Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Tevis is almost indescribable. I've followed it for years - read all the ride/crew stories, watched the videos, etc. But the actual camps - the sheer scale of this ride - was just amazing.

We drove up Friday to Robie Park, which is totally isolated and stunningly beautiful. Checked out all the vendors and got a free syringe of (local!) elytes. Found most of our blog friends - I still don't know where Mel hid her camp - and settled in to watch the vetting.

Here's Merri:

And Zach:

And some guys from some horse racing HDTV channel - I really want to find out who they were and watch the show!

Here's C, somebody I didn't know, and Karen Chaton:

Karen's Bo is a metrosexual. He is confident in his masculinity.

Jonni at Trot On Hank was adamant that I not take a picture of her, but she graciously allowed me to photograph Hank's water scoop! (Anybody else, if you don't want your picture online for some reason, let me know and I'll take it down.)

Susan Garlinghouse leased a horse to do Tevis and it didn't vet in - how sad for her. :(

I met Kirt and Chad from Renegade and had a long, awesome conversation with Kirt. I thought he had a great observation about high/low in front feet. I've noticed that almost all horses have it to a degree - usually it's very slight. And the high heel foot usually rests under the horse, while the low heel foot is slightly extended. He hypothesizes it's because so many of our horses don't graze for their food - a horse can stand like it "prefers" to eat hay, then keep standing that way all day while it hangs out. Horses that are grazing naturally alternate which foot is slightly extended. Makes sense.

He is all in favor of conditioning barefoot. Reminded me that an occasional bobble on rocks (not continuous limping!) is the horse's way of protecting itself from a bruise. (Here's the primal tie-in: if you're running barefoot or in those VFF's, you'll bobble on sharp rocks too.) That made me feel better about training bare on our rockier trails.

Now this is how you go horse camping in a van. It's got a winch! And a pop up top and sturdy mud tires and it may be the only van I've ever seen that I really wanted.

This is a grey paint that made me think of Endurance Granny and Phebes:

We left before the RM and went to Truckee and feasted on Mexican. Then we camped for the night in a little park a couple miles from the highway 89 crossing. We slept pretty good in the back of the SUV, and 5:30 came soon enough.

We got down to the highway crossing about 10 minutes before the riders started to come through. The morning was barely chilly. Just dim enough that I couldn't get still photos without flash, so I ended up shooting video clips of almost all the riders as they came up the embankment by the road. The horses all looked great and were still fresh.

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  1. Interesting theory about high/low...HOWEVER, my mare is turned out on pasture 24/7 and she has it as well, possibly because she almost always grazes with her right front foot forward (that's the "funky" foot). She stands that way AND has that foot growth pattern all year long, shod and barefoot.

    Does my one-rat study shoot the hay v. pasture theory in the foot? I'm not sure.

  2. I don't think it does. First, it's not a very practical theory, so I'm not trying to prove anything with it - it's just a helpful way for me to think about things in my head. And second, horses are one-sided like everything else. Maybe Fiddle would even out if she were alert, hungry, and grazing through a field on her way to somewhere, like a wild horse - but maybe not. She might just like to stand that way!

    What I would be interested to know is which side is her stiff side in dressage, and which foot does that correspond to? Maybe I can discover a new grand unified correlation between foot stance and dressage sidedness!


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