As I mentioned on Saturday, I went down to help crew for Michelle Detmer and Laura (and Michelle's horses - Jazz and Stormy) for the LD at Top of the Rock at Clark State Forest. Left a little later than I'd hoped, and had to get gas (and a gas station cappuccino!) but was still there right at 6am. I asked management (Lois) if they had checked in yet, and some other kind person asked if I was looking for anyone in particular, when Lois spotted Michelle's truck, right up close.
They were grooming, working with the hoof boots (Jazz had easyboot epics on front, Stormy was going to wear renegades on front - both bare in back) and we talked - Michelle introduced me to Laura. It's hard to go anywhere without talking about babies (for me, anyway!) so we talked about each other's kids, and also the horses - what a great combination!!! :-) L & M went to check in, while I stayed with the horses. The 50 was to start at 7:00am, and the LD at 7:10, so we had plenty of time to get ready.
So we went up and they vetted in the horses, grazed the horses, and electrolyted the horses, tacked the horses, and other last-minute things, and headed up to the start. Both Stormy and Jazz were quite calm - if Arabee is that calm at the start of a ride jext season I will be VERY happy! I think there were 28 horses (or so) in the LD, Michelle and Laura were BB and AA, the last two rider numbers (letters??) to have checked in. The start was controlled, since they had to follow the road to get to the trail, so they all stayed behind letter "O" until the last horse was off the pavement.
At that point, I just hung around at the start for a while, got my chair and lunch out of the car and brought it back to the trailer, and waited. The first loop was 15 miles, and I was glad I got back to the in-timers when I did, because I was surprised to see the first group of 5 horses coming in! I am not sure of the exact time, but it was somewhere between 1 - 1 1/2 hours for the first loop. Michelle and Laura were in 2nd and 3rd, and Jazz pulsed down in first place, but Stormy took a little longer (I think 3rd or so), but still just fine.
Both mares drank, then they were vetted in, but both needed improved gut sounds, so the main thing we worked on was getting them to eat. They got hay, beet pulp and grain, water, and as much grass as they would eat for the whole hold. It was pretty muddy, so some tack got washed off at the hose, and parts of the horses too. I know I'm forgetting some things, but at the end they headed back to the out-timer a few minutes past time, and had a slower second loop of 10 miles. Michelle said that they were pretty much just running the whole time for the first loop except for they'd trot if there was a "cliff"! Must have been pretty exhilirating! There won't be much chance of me Top 5-ing for a looong time, I like to walk and trot too much!
After M and L left, I saw several other riders coming in. Some 50 milers, some LD riders. I saw Chris E. and her gelding, Toby, and talked with her, and her riding buddy, whose horse's name was Strider, I didn't get her name though! After Toby and Strider left, the first place LD horse had just come in, and I knew it was possible that Michelle and Laura wouldn't be far behind, so I stayed up front with the sponge and a lead rope so I wouldn't miss them. Turned out they were somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes behind the first place horse, Laura in 4th, Michelle in 5th. Only the Top 5 can show for Best Condition judging, and they decided to go for it.
So they took the horses back after a good, long drink at the trough, and untacked, then had to weigh in while the horses ate hay. Then Jazz and Stormy got the mud hosed off, and we offered more grain and beet pulp and hand grazed them. I held one horse or the other so Laura and Michelle took turns eating lunch. Then the 1 hour was up and it was time to vet back in for BC. I'm not sure who actually won BC - I left right when Laura and Michelle did, before the results were in.
So, crewing was a good experience. I felt like I didn't do very much, but both Michelle and Laura were very appreciative! I hope I didn't spoil them for the next ride when they don't have someone to hold a horse or take a jacket back, but it wasn't a very hard job for me, but it was so great to be at the ride and get more experience! It really was just right amount of exertion for me though. It was a lot different than volunteering for the actual ride like I did at Chicken Chase - many more people talked to me at Chicken Chase than this weekend, which made sense, because when I was scribing I came in contact with a lot more people, especially the vets! So, I missed a lot of interaction this time, but it was definitely a very good experience to see a different side of a ride. Big thanks to Michelle for agreeing to let me come down and hang around her and Laura on Saturday!! (and Michelle, if I left anything out that's important, feel free to correct me!!)