Sunday, May 12, 2013

Eagle Scorcher!

The 2013 Eagle Extreme Endurance Ride was certainly extreme as there appears to be a heat wave passing through setting record high temperatures. I heard it was 93 which for May 11 is pretty dang hot.

It wasn't a big turnout, 3 on the 75 and 15 on the 50 miler with 15 on the 25 mile LD. A lot of trail riders came for the day too. I was riding Blue with my friend Tamara Baysinger. Tamara was starting her new horse on his first 50 and I had said I'd take Blue along to keep her company. Always helps a green horse to have an experienced trail buddy. 

Our first loop went out through the sagebrush and we climbed up to the edge of Rocky Canyon as the sun was coming up. It's a couple hundred feet deep and has the notoriety of being a murder site a few years back when a guy pushed his wife over the cliff. Her friends put up a cross in her memory. 

At the 12 mile point I thought I'd put Blue's interference boots on his hind legs. I was sure he would have settled down enough for that but about 200 yards later we had a bit of a rodeo. He was pretty ticked off about them and I rode him maybe another 1/4 mile and he wanted to buck some more so I got off and took the boots off. I said I guessed he didn't need them that bad and quickly velcro's them around the breast collar and got back on board. Blue was very happy again, no boots, and we trotted off with no problems. We traveled over hill and dale, and used a portion of the historic passage of Goodale's Cutoff. This cutoff was a 230 mile alternate route or spur of the Oregon Trail and was most often used to avoid Indians. Our trail had many arrows marking the way - but no Indians. The ride management had hauled out a lot of water and placed hay at the water stops so the horses wouldn't get too hungry on the 25 mile loop. There was a bit of grass here and there at least. With only a few miles left to go we spotted a coyote. 

And a mile or so later there was a large hawk on the hillside. He was busy eating something and holding onto it with his feet.

At the end of the 25 mile loop we had a vet check and both horses were looking good. The vet, Keith Ruble DVM, noticed Blue's boots hanging off his breast collar and commented about them. I said "those are rodeo instigators, I put them on and he started bucking and I pulled them off." After we trotted out he said, "He looks great, and ready for another rodeo!" LOL We had an hour hold for horses and people to eat and rehydrate before heading out for our second loop. I put Blue's interference boots back on him so he'd have the whole hour to decide that he could live while wearing them.

On loop 2 I was given a treat as Jammer, Tamara's horse, gave a rather small shy. I looked in the direction he was looking and there was a badger peeking up through the grass. He'd see us and go down his hole but he couldn't stand not knowing where we were and he'd pop up again. We watched him and played peekaboo with him for a few minutes before moving on. I commented "Wow we're doing pretty good for wildlife, a coyote, hungry hawk, and a badger." Tamara replied, "Yup all we need now are antelope. 

A couple miles later she got her wish, a pair of Antelope!

As we traveled farther out there was a herd of cows coming down the draw to a creek and both horses were fascinated and had to stop and stare. 
This final loop seemed endless and I drank 2 bottles of water and rationed out the third to make it last. This loop of trail had an extra loop or lollipop of trail off of it that went out to Bettis' Ranch. After we finally got around it and back onto common trail I told Tamara, "That was no lollipop. That my friend was an All Day Sucker!" Obviously we'd been out in the sun too long because we thought that was pretty funny! 
We took good care of the ponies and let them eat grass whenever available and they drank lots of water. They both had a good attitude all day and at the finish Blue had all A's on his vet card. The good vet said, "Are you sure you don't want to judge for Best Condition?" Nope I was sure, I knew time and weight scores would be against us but I guess his vet score would have been pretty good with all those A's. Thanks Blue for a good day!!!! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Where Did the Trail Go?

Nice warm May day. Good day to take babies out, but maybe we shouldn't have taken them together. But they did OK really. Diamond hadn't been ridden in almost 2 months and Secret hadn't done a thing for 2 weeks! We started out on a trail. But trails sometimes run out or grow over, even in the desert type country.

Probably had trail for over a mile then it was "where'd the trail go?" We had to do some cross country as the trail was gone. 

So we traveled up a narrow wash, closest thing to a trail that I could find. As the brush got taller and thicker both of the green horses became more confused and it got a bit dicey. We led them for a bit to settle down then rode up another wash where we were not only blocked off by rocks but a big deer jumped out of there too. No pics of the deer, he was long gone! 

We let them relax as we just hung out for a bit after the jumping deer! 
Trish and Secret


Then we continued on through the sagebrush and rocks. Diamond got her hind feet tangled up in some sage brush and I thought I was going to be in deep doodoo. Shortly after recovering from that Trish calls back "Rattler!" Oh great. I can't see it. Don't know where it is but I do know the general direction. So I got off to make sure I went in the opposite direction and didn't have a close encounter of the snake kind!

From the top you could see for miles and I was showing Trish places we can go on the trained horses like Three Fingers and Devils Gate. 

Woohoo as we got closer to the trailers we had trail again. Hooray! And my nice calm pony was back to her usual self too. So we were happy campers! lesson learned, need more patience for green horses and don't ask too much of them. Funny thing is we could have taken an easier trail but Trish didn't want that one. LOL She will now! But for the next couple rides I think they should have one solid horse with them to set a good example. 

Eclipse First

The Thoroughbred racehorse Eclipse was truly a phenomenon and was foaled during a solar eclipse. Foaled April 1, 1764 this British racehorse was undefeated in 18 races, 11 of those races were "King's Plates" an equivalent to modern day gradedstakes races if you want a definition. Eclipse began his racing career as a 5 year old, unheard of these days. His great speed and huge stride quickly meant that no one wanted to race against him, he often had to travel long distances to get to a race, and he was retired in 1771 because there was no competition. His owner, Captain Dennis O'Kelly, has used the phrase "Eclipse first and the rest nowhere." Races were several miles in those days and Eclipse would win by more than a mile most of the time, truly putting the others nowhere! Eclipse's sire line goes back to the Darley Arabian.

Eclipse died of colic at the age of 24, his skeleton is on display at the Royal Veterinary College in Hartfordshire. He sired 344 race winners in his day. A necropsy at his death revealed an abnormally large heart weighing 14 pounds, this has been referred to as the X-Factor over the years and has been seen in others such as Phar Lap with a 13.6 pound heart and Secretariat, his heart was an amazing 22 pounds. It is called the X-Factor because it is passed through the x chromosome, so it is carried on through the generations from their daughters. Eclipse has been honored through the years by the American Thoroughbred industry by the Eclipse Awards. So it is no wonder that his sire line has become so dominant in racehorses all over the world. Which offspring of his that first made it into the United States I am not sure of. 
Two horses of the Eclipse are very dominant contributors in USA pedigrees. Pharos who is sired by Phalaris and St. Simon who is sired by Galopin. 

St. Simon won all 9 of his races before siring over 400 foals. 

Pharos won 14 of his races before retiring to stud and becoming a leading sire in Great Britain, Ireland and France. 

Today's technology has allowed some DNA testing on a tooth of Eclipse to determine what made him superior to other racehorses. Scientists also want to research the remains of the Godolphin Arabian, a founder of the breed. While modern methods can hack away and try to determine the greatness of these horses and how it trickles down through the generations and spans over centuries, there is no denying the greatness of Eclipse and his progeny. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

An Amazing Mud Derby

What an amazing race those magnificent 3 year old Thoroughbreds gave us this year! I had told friends it was a tough pick because there were so many good horses, and I was certain that it would be a great race. And boy howdy was it ever! I favored Orb and Revolutionary. Pedigrees and performance - and if you know me you know I love pedigrees and am a snob when it comes to some bloodlines. Sorry - but a horse is what he is bred to be, then the trainer has to whittle and fine tune the talents that God gave the horse in the first place. 

Palace Malice (a Curlin son of the Eclipse sire line) was phenomenal as he took an early lead. Despite the mud he raced the first 1/4 in 22.57 seconds traveling at speeds over 38 mph!! The half was raced in 45.37 - Crazy! Others were making their bid for the lead and Palace Malice gave way to Normandy Invasion while Revolutionary and Orb were just coasting along in the back of the pack. For awhile I was wondering if Orb was going to show up but about that time here he came! Giving it all he was worth just like his forefathers. However Golden Soul was not on my radar - and I shouldn't have missed it. A bet on that horse would have been nice - there is always a longshot, I just couldn't figure out which one to pick! I missed it! AARGH!

When I looked at performance, Golden Soul was no where near as impressive as Orb or Revolutionary. So I never looked at the colts pedigree until AFTER the race. Had I looked sooner I would have tossed him in the mix. All three of the top finishers share the Eclipse sire line which continues through to the Darley Arabian. This is a sire line that has dominated racing for centuries.

I really thought Orb had the best pedigree with the tail female line going to a daughter of the Byerley Turk. His pedigree is full of the best TB's over the years, Seattle Slew, Mr Prospector, Fappiano, Cox's Ridge, Damascas,  and my all time favorite Secretariat. That's just a few ! 

Golden Soul brings in the influence of not just Secretariat but also Northern Dancer, Bold Reason, Mr Prospector, Nashua, Nasrullah, another favorite in Hyperion,  with a tail female line to a mare by the Darley Arabian out of a Byerley Turk daughter. Whew! 

Revolutionary carried the blood of Mr Prospector, Seattle Slew, Hoist the Flag, Secretariat, War Admiral, Ribot, and his tail female line goes to the same line as Golden Soul, Darley Arabian daughter from a Byerley Turk daughter. 

When you see these great pedigrees and how they run it makes you believe in the X-Factor, that fantastically huge heart that Secretariat, Man O War and Eclipse possessed, and the research behind the X-Factor theory holds water with these horses. Perhaps it is just this great gene pool that has so much speed, stamina and talent to offer that researchers want to give it a name. Whatever it is, call it what you want, it could be why it has been so many years since we have seen a Triple Crown winner. With these great horses possessing such breeding and talent, will we see a TC winner in 2013? We won't know until June and the final race. It'll be exciting - either way! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

75 at Tough Sucker II

Deja Vu!! Back in Oreana, ID at the Tough Sucker ride in April. The only difference was in 2012 there were 4 entries on the 75, this year there were two. Sad but I really wanted to do the 75. At least I had someone to ride with, Trish Frahm and I were riding it together. Last year Thunder and I did the whole thing by ourselves.

The almost full moon was going down
The sun was coming up
The shadows were long as we were the only horses and riders trotting around the desert surrounded by the Owyhees
Both horses hooves were outfitted with Easycare Gloves - no shoes

The trails we have ridden many times but never have I seen it so brown and dry. This was April and there should have been some grass and wildflowers. Too dry this year.
After the rim loop and back in camp, and Thunder gets vetted by Robert Washington. We are 1/3 of the way through and get an hour to rest up and feed the King anything he wants.
Second loop was the Snake River loop and around Wild Horse Butte. The only grass for the horses was along the river. Really grateful that Regina and crew had put hay out in a couple spots for the horses. 
Here we are with the river behind us, trotting along. Both horses were doing great! We finished this loop and were vetted through by 3:07 PM and back out on the trail at 4:07. I told Regina we'd take 4 hours to ride the river loop again. 
We finished at 8:11. Regina said we were 4 minutes off my predicted time. HAHA Probably because I had to show Trish these old homestead ruins and take photos. It was a good ride though. We tied at the finish line and Thunder got Best Condition. Great day!! 

Succor Creek Canyon

West of Homedale, ID and South of Adrian, OR is a little area of part of the Owyhees with Succor Creek flowing through. It's a great place to take horses and let them have some practice at creek crossings. So when we had a really warm spring day just before Easter, my friend Trish Frahm and I headed for Succor Creek with the "baby" horses.

So we saddled up and headed out. I had Diamond and Trish was riding Sahra and ponying her 2 yr old, Topaz. 

Succor Creek winds through the rocks and sagebrush and in places has sections through a deep gorge with tall pinnacles. The cliff walls often have raptor nests hanging on them. We didn't get into the really tall cliff area as we were trying to keep the ride a bit shorter for the babies.
Trish led Topaz down the very gradual bank  into the water 
Diamond had no problem with the water either
She wanted to splash and I figured we needed to move before she dropped and rolled!
We followed the sandy road along the creek and it goes in and out of the creek several times through here so the horses get a lot of practice.
It really is a very cool place.
By the time we were almost back I think Diamond had a very BIG day and learned a lot.