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Singles – 12 mile – Sunday July 16

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Aaron Mowrer Arazi (Half Arab) 379
2 Jac Deweese Cake (Arab) 377
3 Jack Shea Lee (Canadian) 317

Endure for the Cure – 2006

By Jac Deweese

Saturday came with temperatures in the 90’s and Sunday was expected to be even hotter. By noon I had all my chores done and the trailer loaded. All that was left was to load Cake and get under way to East Peoria.

Jack Shea had called on Friday and we had agreed to try and get to the camp at about 6PM. We had discussed what preparations to make for the trip due to the heat. We each planned to give electrolytes before the trip and thought it would be a good idea to stop about half way to see if our horses would accept water. In my case, I hung a feeder with very wet beet pulp in the trailer for Cake. I don’t think he ate anything while moving but I did note that he slurped up some of this feed and water every time we stopped.

Both our horses, Cake and Lee, arrived hot but in good condition. Cake actually vetted in that evening, Lee waited until morning.

We were pleasantly surprised to find another driver, Aaron Mowrer, present for the drive on Sunday. Aaron is a rider who has an interest in driving and this would be his first driving event. Although a novice at distance driving, his horse, Arazi, is an experienced endurance horse who has adapted well to driving. Aaron is driving a homebuilt carriage which proved quite adequate on this trail.

After a pleasant visit with Jack and his daughter, Sarah, we all turned in about 10PM. At 5AM the camp was alive with activity. The first riders were out at 6AM and the drivers started at 7AM. It was a clear day with the promise of extreme heat, but the early start had us on the trail while the temperatures were still pleasant, although the humidity was near 100%. Due to the temperature and humidity we were allowed to sponge freely and given 2 hours and 10 minutes for the 12 mile route.

The order of go was Jac & Cake, Aaron & Arazi, and Jack & Lee. (Sarah volunteered to take some pictures which can be viewed in the photos section.)

I told Aaron that he would probably pass me, since Cake has an aversion to water and we had, if I counted correctly, 8 water crossings. We head down the trail at 7AM and after about ¼ mile we approach the 1st water crossing. Cake behaves pretty much as I expected and it takes a while to convince him that getting his feet wet won’t kill him. But we are successful and after another ¼ mile we approach the second crossing. Although a little less reluctant he is still not comfortable. We then enter a long section of tree-lined, cinder trail and the sunlight is brilliant, at times almost blinding. This section is level and a very pleasant drive. At the end is another water crossing over a concrete spillway. Again Cake is reluctant, but we manage to stay on the concrete. On the other side is a sign to turn around. As we are turning, Aaron and Arazi come up and we allow them to pass. (I’m hoping that Cake will be more willing to cross the water following another horse but that proved not to be the case.)

We manage to keep Aaron and Arazi in sight as we return and then turn in to a prairie. I want to keep Cake’s attention and allow Aaron to get well ahead of us. He is completely out of sight before we leave the prairie. The dew on the tall grass and hanging from the bushes glints brilliantly in the sunlight. We are enjoying the drive and frequently meet riders. Everyone is enjoying the morning and there is light bantering between the riders and drivers. Before I leave the prairie I note that Jack & Lee have come into the prairie and seem to be moving easily.

We leave the prairie, head down the cinder track and are soon back at a water crossing. I hope to get Cake to stop and perhaps drink, but his attitude is “I’ll go through this stuff but there is NO WAY that I’m going to stay in it!” Drinking and sloshing attempts are aborted.

Now we turn off the cinder trail and into the woods, up a fairly long but gentle hill and into another prairie. It is getting warmer and I’m trying to determine a strategy to conserve Cake’s strength and energy. We walk a good portion of the prairie, when I finally decide on the strategy of trotting through the sun light and walking in the shade. (I later find that this is a strategy used by some of the endurance riders.) Unfortunately, I conceived this strategy too late and walked too much in that upper prairie. I suddenly find myself running out of time and I hadn’t reached the two mile marker.

I ended up trotting more than I had planned toward the end of the drive and came in 10 minutes over my ideal time. I did see Aaron again as we returned for the final pass around the 1st prairie. He came in 13 minutes ahead of his ideal time. Those endurance horses are hard to slow down!

I again saw Jack & Lee as I was leaving the prairie for the last time. Although I repeatedly tried to get Cake to stop and drink at the water crossings he totally refused to drink. He did reach down to smell the water a couple of times, but couldn’t be convinced to drink.

Once the harness was off he readily drank from a bucket as I sloshed him with a sponge. I was pleased that he seemed calm and relaxed at the end and for once, his trot out was excellent.

We had a terrific day! The drive was topped off with a cold towel and a cold bottle of water for the drivers and riders. April Hammer really knows how to make you appreciate her event!

1st place went to Aaron Mowrer & Arazi with 379 points

2nd place was Jac Deweese & Cake with 377 points

3rd place was Jack Shea & Lee with 342 points