I have been trying to sort through my thoughts to do a Post ride entry in the blog. I guess I should pick up where I had really left off, heading to the awards. Our class, Open Heavyweight is always the last to be announced. And the Horse is last, after the Horsemanship awards. We had started seven in our class, but Don had to pull Sunday AM to take his daughter and her horse, and trailer home after she had a bad weekend. She got broadsided in her truck Thursday near camp, so her truck was totaled, then she and her horse had an accident on the trail, and both were hurt. Thankfully it was not worse, and both will heal and be on the trail again. But, we were down to six in our class, and ribbons are given to 6th place. Just like many horse shows, they announce 6th, then 5th, etc. on up to 1st. So, I am sure I am like many riders who sit there hoping to not hear our names early. As they went through the Horsemanship placings, I was hoping to hear my name for 2nd place, as another rider, James Keene has been trying for a National Horsemanship award. I wanted to see him get 1st, which was just what happened. Then, through all the Novice horse awards, working to our class. As they started on our class, I found myself shaking. I knew Hank had a pretty good ride, but I was not sure how good. James and his mare, Sassy, have won the Presidents Cup twice, and are a VERY nice team. As they announced 3rd, and neither of us had been called yet, I was an emotional wreck. If I won 1st, I would know right then and there that we won the Presidents Cup. Winning 2nd meant I needed to wait for Cheri to call me, and tell me how her ride went in MO. so we could figure points. If she Sweepstaked, we would be tied, and then had to compare who had more 1st places, which we were tied, and then it would go to most 2nd places, which she had more. Anyway, the vet was announcing the awards, and she messed with us some, kind of delaying announcing 2nd. James had a hold of my hand,and I was about to burst. When Hank was announced for 2nd, I had to explain to those who were not aware of what was at stake, why all the fuss. The awards were just wrapped up, when the phone rang from Cheri. I ran outside of the building to answer the call. I was talking way too fast, overly emotional, and not able to take much more. I just wanted to know NOW how she placed. Poor Cheri. I know she was not expecting to get THAT on the other end of the phone. So, when she told me how she placed, and I did not hear the word sweepstakes, I of course started to cry, knowing Hank had won. She kept telling me not to cry. (sob-sob-sniff-sniff) The connection was not terrific, and we cut it fairly short so I could go back in and let those still in the building know. James came out and met me, and I could barely squeak out that we had won. Lots of hugs, congratulations, and a bit of a blur.
As I was walking back to the rig to hug on Hank, I felt this odd feeling come over me. I still can not really put it in words. Kind of a calm release of emotions. The tension was released. From about May, until this ride, I had been constantly thinking about the next ride, then next ride, all aiming towards year end goals. Now it was over. Hank was munching, oblivious to all he accomplished.
I'm happy with how he is looking after those last 6 rides in 7 weeks.
I finished packing, said a few more good-byes, sent Text messages to Hanks fan club, and finally started my drive home. Thankfully that was uneventful, since we had massive thunder and lighting storms all scattered around Texas, and bursts of heavy rain. Got the horses home, put blankets on them as a cold front was coming in, and headed to bed.
Yesterday I spent the day doing very little. It was weird to not be cleaning and repacking the camper and trailer for another ride. Still kind of an odd feeling and emotions. I have still been thinking about the rides we did, re-riding some of the trails in my mind. As I was walking to the barn in the dark, I had a memory of some of the late walks I took Hank on after his surgery to graze him. Still amazed at what he accomplished. Although he is still difficult at times, and very opinionated. I'm sure that will not change, even with another 1000 miles of competition.
Today I went out in the pasture, and snapped some photos of Hank with his pasture mates. He was happy to be grazing, and have some well earned mud on him from a good roll.
Thelma also had a good roll.