Wednesday worked its way forward and Monicka and I went for a little excursion on the Tevis trail to stretch Rio’s legs. Most of us who do this also hope to imprint the end of the ride in our horse’s brain so that they know when they’re coming “home” at the end of the 100 miles.
When we left the fairgrounds, I was riding and Monicka hiked. Partway down the trail, I asked Monicka if she wanted to ride Rio on the trail.
“Hell yes!” she replied enthusiastically. I think maybe she enjoyed that (and I was hoping to really get her addicted to the idea of coming out and riding, however I don’t think I had to make any effort toward that!). We rode and hiked about 4 miles down to No Hands Bridge and met Steve there. He had driven to possibly pick Monicka up and to see that part of the trail for himself. He was not able to hike with us due to an injury to his heel from falling off of a barn 5 years ago, but he found his way with his trusty truck.
I rode back, trying to make an online meeting and Monicka elected to hike back. Had I known I would miss the meeting and that she would be hiking, I would have waited!!
As we were finishing more friends were arriving in California.
Todd Hezeau, a very dear friend of mine from Texas, and my other very dear friend Laura Hayes arrived from her part time home of Nebraska at the Sacramento airport. They joined us in Auburn at the Alehouse for lunch. Introductions were made to Steve and Monicka and we discussed the week’s plans, our lives, Rio and many other pieces of fun, excited chatter.
Sometime after dropping Laura off at our friends Elizabeth and Neil’s house, Todd set to work gluing on Rio’s boots. One of Todd’s part-time jobs is to barefoot trim horses and he also is a dealer of Renegade Hoofboots.
I was thrilled that Todd could join us to put them on–I’ve done it myself a handful of times, but I did not want to have any room for error that I could control in the gluing process. In addition to being able to glue my boots, I knew Todd would be an amazing crew member with his knowledge of the sport. He and I first met at a ride in Missouri over 10 years ago and he has not only had Tevis trail experience, but has also done several 100s in his endurance career thus far.
Steve and Monicka watched alongside me as Todd performed his art–it was lovely to watch him work; he is very precise and gentle with a horse. We used Renegade glue on boots. Todd glued them on for me the year before and I was impressed with how they performed last year. I chose to use them again because of that performance and I love how the bottoms of the hoof are protected with booting.
Steve watched closely and later commented on how impressed he was with the workmanship Todd produced. Steve had expressed his doubt quite a bit about booting on horses, but I think once he saw these being placed they may have given him a new perspective on what they were actually like.
We ran a little late getting to the rider barbecue that evening. The weather was quite hot though and I think most of us were content with drinking fluids after helping with the glue job.
I saw many of the people I had met the year before, including more than 30 time finisher, friend and idol Barbara White. My dear friends Charlie and Lee-Anne Gauci from Australia were at the barbecue as well as friends Tracy, Jeff, Brenda, Marsha, David, Ron and many more. I’m a bit of a social butterfly and flitter between different groups–I enjoy seeing and talking with them all, it’s hard for me to stay in one spot!
One other new friend I must mention is Gordy Ainsleigh. He’s the founder of the Western States Trail Run(and an incredibly nice guy I might add!). Yes, you read that right–a run. Humans do this trail on foot with the same challenge of making the distance within 24 hours. Gordy showed everyone it could be done, and as years have passed, the run is so popular that people have to enter a lottery to gain a spot!
I say this at the risk of you really thinking I’m crazy. I want to do it too someday.
Inspired as I was, I still needed to focus on the next steps in preparation: moving to Robie Park, the start of the 2018 Tevis Cup.