The 50 mile race would be starting at 7 a.m. I set my alarm to wake up at 5:30, but I had such a great night sleep that I woke up at 5. After dressing and putting water on for coffee, I went out to give Rio his breakfast. Although I had gone to bed with a bright full moon, it was pitch black at 5 a.m. A lunar eclipse was happening. Beautiful! I was happy to see that Rio had ate all his dinner and drank quite a lot. I fed him his breakfast of grass hay, and then went inside to get ready.
In the last two endurance rides/races that we have completed this year, Rio has proven to me that his fitness level is to the point of finishing his last 10 miles as fast, or faster, than his first 10 miles. I feel that I am doing him justice and allowing him to be the exceptional athlete that he is by going a faster pace now that he has proven himself. He is either pulsed down upon arriving at a vet check, or within 4 minutes. He takes good care of himself, and his attitude is great!
For me, racing Rio to be in the top ten depends on a combination of things, including the pace of other riders, and how Rio is doing that day. On this particular day/race, Rio did great. A few horses passed us, but I did not try to keep up. They were going faster than I wanted to go. For at least 15 miles of the 25 mile first loop, it was just Rio and I on the beautiful trails in the hills behind Washoe Lake. Flying on the ground.
Rio and I had a great day. We finished in 6th place out of 72 starters. I showed him for BC (best condition), but his trot out was weak, and I was pretty sure that his points would not add up to win BC. (He did not win.)
When we were finished, Rio continued to take care of himself, eating his hay and grain with brief breaks to take gulps of water. One of the many perks of this ride is that there are hot showers! After taking a hot shower, I packed everything up as we would be driving home after the awards/dinner.
|Rio doing well after 50 fast miles. |
5.5 body score, ideal for an endurance horse.
The Nevada Derby I is the first of three competitions of the Triple Crown (all in Nevada -see link below.) The second race is the NASTR 75 mile at the end of May, and the third and final race is the Virginia City 100 at the end of September. At this point, I do not have the Triple Crown as a goal; however, I am planning on doing the NASTR 75 because the timing works for me as a conditioning ride for Tevis. If we have a successful finish at NASTR, then the Triple Crown will be an option. Rio and I entered and finished our one and only V.C. race in 2007, and we have not attempted it since. I would like to attempt it at least one more time, but I'm not sure if it will be this year.
Next race: NASTR 75 miles at the end of May. Happy trails to all, whether you ride a horse or not. My advise: just get out there. We live in a beautiful world.
Triple Crown/NASTR: http://www.aerc.org/Calendar/2015NASTR.pdf