When I Ride…

100 Miles in One Day

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Indian Paintbrush on the hillside at Robinson Flat

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Rest stop is ready and waiting for riders and horses to show up

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Moss covered pines in Sierra Nevada mountains

I like to keep my posts fairly short. That will be a challenge for this recollection of the Tevis 2013. It all happened very fast for a 24 hour period of time once the horses left Robie Point in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, at 5:15 AM Saturday, 20 July.
I was one of the first to get to Robinson Flats, the first full veterinarian checkpoint, to set up a place for the riders to rest and feed the horses. They had already been on the trail for about five hours when they came into this spot under the tall pines on the side of the mountain. After the horses were checked by the veterinarian to make sure they were able to continue without doing themselves harm, they rested and were held for a time. People and horses ate and refueled their bodies to prepare for the next stage of the race.
Soon, they were again on their way and I would meet them 5 to 6 hours later at the next veterinarian checkpoint. One of the largest challenges for me as a crew member, was to make sure I was in the right place at the right time. To miss her or get there late when she needed help during such an ordeal would be a costly mistake. I prayed silently under my breath, asking for guidance to meet my obligation.
As they arrived at Forest Hill, the second of the longer veterinarian checks, both riders, mother and daughter, were feeling like they had a second wind. News had arrived that one of the other contestant’s horse had fallen at Cougar Rock, broken its neck and had to be euthanized. Thankfully the rider was unhurt. The horse had slipped on the granite and fallen, it was an accident but no less tragic. We felt gratitude that everyone in our group was still safe and healthy.
As it began to get dark that evening and we were packing up to drive our gear to the finish line in Auburn, I tried to imagine how Tracy and her daughter Ragan, were hanging in there and really digging deep in themselves to finish this race. They are women of great faith and I knew they would know how to stay focused on their goal. I also knew the horses would be fine, tired, but fine as they were prepared and in shape to compete in this mountain race. The women had never done anything like this before. The wear and tear on joints, ligaments and muscles was making itself known to Tracy, I saw the weariness of it like a monkey on her back as she turned her horse once again toward the trail. Her mind and body were arguing with each other over whether to continue but I knew which one would win.
The cut off time was 5:15 am the next morning. We stood with others waiting for competitors to come out of the shadows of the tall trees into the fairgrounds at Auburn. At 4:40 or so we could see the glow sticks placed in the breast collars of the horses shining through the deep shadows of the early morning. Our competitors had made it in time but still had to take a victory lap in the arena at the fairgrounds and pass under the finish line banner before they were official finishers.
Mother and daughter finished together. A moment they will remember the rest of their lives.
After pulling Cali’s saddle off and sponging her with cool water from a bucket, giving her fresh sweet hay and water, and wrapping her legs in ice leg wraps, we all took a deep breath and began to realize what they had just completed. The Tevis, 100 miles across the western states trail of the Sierra Nevada’s, in less than 24 hours.

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a competitor and her crew, tending to the horse during a rest stop

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cooling a race horse with wet towels in strategic pulse points

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Tracy and Cali coming in from the shadows, glow sticks showing the way

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a competitor entering the final lap at Auburn Fairgrounds

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Tracy and Ragan finishing together

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Tracy and Ragan at Awards Banquet after the race

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Cali is clean, cool and eating

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some of the horses were pulled from the race and needed veterinary care

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Ragan’s award buckle made from local silver from the area

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The winning horse

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Now to buy the belts that will hold these buckles on! Oh yeah…they WILL be worn!

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This entry was published on July 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm. It’s filed under horses and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “100 Miles in One Day

  1. Impressive his story, seems to us to be there, the adrenaline came up here. Thank God everything went well, a good team. Too bad what happened to the other contestant. Sure you will have more pictures for a next post. nice will appreciate.
    Goodbye and good return to your ranch.
    Cruz

  2. Great post. It read like a good book, drama, suspense, tragedy…..Ready for chapter two, and the love story.

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