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Friday, August 28, 2009

Guest Blog - "Of Horses and Dust"

My sister "redgirl" has graciously written a post about her experience at the Tevis. This being the "non-horsey" sister, I found it rather entertaining. (OK - I admit it, I snorted coffee up my nose as I read this).

Redgirl's story:

Listen all ye, and listen well
I tell of two, a precarious ride
Take note! Take heed! Of Red and Gerbil!

"Of Horses and Dust"
Those horsey endurance ride thingies can be dangerous.

See, the horse people know this (or think they do), but it becomes a moot point because they don't care. I'm talking to the rest of humanity. The sane. The ones that go see a doctor when their Achilles tendon hurts more than is reasonably acceptable. (*cough* Mel *cough*)

You see, I was Master of Finishing Ceremonies. I had a vested interest in seeing that my rider made it to the finish line so that I could run onto the tarmac clapping furiously while simultaneously hollering "Sqeeee!! Sqeeee!!! Yay for Mel!! No Plumping, ya hear?!" and dancing an Irish jig. I was of two minds about this. One being that I would (of course) LOVE the opportunity to do and/or say something while having the confidence that Mel's dismount time would allow me chance for a getaway. The other side of my brain kept saying, "Are you nuts??!! Four o'clock in the morning??!!"

"Down!!" I shushed it. "Or I shall eat you with mushrooms and butter!!" I further quenched the voice through copious amounts of my mother's homemade ginger ale as the crew and I lounged under the awning at Forresthill. This is the life.

And it was the life. Until "Watch-Wearer", aka "Father" aka "Lord and Master" made an executive suggestion. "Bethany, why don't you and Gerbil (Aunt) go up to Chicken Hawk and take some pictures?"

Me: ""

That's when I found out it wasn't a suggestion.

It took Gerbil and I about 35 minutes to drive over to Chicken Hawk. I struggled with this. Chicken? Hawk? The Hawk was a chicken? Hawks taste like chicken? And Mel works for Foster Farms, soo.... Maybe it was like the Red-Tailed Hawk--in reality a turkey buzzard. So then, do Red-Tailed Hawks taste like turkey? Would dinner be turkey or chicken? When was dinner? Would there be dinner?

We pulled up and parked on the paved trail area a hundred or so feet from the entrance to the trail, ominously barricaded with cones and purple-shirted people. (read: volunteers) They waved us in. I checked my watch. According to the last known gate-and-go check in time of Melinda, we had 15 minutes.

Me: How far is it to the crossing point?

Them: Oh! Not far. <---cheerful...TOO cheerful

Me: Like...a mile? Half a mile? <----hopeful...TOO hopeful

Them: Oh, maybe half, three quarters <----LYING

Me: Oh! Okay! <----Sucker

Gerbil and I take off at a fast trot (trot! trot! See, I know horsey lingo!) and soon realize that it's at least a mile. With hills. And dust. We know this because we both know how long it takes for us to walk a mile, and we are capable of basic math. And logic. In our heads. That's right.

1 mi = 14 min 27 sec

Red and Gerbil's time = 15 min

=Red and Gerbil have walked a mile.

Red and Gerbil have not yet sighted the end.

=d > mile

The end gambit consisted of vets, then pulse-ers, then horse's front ends, then their hind ends. Angry people.Tired people. Muddy people. Ack! Mud! Clocking people. No people.

It was at this last area we decided to wait for our rider. We knew her horse color: Brown. We knew her hair color: Blond. Her Jersey color: White. What more could we ask for?

Try: chairs, less mosquitoes, and a time travel machine. Because, 367 horses later, we saw her. All of our previous practice cries to the other riders of "Yaaay!!! You made it!!! and No Plumping!!!! Go Foster Farms!!!" were in earnest now. I noticed right off an interesting and (to me) pleasing fact. My sister, usually hard-driven and scary looked frail, delicate, and dare I say; waif-like. This all no doubt due to her pale face and dark, sunken eyes. Of this I took many pictures, one in particular that Watch-Wearer and Horse-Butt-Masseuse both called the "hundred yard stare". I received this stare myself when attempting to get too close with my camera. Think spine-chilling with a bit of quivering fear tossed in.

She and the (brown) horse take off for on the next leg, and we begin our trudge back .

After 3 minutes, a white SUV comes by. He slooooowes waaay down, pops the window and yells: "I'd give you a ride...but the truck is stuffed!!!"

Geee, thanks for the sentiment. I'd cling to your bumper if it meant not walking back.

25 seconds later...big 1 ton flat bed work truck rolls up in a cloud of dust. I recognize one of the vets in the passenger seat. Driver yells: Want a ride?

Gerbil: Sure!

Me: (Already climbing on back giggling)

And vaROOOM! That beautiful brown truck takes off in a cloud of red mountain dust. Of course, we were going fast enough that we didn't have to breathe it. The other path-trudgers did. Driver-man did stop at one point to offer two older ladies the chance, but they said "it's not much further, we'll walk." As we drove the mile onward, I was thinking "silly people..."

Ahead I could see the T-off into the paved part of the trail. The truck sped get over the hump of asphalt.

Or so I thought.

They hit that paved part of the road operating at optimum drive train efficiency. At this point, I'm waving wildly with one arm, clamped firmly to the truck with the other screaming wildly in a shrill petrified voice "We're back here!! We're HERE!!! STOP!!"

Truck doesn't stop.

For this locus in my mental journey, I'm trying to accustom myself the the thought of Gerbil and I agglutinating with the metal bed as we flew at 65 down the highway, no doubt to be flung at some point into a tree or over the side of a 297 ft cliff.

Then I see the whites of now-terrified driver's eyes as he slams on the breaks. Gerbil "drives" (ha ha. Ha!) the point home by doing a 9.8 score backward somersault in the bed. I looked over, and we were stopped precisely next to the vehicle we arrived in. Success!!

Driver leaps out of truck. "I'm sorry, I'm sooo sooorry!! I just forgot...I'm sorry...(repeat)...Don't tell anyone!!!" I'm on an adrenaline high right now, and bonus is the fact I don't actually have to walk to the car. "I'm good! Thanks, for the ride and all. Good thing we had a vet on board, eh?" He finally gets back into his truck. The vet never did get out, and after the initial offer of ride, has made an obvious conscious effort not to make eye contact.

First thing back? We told everyone.

My ultimate forgiveness rested in my action of pretending I didn't notice him at the next stop, right after he affected not to notice me.

Cheers for the Tevis!


  1. I an envious. I just have a working crew. I dont have a personal "sqee squee" cheerleader.

  2. Yay! I have caused a coffee snort!

  3. atleast your "nonhorsey" sis is willing to "play " along, if for no other reason than the shear entertainment factor of seeing her sister become "waiflike"

  4. Redgirl LOVES to people watch. She's the social one of the family. I bribe her to go to these events with the promises that there shall be many many interesting people to watch....

  5. ...maybe I'll post the waiflike pic on my blog for comments...


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