Cheshire CTR is held near Unionville, Pa. Just west of Philadelphia. Awesome, hunter/jumper country. Beautiful rolling hills, old-money type of farms. Big stone homes and stables. Makes me wish I lived there too. Just to have those hills to condition on would be awesome.
Anyways, I traveled the 2 hours and 20 minutes south from my home, with Saturn loaded on the trailer. I don't have an LQ trailer, or even a camper for my truck. I was sleeping in my truck for this ride. I left on Saturday after work. Around 3:00p.m.
We got to base camp with no problems and I set up camp. There were only 9 rigs that camped over night, so we had premium parking. In this HUGE grassy field. The grass there is already 6 inches high, so Saturn had good eats for the night. He was happy.
Before leaving home, I had checked my email one last time, and recieved an email from my friend Dodie. She couldn't make it due to her truck dieing, and asked if I could help out the people she was supposed to meet there and ride with. No problem.
After a night of tossing and turning in the cab of my truck, and not being able to get comfortable, I was glad when my alarm went off at 6:00a.m. I got up and fed Saturn his breakfast of mash, with some powdered elytes mixed in. And a side of carrots.
Then took myself off for the long walk to the port-a-pottys. Came back and had my bagel for breakfast.
Since I had vetted Saturn in Saturday night when I got there, I had little to do but wait. Checked my saddle for any last minute things that I forgot.
Then this lady calls my name, and I find out it's Carol, the lady that was supposed to be riding with Dodie. Her husband Fernando is the one who is riding. So I told them the basics, what to expect and when. Told them they could put there hold stuff with mine, since I was parked right next to the hold area, we would just come to my trailer for our hold.
Ride meeting was informative. Blue loop for the first, pink for the second. Very straightforward.
There were 5 riders in our group leaving out. The others quickly got ahead of Fernando and I. I was keeping our horses at a nice trot, as Fernando's horse Zach was keyed up. He wanted to race off with the others.
Once the others were out of sight, Zach and Saturn settled in nicely together. They are both tall, bay arabs and paced very well together.
The trails here are awesome. Great footing. Mostly bridle paths and single track through the woods. LOTS of those rolling hills. The views are amazing too. Nothing but horse pastures. Full of big T-breds and Warmbloods. No arabs in those pastures. LOL There were two big river crossings, great for cooling off the horses. And a beautiful old covered bridge to go through. Horse hooves sure echo loud in them.
And old stone foundations from houses long since abandoned. I love seeing these. I am a sucker for those old stone farm/country type homes.
Our first loop was a little over 14 miles, and I planned on it taking us 2 1/2 hours. Since it is a CTR, and a timed event, you have to plan accordingly. We came into the 30 minute hold right on the nose. 10 minutes to cool the horse down and go get our P&R's. Saturn, of course, was down to 44. He has awesome recoveries. I think Zach was at 52? Remember, it's his first ride.
We did our trot outs and were cleared to go. We went and grabbed a bite to eat, and let the horse drink and re-fuel themselves. They were both eating and drinking well. Both of them peed. I explained to Fernando the importance of the color, and what to watch out for. He has a lot to learn.
On the second loop, of almost 12 miles, the horse were much slower. We had 2 hours to finish the ride on time. Because they were tired, and I knew we had alot more hills to do, I told Fernando that we wouldn't finish the ride on time. But in CTR's that's ok, you still have an extra 30 minutes to finish to get your completion. We could have finished in time if I had wanted to push them, but with the hills, and a first time rider, why kill them? We moseyed on that second loop. We finished the ride with 5 minutes to spare, so we still got our completion! Yeah!
We went and took the tack off, spent our 20 minutes sponging them down and letting them nibble at the grass.
Then over to the vets for P&R's again. Saturn's final was a 46. Awesome. Zach's was a 56. Final trot outs went well, but the vet thought she saw something on Saturn's left front. It wasn't consistent, so he still recieved his completion. Possibly a stone bruise, he tends to get them easily. And he is due for new shoes. His back was slightly sore too. I have not been able to do all the hill training that I would have liked going into this ride, my bad. I have hills where I live, but nothing like the hills at this ride.
I was very pleased with his performance overall. I can't wait to try a 50 on this horse.
I believe that Fernando was happy with his horse. They had a tough first ride. Both he and his wife Carol are great people, and I think they had a good time. I hope I was good coach for him, and that he remembers everything I tried to teach him. He has a very good horse, that will do well in this sport if he chooses to continue. I had a great time at the ride.
The trails were marked very well. The atmosphere, from my point of view was relaxed and happy. Thank you to management, who even with the low number of entries, STILL put on the ride for us. Thank you very much. I'm glad I came this year. It's been a few years since I did the Cheshire, but I'm glad I came back. I'll be there again next year!