.
After 15 miles out on the trail, we arrived back at the gun club for the 20-minute hold. We pulsed down and did our trot outs immediately after arriving back at camp. I was worried that when we started standing still, John would get cold again and have problems. Both of the horses got through the vet check fine, we threw their other blankets on over the tops of their rump rugs and tack, and they stood there eating hay. Meg and I stood there for twenty minutes shivering.
One of the volunteers, a veteran rider, brought us chicken soup and coffee from the gun club (a warm, heated building). She told us not to go inside – that if we did, we would not come back out and we wouldn’t finish the ride. The chicken soup was wonderful and we truly appreciated her kindness.
When we mounted back up, to do the last 10 miles, we had several problems. The first was that at this point I was so cold I was barely functioning. My hands were frozen and I just wanted to sit down and cry. I was trying to put up a good front because this was my idea, and I had talked Meg into driving down here, but I was headed to the land of cranky people really fast!
Then, I couldn’t get my P&R card out of my pocket. John didn’t help by refusing to stand still. Finally I got one of the volunteers to take the soaked card out of my pocket so that I could leave camp. But neither horse wanted to ride back out of camp (can you really blame them?) After a little encouragement, I got John to lead us out of camp.
My hands were still frozen and I just wanted to quit. Who cares about the mileage, or the 7-hour drive down or any of the rest of it? But then Meg would be alone on the trail, and that wasn’t fair either. I looked down at John, he seemed pretty happy; I was the only miserable one.
I was complaining to Meg about how cold I was, and she gave me her gloves. I had attempted putting mine on before we left camp, but they were soaked through and my hands were also so wet and cold, John hadn’t wanted to stand quietly, I had given up on getting them on.
Somehow I was able to get Meg’s gloves on as we walked along. I immediately started to feel better, both physically and mentally. I could ride ten more miles, it wouldn’t be so bad. If we had survived the first fifteen, it seemed silly not to tough it out and finish.
The last ten miles weren’t so bad. The rain/hail eased a bit, and the horses trotted along happily. The trails were still great, just had lots of puddles. Ever since the monster puddle that John got injured in at Tessier last year, I have been slightly neurotic about puddles. If we couldn’t go around the edge of one, I slowed to a walk. This had to be slightly annoying for Meg and Minnie, but we all managed.
We got back to camp and blanketed the horses up. No need to sponge them off today! After we finished vetting out, we loaded them both onto the trailer in dry blankets. Luckily Meg was more prepared than I was and had an extra dry and waterproof blanket John could wear. Since she has a stock trailer, we knew they both would get a bit wet, but we also had the advantage of giving them each a box stall. We took their halters off, gave them hay and water, and went inside.
At this point I loved the gun club. I had a hot shower, more coffee and soup and felt like a new person. When it came time for awards, both horses scored a 98 out of 100! They definitely did not feel the rain the way we did. I don’t know how they broke the tie, but John was Reserve Champion with Minnie placing right behind him.