Sunday at Oktoberfest

So we had made the decision on Saturday that I would not be riding on Sunday, and that instead my sister would take Bentley out in the 12 mile.  Lee had gone home for the night and was scheduled to arrive with her at 10am so she could groom him and tack him up.  Linda was prepared to do her first 50 mile ride, so this worked well too as I could crew for her on most checks.

Linda started her day early and fed both the horses.  I slept in until a whopping 6:45 when I decided I should go out and about to make sure Linda got off to a good start and that Bentley didn’t try and escape when Sable left camp.


I busied myself by tidying the RV and getting Bentley’s scorecard copied over.  I kept checking on Bentley who behaved himself in his stall, but clearly wanted to go for another ride.  Every time he heard me mulling about the campsite, he would poke his head out and look at me as if to say “are you ready to ride yet? How much longer are you going to make me wait!”

Linda came in from her first loop in about an hour and a half.  Of course, a huge smile on her face, one of the many reasons crewing for her is almost as much fun as riding the trails yourself!

Heather and Lee arrived LATE.  I was starting to get worried because there wasn’t much time to tack and clean up.  I ended up brushing him myself for the most part (and it didn’t hurt as much as I expected).  While Heather finished the job, I gave her the lowdown on the rules, the trail conditions and his behaviour.  She was happy to hear he could be trusted for the most part.

By this point he was pretty darn excited to have that saddle on again.  While he was good to tack up, he got a little silly and wouldn’t stand for mounting… or any point after that.  Heather did her mounted trot out for the vets (to make sure he hadn’t gotten sore overnight) then she and Amber were off!  I dearly hoped she remembered all the instructions and tips I fired off at her.

Maybe half an hour, 45 mins after she hit the trail, Linda came back from her second loop.  Lee and I had used that time to muck the paddocks and prepare fresh food for both of the horses.  Linda did all her own electrolyting and vetting so it was pretty smooth overall.

Then Heather came in after about 20 minutes of Linda’s hold and we raced over to meet her and get Bentley down.  He came down to somewhere between 56 and 60 almost immediately (they had walked in).  But again, the excitement caused him to stay there for a while until we said… ok we think its close enough and he passed about 8 or 9 minutes after their in time.  Both Heather and Amber were grinning as they came in.

“How was your ride Heather”  “Great, we had so much fun and its beautiful”  and then very quickly and quietly “oh and there was an unexpected dismount”  AS IF I WERENT GOING TO HEAR THAT!  “Were there other horses in front of you?” “yeah”  “was he acting silly”  “a bit”  “your reins weren’t short enough were they?”  “Uhhhhh”  Yes he had given a bit of a buck, half a mile into the trail, just after the driveway where I had instructed them to walk.  Sounds like the same experience I had the day before, only I didn’t trust him with his head until after the horses were clear.

Luckily Heather landed in the trail which is sandy and not a tree.  Her arm was a little sore but she seemed ok and had gotten through loop 1 and was game to do loop 2.  Also, Bentley didn’t take off after those horses who seemed to bother him so much and other than walking a few steps away from heather when she got up, he stayed with her.  Very happy I didn’t have to test that out myself, who knows what that would have done to my back!

They went out on loop 2, and for a while I got to hang out and catch up with Diane who was crewing for another 50 first timer.  Turns out her and Linda ended up riding most of the trail and finishing together (along with Tracey too)

Heather came in again before Linda (she was only riding a 6 mile loop instead of 12) as they decided to do a faster 2nd loop to get Bentley working (and hopefully tire him out!)  Well he did look pretty tired when he came in.  No heavy breathing and pulsed down very quickly, but was looking a little quiet and sleepy.  Good! He passed the pulse easily and after 10 minutes from her in time, Lee counted him at 12 beats per 15 second count (48bpm) 

Somewhere between the parameter pulse and the scored pulse Linda came in and I rushed off to help her while Lee and Heather took Bentley to do final vetting.  Of course Linda passed with flying colours yet again.

I asked Heather what Bentley got, and she was disappointed to announce 56bpm (which only earns her a grade 5 completion)  We had to remind her that she rode him, he met parameters (even beyond!) and that she did her job correctly.  If he got excited again during the final scoring and brought his pulse back up, she had done all she could and it wasn’t her fault, just a reality of a young green horse.  Chances are it didn’t help that Sable came in at that time.  I could hear him calling to her across the pulse area.  They aren’t too attached yet, but enough that it could cause some issues for sure.

I asked Heather what her time was, and she remembered it being 2:05 so we looked at the sheet I had made up and she was a little disappointed to find out that at best she would have only earned a grade 3 after what felt like a speedy ride.  The slow pulse down at the hold certainly attributed to that.  I showed her the other times, and after she realized it was literally a minute difference between columns, she kind of got it.

Rick showed up about an hour after Linda had went out for her last loop, and waited around with us for her to finish.  We had moved Bentley into Sables electric paddock at that time and Lee put away the borrowed panels of Bentleys paddock.  At one point Bentley had discovered he could break the twine holding the panels to the trailer, open the panels up, and scurried over to sables paddock to get into her food bucket.  Escape one paddock to get into another?  Hmm.  Weird horse.

We continued to clean up campsite while we waited.

Linda came in and I ran over to greet her and help her cool down.  In fact, she arrived just in time for dinner.  So once she had vetted out, I immediately took over Sable so she could go eat. 

I think it was around this time Lee told me “I think Bentley is 007”  Oh?  Then Lee explained to me how Bentley was wandering around the electric paddock, looking for a place to roll.  Found a spot right beside the fence and proceeded to roll under the wire and onto the other side.  His second escape of the day!  And from 2 different types of enclosures.  Lee also was very sure that this escape was planned based on the way he analyzed each spot before he followed through with the roll.  Wait, didn’t Sable just do that by accident at the last training ride?  Hmmm. They must be swapping stories in the trailer.

Lee became a horse post after that as Bentley could no longer be trusted anywhere.

Heather  came back from the awards.  She had remembered her time wrong by 10 minutes and was happy to know that she COULD have earned a grade 1 had the heart rate been 44 below, so the grade 5 wasn’t so bad anymore. 

We then proceeded to horse post both the horses while Rick and Lee took down the paddock and the rest of the campsite.  Linda was still at dinner and awards so we decided to start loading the horses.  For those who read this that aren’t horsey, here is a special treat:

Yes that’s what a horse looks like when its ready to go in a big metal box.

Loaded Bentley first, who was being quite a brat.  He had gotten his second wind by this point and was likely disappointed that he didn’t get to live in the Dufferin and ride on trails forever.  He planted his feet and wouldn’t budge.  Lee got the whip out and gave him some light encouragement, gradually increasing because he clearly didn’t care.  Then with a tug of the lead, he decided, nope, I’m not going, twirled on his hind, kicked out at lee and dragged me off the trailer with my sore back.  Grrr.  He did this one more time til I got mad, gave him a good growl and snap that head to me so he could see I meant business, then his usual punishment of disengaging the hindquarters.  I have a very scary growl.  I think I must have scared the neighbors even.  Who cares.  I walked him up to the trailer and could barely get out of the way fast enough as he practically self loaded.  Yes!!

Sable couldn’t have been happier to get on.  After her first 50, the trailer was a welcome sight and she practically dragged us on with her.  Linda came back at this time and we were ready to go.  How smooth was that?!

Oh and we recorded our distance home, 85 km, only 5km farther than Linda rode!

Of course, the horses at home were very interested in the stories Bentley had to share and he strutted around his paddock like something really special.  I think he is too 🙂



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