May 09, 2011

Endurance Race

Steve and I went up to Aurora to help out for the Kenlyn Urban Challenge, which is an endurance race.  The option is to ride in one of the limited distance races 15 or 25 miles or the endurance race 50 miles.  Friday night we arrived and Steve and I were put on "butt number" duty.  Each horse in the race gets a number for their rump so it's easy to record their times and vet exam results.

The evening before was very cold, windy and even started snowing so we ended up doing the the vet checks and numbering in the indoor arena and Kenlyn Arabians Farm.  They only had red number sticks so a lot of the numbers were hard to see on the horses bottoms!

Horses are checked before being officially entered in the race.  The check includes capillary refill, tenting of the skin (for hydration), gut sounds, muscle tone, leg checks and gait checks.  Each horse has to be sound and healthy in order to go into the race.  There are several vet checks during the race to make sure that a horse is still sound during the race.  If their condition deteriorates the vet or sometimes the owner will pull the horse from the race.

We met lots of really nice horse people.  Rachel has two younger mustang horses and was talking a lot about her experiences with that breed.  Michelle had a beautiful chestnut gelding she had purchased from Kenlyn when he was two days old.  She volunteered in the beginning of the vet checks but was busy riding on Saturday since she did the limited distance 25 mile run.

Most of the horses were well behaved but there were a couple that needed some manners classes.  One beautiful buckskin was a side kicker so the vets and butt marker (Steve!) had to watch out!  Several horses were swinging their hind quarters every which way in the excitement.  Overall though the horses were excited but under control.  Still with all the pretty horses it was a feast for the eyes!  There was even a Shetland being ponied for part of the race in the owners attempt to get him used to endurance races before her daughter rode him in one.  We named him "Double 0" since we gave him an honorary butt number!

Many people camped over the night before and after (since it's not the best practice to trailer a fatigued horse).  Most people had trailers with "pens" set up for the horses or used a high line set up.  Steve and I decided we want to look for a cargo van to pull our trailer in the future since we can "camp" in the van on a bed; I'm still on the fence about what containment to use in camp as I keep learning about that.  The newest edition of Endurance News has an article about this very thing!  People who either had more $$ or more debt had nice big trailers with live in quarters in the goose neck of the trailer.  That would be nice someday!

At the end of Saturday while we were awaiting the last 50 milers to finish their last laps Michelle and I went over to a paddock to view some mares.  Most were for sale and I asked her some questions, since she knew how Kenlyn was run, purchased her gelding from Kenlyn and she boarded there as well.  Most horses start getting trained under saddle at 3 or 4 and have training in the ring and on the trail.  One mare, Freeze Frame was a beautiful chestnut who was very interested in nuzzling me and my fleece; though I suspect she was after my energy drink!  She even stayed right at the fence when fresh hay was dropped off in the paddocks!  Another chestnut mare, Scarlet, was also affectionate but was greeted with pinned ears by Freeze so she didn't stay around to make friends for very long.  Who knows maybe if the price is right one of them would be a nice match for me!

Michelle and I then headed over to the baby paddock where mares and their one to two month old foals were hanging out.  OH MY GOSH!!!  I was in love with a black colt who was nuzzling me and getting me to scratch his neck.  Another chestnut liked his chest scratched.  Rachel and two other ladies joined us and we all spent a long time loving on each foal.  Oh my goodness I could have taken one home with me!  One of the black colts was a sweetie and the little chestnut was so friendly it was hard to get enough distance from him to take his picture.

Later Steve and I decided we were ready to head home, it had been a long and dusty day with winds blowing most of the time.  We got a flat on our way out of the property, hence the reason I'm very happy to have a full size spare....they are so worth the extra room!!!  After changing the tire we headed home to a nice shower and to absorb the horsie things we learned.  I'm even more excited to get involved in this when I have my own endurance mount!