Sooner State Spring Challenge

Bell Cow Lake – Chandler, OK – Photo by John Nowell

Sooner State Spring Challenge – Chandler, Oklahoma (Bell Cow Lake)

April 21st and 22nd 2012

Saturday, 5:30 a.m.:  I’m asking myself the same question again, why do I do this?  I’m on my second cup of coffee and I’m still not finding the humor in this – it’s cold (a brisk 40 degrees – probably 30 degrees in my trailer).  I would die for one of those “buttons” on the side of the bed that turn the heat on; better yet, how about a button in the bed so I don’t have to expose my arm to the cold air?  That would rock.  Oh, yea, my trailer doesn’t have heat… or a toilet… hmmm…. Why do I do this?  As I crawl my cold bones out of bed, shivering all the way to the bucket of kitty liter in the midtack (yea, I know, but hey, it works), grumbling how f’n cold it is, I manage to turn the propane heat and coffee on… do the horses really need to eat right now?  It’s cold outside.  And I plan to do this again on Sunday?  And I call myself a morning person too… whatever.  Right after a FULL pot of coffee, I love the mornings!

I know, I am whining… I LOVE this sport, but I DO sometimes wonder why I love it so damn much… sick humor.

It’s going to be a beautiful day, right after ONE more cup of coffee, or two…

Trail for loops 1 and 3

Trail for loops 2 and 4







Saturday, April 21st:  I am actually writing this a few days after my return home as I am just now getting around to finishing the events that took place over the weekend.  Plus, I am just now able to move my left arm… It didn’t go exactly as planned, but I am home and I am alive.  The horses are alive as well, particularly pretty purple pony, Pristine.

Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day and the trails were in really great condition.  There was a “strangeness” to Pristine that day… she didn’t pull real hard and she was really relaxed.  It made me a little worried.  But, her vet scores were incredible as usual with her eye-popping recoveries (eye-popping to me) – trots straight in, I get off, and she is down, and then she proceeds to get a CRI of 60/56.  She truly is an amazing girl.

Kenlyn Pristine – Photo by John Nowell

Anyway, I did carry the video camera on my helmet for the first 25 miles and my neck was really giving me a hard time.  Nothing too terribly exciting happened; here is the breakdown of the events:

  1. First loop:  25 miles (15 miles, trot by (mounted) and then 10 miles).
  2. 45-minute hold.
  3. Next loop:  15 miles.  CRI 60/56
  4. 45-minute hold.
  5. Last loop:  10 miles.  CRI:  56/48  — 5th place

Here is the excitement for the day AND the deal-breaker for Sunday’s plans:  About 50 yards from the finish line, Pristine and I are calmly trotting along and I’m thinking, yay, we are done and cold beverages are awaiting… when suddenly Pristine, the pretty purple pony, decides the rustling in the bushes is a justifiable reason to dramatically jump straight up in the air what felt like 20 feet and then take off like she just came out of a starting gate.  This incredibly athletic move left me mid-air only to have my right leg hit her pretty purple rump, flipping me feet-first in the air, landing on my head and scraping my face through the dirt.  That hurt.  I am thankful for the soft landing as there are rocks just a few more feet ahead.  I had a few other choice names for her, but I have decided PPPP will suffice – pretty purple pony Pristine.  She was caught in camp, walked back out to me, and we crossed the finish line together.  Big sigh

My head is now ringing, I am covered in dirt (check out my armpits – flattering), and the cold beverages are sounding better and better.  Tomorrow?  Hmmm….







Sunday, April 22nd:  Needless to say, I did not even get out of bed until 6:20 a.m. to START coffee… coffee is a must before anything at all.  This happened to be an elevator ride, so I decided to back off to a 25-miler from the planned 50.  That way, I would at least get credit for 25 miles if I did not feel good enough to finish 50 miles, but I could go on to get the 50 miles if I did feel well enough after 25: win-win situation there.  However, I fought with a pounding headache all night and finally, after elevating my head with 3 pillows, I was able to get some sleep.  And the stiffness/soreness was setting in, so I decided it probably wasn’t the best idea to go back out on a fresh horse.  I never claimed to be wise or smart, but this seemed like one of my brighter ideas.  So, I packed up camp and crawled home.  PPPP, however, looked like she needed to go out for another 50… hmmm…. Blue Bonnet is next weekend and it is the AHA Region 9 Championship, which is located nearly in my backyard.  Maybe, just maybe she needs to go again.

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