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Racing the Wild Coast – Movie Coming Soon!

Do you have goosebumps yet?

In October 2016, team riders Sarah and Rose rode in the inaugural Race the Wild Coast from Port Edward to Kei Mouth in South Africa.  Throughout the race, they and ten other riders were filmed on their journey… the product of which will be coming soon to your screens!  Stay tuned here and at the Rockethorse site and we will keep you informed of the release date as it becomes available!

What was it like to be filmed while riding this epic race?

 

Sarah and Asad being filmed during vetting later in the race. Photo courtesy of Rockethorse Racing.

“I am not going to lie, I avoided the film crew at first.  I was worried that taking time to interview with them on my holds would slow down my vet checks – and having efficient vet checks and horse changes was my strategy for the race.  Any time I saw them approaching I would make myself busy… fussing over my horse or my pack.  Once I had my routine down later in the race, I took some time to let them in.”

-Sarah

Sam and Monde catch up to Sarah. Photo courtesy of Rockethorse Racing.

“We would be riding on a goat track the edge of a cliff with a hundred metre drop straight to the ocean.  Then we would hear the whip whip whip sound of the helicopter approaching and just think ‘oh crap, what is coming next?’  ‘don’t spook, don’t spook, don’t spook’ and of course ‘don’t look at it you fool, they told you not to and wave at the cameras.  Slap a smile on your face and pretend that your chafed damp legs aren’t stinging like a thousand wasps got in your pants.  You are having fun remember?’  Later in the race when I was alone fighting to keep Asad moving, the familiar sound of the chopper told me that Sam and Monde were closing in.  It was a telltale sign that something exciting was about to happen.”

-Sarah


Jamie following Rose on her second horse Eclipe into a vet check. Photo courtesy of Rockethorse Racing.

“My headlamp turned out to be water resistant, not ‘swim rivers’ water proof.  The second morning, getting ready in the dark, I was quite happy to have the camera crew following me around with their bright lights.”

-Rose

“At a certain point, I found myself looking for the camera crew when something hilarious or frustrating was happening.  It started to feel like a natural extension of whatever it is that drives me to blog in the first place.  Sometimes when I’m trying to write a blog and reconstruct an event and find the right pictures, I think how much more convenient it would be if I just had a camera crew.  That said, I don’t like seeing myself in photos or on video.  Seeing myself on video, I can’t help wondering if I look that goofy all the time.

-Rose

 


And if you are feeling motivated and inspired by the video, why not apply for a spot in the 2018 race?

Can’t make it for one reason another?  Not to worry, Ashley will do it so you don’t have to.  Help her fundraising efforts by purchasing an ESRR tee or hoodie!

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You Can’t Ride With Me

“I can’t have them cleaning two riders off the ground” was all I could think as the freshly broken mare I was riding leaped and bucked and ran through the trees as branches pulled me every direction. I don’t know how I managed to stay on, perhaps it was the will from my previous thought, perhaps it was skill, or perhaps it was just because the trees were so dense there was nowhere to go. I do know how I stopped… the mare and I got wedged between chest high trees, fallen into a V shape. We were locked in like we were in the stocks.

Without any way to dismount or escape or even see the other riders, I sat and listened.  Silence made my stomach sick.  Not true silence, no, if anything the opposite.  I could hear her mother and sister screaming her name and crying, but she was silent.

I waited

and I waited

She is surely dead, I have killed this young girl.  

Perhaps only 30 seconds had passed since the initial wreck, but it felt like an hour before Makayla screamed “My leg, its broken” and wailed in agony.

She’s not dead, I haven’t killed her. It’s surely a miracle.

With the extra commotion, the mare surged through the downed trees and back onto the trail, I dismounted and approached.  Not close, just enough to alert myself to everyone and see.

Makayla was lying on the ground screaming and crying in an awkward lump, but she was alive, and was not a vegetable.


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Several hours earlier I had mounted the young mare who had been backed a handful of times in the pasture, with the intent of doing an easy 25 mile Limited Distance ride.  Ariel, Makayla’s sister also hopped on an equally green horse and we were accompanied by two experienced babysitter horses ridden by their Mother, Tara and Makayla.

This is where it’s important to note, Makayla declined to wear a helmet.

A few rodeos (from my mare) well stuck and 23 miles down the trail, things were going well.  We were close to the finish and the baby horses were now being called “broke”.

That’s when Makayla’s horse (one she had been riding for 13 years) spooked sideways and I watched her fall. The first thought in my mind “She’s not wearing a helmet”

She fell in my direction, and her horse spun around and ran into mine. She was already nearly beneath our hooves, and my mare panicked, with horses and forest blocking every direction, she bounced up and down on top of Makayla until I kicked her hard enough to bolt into the dense forest.

I watched the mare’s hoof hit Makayla’s bare head.  I will never forget it.  It haunts me.


There is a bright side to this story.

  1. Makayla wasn’t dead or a vegetable, she didn’t even have a concussion, the hoof must have just grazed her head.  As far as we know, she didn’t even have any broken bones (that we know of) and was able to ride the last 2 miles to the finish line… eventually.  She IS very sore and bruised.Image may contain: one or more people
  2. We were being crewed by a paramedic in their paramedic vehicle.  He literally drove down the trail (cleared some double track for us!) to our rescue and was able to properly check her.  He also took care of her for the rest of the day
  3. Makayla recognizes how incredibly lucky she is and has vowed to always wear a helmet.  She realizes that no matter how calm and steady your horse, accidents can happen to anyone.

So here is my vow, if you don’t wear a helmet, YOU CAN’T RIDE WITH ME.  No exceptions.  

 

 


Addition after original post: I have been asked why we would even consider taking a green horse out in competition.  Good question!  We were literally the only 4 riders entered that day and with crew and vets we were well set up to give the horses a positive training experience, so we took advantage.  We treated it like a training/pleasure ride, going slow, giving lots of breaks and of course, patience!

Be Careful what You Wish For

The winter time is a bit slow for us as the weather sometimes prohibits us from riding as much as we would like to and there just aren’t as many events going on.  This lack of excitement makes for some pretty boring blog posts (or quite interesting ones, as we desperately try to create content that you guys want to read). Well, knowing I had an upcoming post today, I told Sarah that something epic had to happen on our ride this weekend so that I’d have something good to write about.  We decided to ride up to the Mansfield ski hill to watch the skiers thinking if nothing out of the ordinary happened, it would at least make for something different. Little did we know….

It started off innocently enough. After not being able to ride Splash for about a week and half due to weather and my schedule not cooperating, I figured she’d be a little hot to trot (which she was), which lead to a bit of handwalking and ground work until she regained her brain back.  Dealing with anxious horses on footing which was slippery in spots was not something I wanted to be on her back for.

mansfield ski hill
The cute colourful herd we passed

Luckily up ahead was the massive uphill climb we’d have to do to get to the top of the ski hill. If you have never walked up this hill, you’d still appreciate its steepness if you drove up it.  Both Splash and Bentley were quite eager to get to the top, trotting away furiously.  Splash currently looks like she’s pregnant with twins and this caught up to her about halfway up the hill, where she slowed to a walk and calmly strolled up the rest of the way. When we reached the top, Sarah was chatting away with a driver who had pulled over to the side. As that driver pulled away, another was coming up the hill.

We waited for her to turn the corner into the cute little subdivision before we continued on our adventure.  As Sarah and I are chatting about the conversation between Sarah and the driver, we hear a loud CRASH! We look over and the car that had just turned the corner had rammed her little hatchback into the snow bank. Sarah and I looked at each other trying to figure out what we could do to help. As the driver got out of the car, we rode over and asked if we could call anyone for her.  She said not to worry. This was the second time she had done this today. (Who does that!?)  She had been distracted looking at our horses and just kept turning the wheel.  The nose of the little car was jammed in the snow bank really well and there was no way we were going to be able to push her out.  Once we established everyone was ok and that there wasn’t anything we could do, we continued on our ride.

mansfield ski hill
My stealthy attempt at getting a picture of the car in the snow

We reached a spot on the hill where we could see the skiers and at first the horses were quite content and interested to watch these human-like things glide by. Eventually Bentley had had enough and we continued on our trek. As we passed by the scene of the earlier accident, there were a number of people with shovels and trucks attempting to help get the car unstuck.  After some groundwork and leaving the excitement behind, Bentley came back to earth and the rest of our ride was pretty uneventful.

Some lovely views and a little boogie around the fields made for a great way to end the ride.  Sarah and I were both excited to see the current baseline of fitness that our horses have despite not really being able to work much this winter.  Long walks in the deep snow have really helped that. The horses are shedding so here’s hoping spring is on the way shortly!

mansfield ski hill

Shore to Shore Pioneer Ride

With February fast approaching, many riders (including the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team) is busy planning the upcoming 2017 competition season.

We are proud to announce that the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat team will be participating in the Shore to Shore endurance race in Michigan this summer.

The Shore to Shore ride takes place on the Michigan Shore to Shore Trail. This trail is 350 km long and rungs between Empire on Lake Michigan to Oscoda and Lake Huron.  This trail is only open to hikers and horseback riders and there are a number of equine campgrounds along the trail.

shore to shore trail

The Shore to Shore race does not take place in an exotic location but is exciting in its own way. Due to costs and other factors with transporting horses overseas, many of the ultra endurance races like the Mongol Derby or Race the Wild Coast provide horses for you (note horses). This time we will be using only one horse, our own, to complete the course.

Our crew will be essential to our success. Camp will move daily as this is a point to point race so we will need someone to drive the trucks and trailers to the new locations and set up camp. The vet checks are also at different points along the trail so our crew will have to meet us at each one to assist in cooling down the horses and preparing them for the veterinary checks. If anyone is interested in crewing for us, we aren’t going to say no! If you are looking at getting into the sport of endurance/distance riding, this will be a great hands on opportunity.

 

Here are a few videos showing what parts of the trail look like:

 

https://youtu.be/2dry_2nUiaE https://youtu.be/2dry_2nUiaE

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVfIiR8G7PM

 

This blog written by someone who has hiked the trail has absolutely gorgeous photos of the scenery along the trail. http://ericshikes.blogspot.ca/2016/11/michigan-shore-to-shore-trail-mckinley.html   We cannot wait to ride in this race!

 

Like anything of this nature, this will not be a cheap endeavour.  Please visit our online store to purchase Eat Sleep Ride Repeat gear to help us fund our team to get to this ride.  If you are interested in sponsoring the team, please contact Sarah or Ashley at cuthbertson.sarah@gmail.com or ashley.tomaszewski@live.com for more details.

Jingle All The Way

It all started out last weekend when Sarah and I set out to discover some new trail she had found on Google maps.  When it turned out to be a dead end, we decided to ride down the road a little ways to see if there was another entrance.  As we were riding along, we came across a sign on the trail.

jingle

Naturally, curiosity got the best of us and we continued down the road with bets on what could possibly be up ahead. Was it a party or just someone providing motivation for whoever travelled this back road? A few miles up at the next intersection was a sign for Laura’s Christmas Trees in the same font as our motivational sign.  At first this wasn’t very exciting but upon further reflection we put two and two together. Usually Christmas tree farms have hot chocolate and what a nice treat that would be after being out on the trail for a few hours.  We decided that upon getting back home that we could contact them to see if it was ok to bring our horses over for a visit.  Not only were they happy to have us ride the horses over, there was indeed hot chocolate.

jingle

Our ride started out innocently enough, with the only goal of the day being to ride to the Christmas Tree Farm. We found a quick way to get from one side of the Dufferin Forest to the other so it took no time at all to get to our destination. We were greeted by lots of smiles and gladly accepted a hot drink. Both Splash and Bentley were very well behaved with the new sights, sounds and people milling about.

jingle

Also, fun fact: how fitting that we rode to a Christmas tree farm on Christmas Tree Day. It must be legit because there is an actual Christmas Tree Day Act (https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/15c12)

Upon leaving Laura’s Christmas Tree Farm, we decided to continue down the back road to see where it led to. Seeing snowmobile trail signs, we figured it would lead to a trail system somewhere. Our travels took us down a very wet and muddy road allowance (which unfortunately also seemed to be an illegal dumping ground). Very sad as the area was quite pretty.  We eventually came to a T intersection and could see a trail system on the other side of a fence.  Looking closer, there was a trail on our side of the fence running along the road so naturally, we decided to follow the trail, wondering if there would be a break in the fence.  As we moved down the trail, we noticed that the signs on the fence were in both English and French, leading us to deduce that this must be some sort of government property. A short while later, an army vehicle passed us.  We had ridden all the way to base Borden! Once the trail on our side of the fence ended, we figured it was probably time to start heading home so that we could make it back before dusk.  Looking both ways at one of the intersections we crossed, we saw a little roadside stand, so of course we had to go check it out.

jingle

Some children were selling homemade Christmas crafts and more hot chocolate! After refuelling on more hot chocolate and chatting with them and their family, we were on our way again. Finding our way back into the Dufferin Forest, we played around a bit on the trails before making our way home.

For what was supposed to be a relatively calm ride, it was quite exciting and eventful. Even in the off season, it’s never a boring ride!

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Good Times in the Ganny

Our most recent competition was at the Summer’s End ride where we rode in ride n tie in the Ganaraska Forest. I’ve always enjoyed the Ganaraska trails.  They are well maintained, sandy trails with minimal rocks and with just enough hills to keep it interesting.

This ride was hosted by ESRR’s own Solstice Pecile and her family. I had previous commitments that weekend so I only rode in the 12 mile ride n tie as I need it to qualify for the provincial championships in October.

My regular ride n tie partner is my younger brother, who is a marathon runner however, my boyfriend has just gotten back into running and wanted to give it a try (and who am I to discourage my non-horsie significant other from coming to a horse competition, let alone ride in it). The big key thing here is he is not a fan of horses AT ALL. He has ridden my horse a few times before but it has been almost a year since he has ridden last. Luckily his strength is running and mine is riding so we each got to do the majority of what our interests were.

With the ride n ties, the only mandatory switch is at the halfway vet check so our strategy was to run/ride beside each other for the first 6 miles then while I cooled my horse off and did the vet check, Clayton would continue on running until the end.

One thing I really liked about this ride is the format in which they did the ride n tie. I really liked the idea of staggered start times. There is less congestion at the start of the race (when all horses and runners are starting together) and on the trail. You also really have to ride smart since you have no idea how fast the other teams are going.

It was rather hot and humid but the awesome ride managers put out a kiddie pool for people (which Clayton very much appreciated at the end of the run) and made sure there was ample water available for the horses.

For the first 6 miles Splash felt really lazy but it worked out so that we could stay with Clayton

At the first check it took a little while to get her heart rate down as it was quite warm and there’s a lot of muscle on my horse for the heat to escape through but we passed the check fine.  She seemed to realize what was going on now and really perked up for the second loop, where we cantered/galloped most of the way, only stopping at the water troughs for a quick drink and sponge off.

Even though Clayton had about a 15 minute head start on us going out of the second loop, we did manage to see him at a point along the trail where the trail loops back, which gave me a good indication of how far ahead he was of us.  We never did catch up to him but Splash and I managed to close the 15 minute gap down to about 7 minutes.  Overall, we completed the 12 mile/20km course in 1 hour and 57 minutes.

It was very nice to see so many kids out doing the 6 mile one with parents and/or siblings.  This is a great way to get your kids involved in horses and give them a goal to work towards while keeping fit (and it gets rid of all that excess energy they seem to have!)

Out of 3 teams, we finished first, about five minutes ahead of the team in second. While I was just out to get the miles, if anyone knows my boyfriend, you will know that he’s super competitive so I was happy that we won (so I didn’t have to listen to him grumble on the two and a half hour drive home!) Plus it makes him more excited to try these events again.

Our next event is this weekend at the Massie Autumn Colours ride where we’ll be doing another 12 mile ride n tie, this time with my younger brother.  Will we be able to beat the time from last weekend?

ride n tie

 

Natural Horsemanship Trade Show

  

On May 28 and 29, Eat Sleep Ride Repeat was in attendance at the inaugural Natural Horsemanship Trade Show. The event took place at Partridge Horse Hill in Pontypool, hosted by owner Lindsay Partridge. If that name sounds familiar, it is because she competed in the 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park. She won the competition aboard her thoroughbred horse “Soar”, earning the title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.
The Natural Horsemanship Association (NHA) is a not for profit organization with the goal to bring the natural horsemanship community together, and better promote it to new people. They offer coaching certification, a directory of members and host various shows throughout the year.
The NHA trade show consisted of clinicians speaking on many different aspects of horsemanship from training ideas to alternative therapies. There was also a number of vendors in attendance. 

  
The Eat Sleep Ride Repeat booth received quite a bit of attention with many people interested in our adventures and endurance/trail riding in general. It was great to see clinic participants wearing their newly purchased ESRR gear in their riding clinics (a testament to how cool our shirts are as the weather was incredibly hot and humid).

  
Overall the trade show was a success and we loved meeting a bunch of new faces! Hope to be back next year! 

Eat Sleep Ride Repeat podcast

I recently had the chance to sit down and be interviewed by Paula Slater from the Straight from The Horse’s Mouth radio show. On the podcast, Paula interviews “the most interesting people in the horse world” such as  equine artists, authors, entrepreneurs, inventors or alternative health care specialists.

In my interview with Paula, we discuss endurance riding and trail riding in general, a bit about me, the blog Eat, Sleep, Ride, Repeat and much more. You can listen to the podcast here: http://www.straightfromthehorsesmouthradioshow.com/83

or you can download it on ITunes.

“Listen to the stories of interesting people who have a unique perspective of horses. These are horse lovers who are striving to make the world a better place for horses and people through their art, services and products.”

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http://www.straightfromthehorsesmouthradioshow.com/home/