I have just returned from Las Cruces New Mexico and the Desert Classic. I always dreamed of riding in the desert and it was just what you would imagine.
Rocky mountains way out into the desert and flat flat dusty landscape in between. I have now seen cactus, terribly prickly plants that I am sure would shred you or your horses legs given a chance and a rattlesnake!
My ride was due to be Cleo but unfortunately she threw a splint just the week before, but I was saved once again by the Reynolds Racing Team of Heather and Jeremy and had the chance to ride Jeremy’s horse Gold Dust Rising. Dust is a very beautiful and enormous chestnut gelding, and part of their string of top international horses.
I had a fantastic first two loops – the first with Dust clearly thinking he was back on the race track, and we had a bit of a fight to stay behind the front two riders, and then he settled into the 2nd loop and rode like a total dream. We were taking it steady as the footing was often pretty uncertain and changed a lot but mostly hard with many ruts and dips, as well as a few sandy sections. Somewhat obscurely it was less sandy than Leersum in Holland !
We trotted into vet gate 2 feeling very happy and crewed quickly, but on the trot up Dust was nodding and clearly lame. It was a real shock as he had felt so well, and I was extremely relieved when we ascertained that he had banged an old splint rather than doing any form of new injury. it is heart stopping enough when there is a problem with your own horse, but a million times worse when it is someone else’s ! To add to the stress we then also go news that my mare Bolena who I was due to ride in Argentina seemed to suffering intermittent lameness and might be not ready for our next ride at Junin in November. So clearly this was Not my day.
However we had a really great time at Las Cruces. It was great to spend time with my US endurance friends and to make new friends out there. We crewed for Heather and Jeremy, and also for Judith still in the 120kms. One of our new friends Eliyse won the 120kms and to our delight Judith came in 2nd.
Jeremy was doing a first 1* on his new horse Shea and they came in 3rd which was fantastic, but Heather topped everything by winning the 3* 160kms on Chanses – at which I was absolutely delighted. Having ridden with Chanses on previous rides with myself on Cleo, he has had some bad luck and I was so thrilled for the Reynolds not only getting him round a 160kms but winning it to boot. Our usual crew gang of Skip and Lynne were with us, and we finished off the day with a good steak dinner and a couple of drinks.
We then headed back out to Florida by plane, whilst Heather and Jeremy hit the road to continue their epic journey which had started in California, via Las Cruces and on to Northern Florida hauling 10 horses and with 3 dogs in tow. Mad ? No – just endurance people having fun !