On the weekend I went to the terrific Moyston Endurance ride extreamly excited to do my first 80kms on my beautiful boy Talieb. I have been training so hard for this ride and was excited to see how my boy would cope with the longer distance. A few weeks ago he did 60kms over 2 days, 40kms of which my fiancé Daniel rode him. He carried Daniels weight and heavier saddle easily around the course. He pulled up beautifully and I was very confident that his fitness was coming along nicely.
We arrived at the ride on Friday and vetted through well. Saturday morning the ride started at 5.30am. Talieb was on fire, I could hardly get on him, he was ready to go! The first 40kms went really well. He had never been ridden with a head torch in the dark but this didn’t faze him at all. I rode with 2 other girls and the 3 of us were cruising along nicely together. At each check point there was lucerne hay which was fantastic for the horses. I got off at each check point and gave him plenty of time to eat and drink, which he did beautifully! I was so happy with him, at previous rides he has not wanted to drink out on course, and I was so happy that he was taking care of himself at this ride. It also showed me he was nice and relaxed.
We vetted through the first 40kms great. I took him back to his yard where he had a nice feed and a pee and a drink. I saddled him up for the second 40kms, thinking he might have lost the will to live, but he hadn’t! He was once again raring to go! Talieb felt fantastic in the second 40km, I was honestly waiting for him to get tired and run out of energy…but he didn’t! At about the 60km mark Talieb hit a stone and took a few dodgy strides. I panicked but after 3 strides he was ok. I thought it must of just stung him for a bit but that was it. With 10kms to go I started getting nervous, he felt good but I just wanted to get home and get him vetted through. The last check point was 2kms to home. I once again got off and gave him time to eat and drink. Once I got back on I knew something was wrong. He was stepping short. My heart sank. I came into camp and Tracey saw him coming in, he looked fine to most people but I knew he wasn’t right. We took him back to camp to strap him and I had my massage man run his hands over Talieb. I told him I was worried about him and that he had stood on a stone earlier in the ride. I trotted him out and yep, sure enough he was lame. I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe it. I was so proud of Talieb and how well he went in his first 80kms but couldn’t help but feel like it was my fault and I had hurt my pony. I love him more than words can say, and the last thing I want to do is see him sore, especially as a result from a ride.
The vets at the ride couldn’t pin point where he was sore. He was bright and eating and drinking was there was something sore on his near side front. We gave him anti inflammatory and kept him confined. The next day he was looking better, but I thought drugs probably hadn’t worn off yet. I had my experienced endurance vet come out and have a look at him Monday. When he was trotted out and lunged in the round yard he was perfect….not lame what so ever!! What a relief!! I have no idea why he looked like he had a broken leg in the vet ring, we are guessing he was foot sore. Talieb is ridden in hoof boots so maybe he just started feeling it after 80kms. His feet are a bit soft at the moment with all the rain so that stone could of been enough for him to go ‘ouch’!! The course was also more concussive than it looked, maybe he jarred up. Being a young horse I have been told these things happen. Endurance is a huge test of character and Talieb wasn’t the only one who sooked it on the weekend, I was completely devastated!! I cried for 2 days straight! You have to take the good with the bad with horses, I have had amazing luck with 3/3 Quilty buckles but you never stop learning. I have learnt what not to do the hard way and me and my horse will hopefully be better and stronger from this experience!
On a positive note Talieb’s fitness and energy was fantastic! He didn’t even look like he had just run 80kms. He didn’t drop weight, he was bright and still full of energy! You should of seen him Monday at a flat gallop in his field!! Little sh** I wanted to kill him!!! He got over his “broken leg” pretty quick!! I’m just so happy he’s feeling good. Lets hope next time we have better luck.
Moyston endurance ride is one of the best rides I have been to. It is well run and has terrific camping facilities. If you are planning to come along and have a look at an endurance ride, or try one out for yourself the State Championships are being run at Moyston in September, it would be worth going to and having a look! Or come and try out the 20 or 40kms!