Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fauresmith National Endurance Ride Winter 2010

Thinking back on the year that had been and what my best personal achievement was for last year I have to say that riding the Nationals for the first time was by far the most exciting,eye opening experience I have had last year! Neither my horse nor I have ever been there before but hubby had been there every year of his life as a Junior rider so it was nothing new to him but he was also still very excited for me and my horse, Stonecroft Ghost. Qualifying for it and then preparing for the ride involved hours of long, hard, physical work not to mention the mental and emotional strain of riding a super fit horse known for her temper tantrums, and for the first time ever having had to witness my husband almost killed not once,but twice by HIS very difficult, but brilliant mare. The first time she kicked in his ribs which penetrated his lungs while leaving the pre-ride vet check and the second time bucking him off so violently as another horse overtook her while on a training run,  that he broke his collarbone and one of the previously broken ribs...again...,he also fell himself into a really bad concussion. He recovered and also qualified for Nationals, but alas,his mare injured herself  playing in her paddock,just two days before leaving for Fauresmith! We left home a week early to acclimatize my horse to the Free State Winter,it is so much colder there than it is here in Limpopo Province. Cules had slipped into the role as groom for my horse and handled everything so effortlessly in a very professional manner. He would see us off at every vet check and then take the truck loaded with all the equipment needed to groom the horse and I to the next point at some far off destination in the middle of now where.  I was adamant to do well, i.e place in the top 30 lightweight riders after the 3 days have ended, so got a good talking to as I entered the first vet check on day one in exactly 1 hour 4 min! I knew my horse was right on track and continued at my own speed the rest of the way,not trying to prove anything other than doing the best we can in the safest way possible...to make a long story short by the end of the second day we were lying 15th in the lightweight division and at the end of the 3rd day we finished 11th! It was nerve wrecking to keep my horse from stiffening up overnight and not to mention all those vet checks! 10 of them all in all! As we were given the all clear at the last vet check there were tears and cries of joy and lots of celebrating all around, for Fauresmith is known to be the toughest test horse and rider can endure in the WORLD today!!


                   My camera was set on VGA so the quality of pics are not too great.





Approaching the first Vet Check on day one






Getting ready to leave on the second leg, it was really cold OK!
Can you see I come from a Show Jumping background? Yes,the white, super expensive breeches is a dead giveaway! Well not so white in all that dust...





Nr 9069 is us!






Ghost munching away, warmly wrapped up..There were so many vehicles at the vet checks that crews had flags on their vehicles so the riders could see where to find their crews as they came in!!






Look who was there to encourage her Mama! I think I had just saved some other rider's lunch there...






Start on the second morning,I was so cold I had the giggles there...






Start on the last (3rd) day,that's us on the right.





It's a long,long road.....






Finishing on the last day accompanied by a bunch of Junior riders






After 3 gruelling days,cooling the horse down for the very last vet check,lots of horses fell out here...absolutely heart breaking after 3 days of extreme effort from horse and rider.







Team work! I ran off to fetch my vet card!






Our hearts pumping blood like you wouldn't know!!






Please trot out straight and true old girl...Cules and I were both sending up lots of prayers there at that moment!!








We did it!!! 201km's done and dusted! Averaging 20km/ph over 3 days!






I didn't have a lot of words to say here...Huge, big old lump in my throat...just thank you,thank you, old girl.......
It all felt too surreal,I couldn't believe we had actually done it!


Did I tell you I love my horse?

16 comments:

  1. To say that I'm impressed is an understatement. That is a real accomplishment and you should be very proud of your horse, and yourself. Congratulations on a job very well done.

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  2. Wow! Kudos to you and Ghost for such a grand ride! My farrier used to do endurance rides with his Arabians and would tell me stories. I'm really glad all those vet checks are in place to keep horses (and riders) safe. :)

    And it's so good to finally get to see YOU!!! What a cutie! You look 'petite' and I love the no-nonsense pixie cut you wear your hair in - me too!!! So, I have to ask because it's hard to see in pictures, is your hair blonde or grey? Mine is mostly brunette with lovely frosts of grey coming in (which I'm very proud of because I've earned them!)

    Wonderful post and PERFECT picture of you, Cules and Ghost at the finish. And shame on that little Minki! Stealing lunches! :)

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  3. P.S. One of your daughters definitely takes after you in looks (and I can't remember which one) but I see the family resemblance!

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  4. Thank you Louise and Texwisgirl. I am a greying brunette! Round about that time last year I decided to stop colouring my hair to see what it really looks like and decided that I am quite comfortable with it! The reddish tint in the pictures is dust! Horses that are even just slightly off are spun immediately and blood and urine samples are taken randomly with dire consequenses if your horse tests positively for prohibited substances!

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  5. Hurray for grey! (Horses and Humans!)

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  6. Liesl. congratulations! I don't know much about riding something like that, but I know THAT wasn't easy either. Good for all of you! You deserve to be as proud as you are. Great shots too.

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  7. What a great achievement for you and your wonderful horse. This made me miss my younger horseback riding days although I could never have done what you accomplished here. Congratulations and thanks for sharing.--Inger

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  8. Congrats Liesl! Quite an accomplishment.

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  9. WOW! Congrats to you! This is such a wonderful accomplishment. After watching the endurance race here in Lexington, KY, I gained a whole new respect for horses and their riders.

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  10. Farmchick you are so lucky to have witnessed the World Championship,Maria Alvarez Ponton and her horse Nobby are my absolute heroes! Did you know Maria had had a baby girl just 7 weeks prior to winning it!!

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  11. Wow!! All I can say is you and Ghost have really impressed me!! You two are amazing!

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  12. A huge effort by you and your horse. Congrats to both! (I would not color my hair either...yours looks great)!

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  13. CONGRATULATIONS! What an achievement for you all and especially for you and your wonderful horse. Is your horse an Arabian? Over here they have endurance races with the Arabians because they will give their rider everything! Way to go :D

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  14. Hi Julie,thank you,she is half Arabian and half Thoroughbred i.o.w an Anglo Arab.

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  15. Congratulations to you and your magnificent horse. You did a great job and your horse ran a wonderful race, well done!

    be happy'
    Pam

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