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Glacier Trails

Saturday Singles – 10 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Wes Licht Lena (Morab) 390
2 Katz Jackson Talon (Morgan) 380
3 Jac Deweese Scooter (Morgan) 367
4 Glenn Garbisch Akea (Pinto/Arabian) 359
5 Mary Clapper Benjamin (Rocky Mountain) 350
6 Claire Hill Carousel Classic (Haflinger) 250

Sunday Singles – 10 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Mary Clapper Benjamin (Rocky Mountain) 360
2 Jack Shea Kim (Canadian) 317

Sunday Pairs – 10 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Wes Licht Ranger & Lily (Morab) 352.5

Sunday Single – 20 mile

Place Driver Horse Points
1 Jac Deweese Scooter (Morgan) 319

Glacier Trails Diary– 2007

By Jac Deweese

The Midwest Distance Driving Association (MDDA) sponsors two drives that our members organize and manage.  “Glacier Trails” on Mother’s Day weekend is becoming an MDDA tradition enjoyed by endurance riders, limited distance riders, and competitive riders and drivers.  This year, one new division was added: the “Ride-Tie” event.  More about that later.

We (Scooter and I) left home at about 3:30 on Friday with the idea of being in time to assist with registering and vetting riders who would compete on Saturday morning.  We should have arrived at about 5:00 but with unexpected road work we arrived much closer to 6:00.

I noticed a number of trailers, but little activity around the registration table.  It turned out that Dr. Ketover had experienced some trouble with his truck and had to stop for repairs.  As a result there had been no vetting.  At about 7:00 the vets arrived and we vetted about 45 horses between 7 and dark.  I’ve never seen vetting performed so quickly and yet with great care.  This was accomplished with the assistance on another vet, Marnie Gamm, who was brand new to the sport.

The only other driver to arrive on Friday was Mary Clapper with her husband Larry and friend Bonnie.  We didn’t have much chance to visit on Friday.

After a quick supper I was ready to retire at 9:30.  Although the temps were on the chilly side I was quite snug in my trailer and had one of the best nights ever at an event.

I awoke at 4:30 but felt really good, with a good nights rest.  Scooter was getting antsy and after mixing his breakfast and taking care of some of my needs I took him out for a walk about and a chance to graze.  We found Mary’s camp site, but there was no activity so we kept going.  I returned Scooter to his pen, fed him his breakfast and headed to the registration table.

After setting up the hold pen for the endurance riders I was off to assist Roger Houk with timing.  We got the endurance and competitive riders out on the trail and then helped ourselves to some excellent breakfast pie.  Then it was time to head out to the 1st vet check which was out of camp.

We set up a hold pen and then assisted Roger in timing everyone into the vet check.  This is always an interesting time because we are able to visit with the various crews and learn more about the sport.  The competitive riders have the same rules and scoring as we drivers.  But endurance and limited distance are distinctly different and interesting.

It’s soon time to head back to camp.  Some of the early endurance riders will be coming in shortly and I’ll check them in until Roger is able to return from the remote check point.  As I am timing I see drivers starting to arrive.  Wes Licht, Glenn Garbisch, Katz Jackson and Claire Hill come and I realize that we will indeed have a nice turnout.

Roger returns and I am fee to start getting ready for our drive.  Scooter gets to go out for another grazing period and then back to the pen while I attend the drive meeting.  The trail is as I expected and I agree to be the first out.  Wes will do the safety check and drive last or next to last.

I get hitched, present my turnout for inspection and after some discussion on my breeching I take a turn around the camp while I wait for my start time.  Scooter seems very calm and I anticipate a pleasant drive.  Finally the time arrives and we are on the trail.  I try to drive carefully because as the 1st out any missed turns will cause those following to make similar errors.

Scooter is moving easily and I allow him to choose his pace.  It is soon evident that he wishes to trot through the heavy sand and up the hills.  He is perfectly willing to walk down the steeper slopes.  This suits me perfectly and we settle in for a pleasant afternoon drive.

I note where the two mile marker is located and continue on without much concern.  We are essentially alone on the trail with all of the drivers following.  The riders are now on the west side from camp and so I am able to just enjoy the scenery and the ebb and flow of Scooter’s pace.

At about 4 miles we come to our first road crossing.  Scooter is a gentleman and stops then waits quietly for the command to walk on.  Another mile and we are at the second road crossing and the water tank.  I offer Scooter the chance to drink which he refuses and we cross the road.  We are in the pines and it is pleasantly cool.  We’ve traveled only a short distance when I notice a pink and white flag.  As I focus on it I note a plate on the tree beside the flag and the notice “10 mile Drive Turn Here”.  I try to make a nice clear turn so that those following will at least see the wheel marks.

As I head back and across the road we have a second opportunity at the water tank.  Scooter is interested and sticks his head down in the tank and takes a drink.  I settle back and get out my own water bottle thinking this is a great opportunity to relax.  As Scooter is taking his drink there is a volley of shots.  Turns out the closest buildings to this crossing is a shooting range!  Although Scooter is used to shooting at home, this startles him.  In my relaxed state I am slow to recover and before I know it the hub of my wheel has caught the tank and overturned it.  This commotion doesn’t bother Scooter who is now totally in control.  Unfortunately, I can’t set the tank upright and get the water back in it!  We head off down the trail and immediately meet Mary on her way to the tank.  I inform her that the tank has been dumped and that she is about ½ mile from the turn around.

It turns out that my directions were not adequate.  Mary misses the turn around and as a result Glenn also misses it.  Both drive for an undetermined distance before turning.

A little later I meet Wes and inform him of the water tank.  He is more familiar with the trail and finds the turn around without incident.

Still further along I meet Claire who has Linda Hartman riding with her.  The point where we meet is difficult and Linda gets out to help guide Carousel Classic to the side of the trail.  I’m able to drive slightly off the trail and pass without incident.

I’ve now met all the drivers and assume I have the trail to myself for the return trip.  We are a little ahead of schedule and I encourage Scooter to walk more on the return trip.  I select the firm footing and relatively level sections of the trail to walk and allow Scooter to trot through the sand and up the hills.  We have just reached the two mile marker and are charging up one of the stony hills when I am startled to see riders ahead of me.  I immediately stop and realize that one of the riders is in a panic at being confronted with a cart.  We agree that I will hold Scooter as long as possible, but on a hill it is difficult for him to stand quietly.  We are able to give them some time to move down the trail before continuing at a walk.

I now ask Scooter to walk up the hills to minimize noise so that I can hear what is ahead.  After proceeding this way for about a mile I hear riders ahead of me again.  I stop and call out asking if everything is OK.  The answer is NO!  I have an unmarked trail leading off to the left and decide that going up that trail a ways will be the safest.  We walk quietly up that trail for ¼ to ½ mile and then find a suitable place to turn around.  Turning I proceed slowly back to the marked trail.  When I reach the junction I again call out to see if they have moved on.  With no reply I assume it is safe to go on.  After a short distance I come to an area with a small meadow and discover the riders dismounted and well off the trail.  I stop and speak to them to be sure everything is OK and warn them that there are 5 other carts coming down that same trail.  They thank me for the warning and I’m able to continue back to camp.

The incidents on the return trip took some of the pleasure out of the drive, but Scooter came in on time and in good condition.  Based on his condition I decided to try the 20 mile on Sunday.

All of the other drivers finished without serious incidents and we had a pretty good day.

Late Saturday afternoon we got to observe the Ride and Tie event.  This is a relatively new event in this area of the country.  The entries are composed of two athlete/riders and one horse.  In this case the distance was 12 miles and the horse must be tied two times as a minimum.  One athlete runs while the other rides.  At some point (in this case about ½ mile) the rider ties the horse to be picked up by the runner while he/she becomes the runner.  (One of the athletes had ridden the 50 mile endurance race that same day!)  Some choose to ride and tie while others simply ran beside the horse and traded places with the rider at intervals.  The ride and tie strategy should be faster, but it was interesting to note that all three teams finished within 15 minutes of each other.

After the awards and a super supper of barbecue and baked potato I was again ready for bed at 9:30.  Unfortunately the results were significantly different.  I had trouble sleeping although I was not uncomfortable.  The big problem was leg cramps some time in the middle of the night.  The cramps were in both legs and lasted for a long time .. probably a few minutes, but it seemed like hours!  After that I did get some sleep and awoke at 4:30 feeling unbelievably good.

I took care of Scooter and myself, had a little breakfast and proceeded to vet in.  Scooter passed OK but it was noted that his gut sounds were low.  This caused me some concern and I hand grazed as much as possible before hitching.  Being the only 20 mile driver I was the first out and had the trail to myself for a good deal of the route.  Again I allowed Scooter to pick his pace and really enjoyed the trip out to the turn around.  This time Scooter was very willing to drink at the tank and there was no shooting to disturb him.

As we were returning to camp to complete the first 10 miles we encountered a few competitive riders who we passed without incident.  A little later we came upon the main group of competitive riders.  They choose to stand on the side of the trail and allow us to pass.  Scooter was excited to see his old mate Cake on the trail with a rider.  A brief greeting and on we went.  A little further along and we meet the 10 mile drivers on their way out.  Passing is without incident and we arrive back at camp a little early.  The extra time will allow us to go a little slower on the second 10 miles.

Scooter is in good shape, but his gut sounds are still low.  He has refused to eat his beet pulp which I have laced with electrolyte.  Obviously it is time to bite the bullet and give him his electrolytes with a syringe.  I approach Dr. Ketover and obtain some electrolyte, load the syringe and dose Scooter.  He doesn’t like the procedure but is surprisingly docile.  I carefully rinse his mouth out with water and allow him to relax a little before hitching.  Finally it’s time to hitch and with Romona Radtke, Ride Manager, heading him we are soon ready to go.

I’m allowing Scooter to pick his own pace and we are down the trail about a mile or mile and a half when we meet Wes driving his pair.  I remark that Scooter seems a little tired as we pass.  The pair is looking really good and are behaving very well for their second time in competition.

Scooter must have overheard the comment because he almost immediately picked up the pace.  Very soon thereafter we meet Mary and then Jack.  Everyone is looking good and profess to be enjoying the day.  I’m sorry I didn’t carry my camera.  There were some excellent photo opportunities with the other drivers and the riders.

Over the next couple of miles we meet all of the competitive riders.  First a couple, then a couple more, then a group and then another pair.  All are now used to carts and there were no incidents.  We are not yet at the turn around and we have the trail pretty much to ourselves.  We did meet some day riders but again they were easily met and passed.  Absolutely nothing to mar the pleasure of the day.  Scooter obviously knows the trail and I allow him to pick his turns which he did without fail.  My driving is limited to making sure we clear the trees as the trail bends around them.

We returned to camp just 1 minute over our ideal time and well within our 5 minute window.  Scooter vetted out sound, but tired and his gut sounds were back to normal.  I was elated with the pleasure of the drive and having a sound horse after 30 miles in just over 24 hours.  Scooter has earned a break!