Texas Blue Bonnet – AHA Region 9 Championship

Trail markers – Photo by John Nowell


APRIL 28, 2012

I am writing this after-the-fact… it was a very busy week leading up to this weekend, having just been at Sooner State Spring Challenge in Chandler, Oklahoma the weekend prior (and taking a fall onto my head).  That ride took me most of the week to recover from, but by Thursday I had much better range of motion in my arm and felt like I could go ahead and go to Blue Bonnet.  The decision to be made… to ride Deals Midas Moon, who did not get to do his 50 on the second day of last week’s ride, or take Kenlyn Pristine AGAIN one week after.  I am a very indecisive person, tend to analyze every little detail, but once I do make up my mind, I am usually set on it.  Pristine did not seem to exert herself at all the weekend prior AND she unnecessarily and dramatically dumped me on my head at the end of 50 miles AND nothing seemed amiss physically (double checked by chiropractor/acupuncturist as well as the vet – I have to cover my bases so I am not completely stupid) AND Decatur is only a short one-hour drive from home…  so Pristine it is.

Distances offered were 25, 50, 75 and 100 miles… should I do 75 or should I do the 50 Championship?  I really didn’t feel like

Pre-ride vet in – Photo by John Nowell

doing 75 (well, my mind did but don’t think my body did and probably not a good idea for either one of us).  I also knew how fast people usually run the 50 and I really wasn’t interested in running my horse that fast as my goals are to get back into 100’s and not “race” 50’s.  Decisions, decisions.  Although I love 100’s, my body is not there this year yet and thinking of riding in the heat of the day and into the dark of the night made up my mind pretty quickly.

Kenlyn Pristine – warming up prior to the 50-miler – Photo by John Nowell

We didn’t start until 7 a.m. so I got plenty of coffee in and felt up to the task (even before coffee… what?)  It IS going to be a great day!  I do not like breakfast but managed to choke down a banana and a yogurt.  With only 40-some in the 50-miler (there are usually 90+ riders), it was a calm start.  Our first loop was 25 miles.  We did it fairly conservatively in just under 3 hours.  I started out with the three front runners for probably just two miles and then backed off as the pace was a bit fast for the humid hours of the morning.  It felt warm so saddles were being pulled even after the first loop – it is only April, but sure feels like summer already.  Pristine met pulse criteria right away and we had a one-hour hold.  Nice… love to have a full hour.

Onto the next loop, 15 miles.  This took an hour and a half and it was getting hot fast.  The horses were hot.  Pristine took a little longer to meet pulse criteria (3 minutes – long for her), but she still managed to pulse first out of the three riders we were with, ranging from 2 to 8 minutes.  Now we just have a 30-minute hold before the last and final 10-mile loop.  Thank goodness for the help of Jennifer Noblin; otherwise, I couldn’t have gotten everything done and back out in 30 minutes.  I was running 3rdat this point and the two front runners were just ten minutes ahead of me.

Cooling off prior to vetting in with 10 miles to go – Photo by John Nowell

The last ten miles were HOT… Cameron Holzer caught me at mile two, cantering past me.  Her horse looked really good!  Although I was tempted to go with her and try to catch the front two, I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.  My horse was feeling hot so I let Pristine walk some in the shaded areas in an attempt to let her cool down some.  We finished the last loop in just over an hour for a 4th place overall finish and 3rd place in the AHA Region 9 Championship.  Louise Burton came in just a few minutes behind me on a half-arab, so she got 1st place for the half-arab AHA Region 9 Championship! Way to go Louise!

I am extremely proud of my pretty purple pony Pristine not only for completing another 50-miler one week after the last one, but also for coming in top 5 as well as… drumroll here… taking Best Condition and high vet score for BOTH the AHA Championship portion as well as the AERC portion!!!!!  She just amazes me and she did make up for her naughtiness at Sooner State Spring Challenge the week prior… I fully accept her apology!

Next adventure:  Memorial Day weekend… Missouri or Waco, TX… hope to see you there!!


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