The night before, there would have been another riders meeting with another map issued, if different. Early in the morning, the vet judge and sometimes the horsemanship judge will check each camp, looking for safety problems and checking the health status of horses. The vet judge will look for sore and lame horses, including galls from poor fitting tack. The judge may also ask the rider for a lameness check trot out. Any horses failing the vet exam will be pulled from the ride.
Day 2's ride will be similar to the first day. Your final vet check will be about 45 minutes after you have timed into camp. While you will probably be exhausted, it's important that you take time to clean up your horse. Take a damp sponge to his face, under his tail, and other sweaty spots. Brush excess dirt off, and pick out feet if needed. Don't remove the saddle too quickly, let the skin adjust to the release of the rider weight first. Removing a saddle too quickly can cause rebound swelling in the back and girth area.
The first rider is sponging off her horse while waiting to take off her saddle.
The second rider is finishing her clean up after removing the saddle.
The final vet check evaluation will be critical in determining a horse's soundness. You will lose points on lameness (different degrees are noted and judged accordingly); dehydration, slow capillary refill, soreness in the withers/back/loin/girth/breastcollar areas. New cuts, bruises, abrasions or swellings will be noted.
After this final vet check, congratulate yourself and your horse on finishing the ride! You are now officially out of competition, and all that is left is the awards ceremony. At the awards, you will receive your judging cards. Use your cards to see what skills you need to improve for the next ride, and where your horse needs more work in conditioning, manners or training. For my husband and myself, our goal is to beat our previous ride score.
The culmination of years of practice and rides results in first place horse and rider for both alaskan rides in 94.
A 60 mile Open Division and a 40 mile Competitive Pleasure Division.
Like to see pictures from one of your rides on these pages? Email me and I will try and get it up!
Region 4 Benefit Ride, June 12-13,'99; and Horsemasters Ride, April 25-26,'99