(note: As the WI Rep of the Georgian Grande Horse, I send them reports of Junior's adventures. I thought I'd post this one here: ♥ This journey through my life has been blessed by many friends, some of them happen to have four legs, and they carry me through emotionally and physically at times. They have oft been my catalist to get healthy. I'm still progressing health wise without gluten in my life, it is as if someone turn on the lights! Love life, it will love you back ♥
Off to a foggy start we had a very enjoyable ride, despite some set backs. Junior encountered wide, knee deep streams at this ride for the first time, and we found out a new favorite thing in his life (next to alfalfa) it is a rushing stream. This was a beautiful ride, full of stream crossings, sweet smells of honeysuckle lofting through the air and wispy whites from cotton trees floating in abundance on the breezes. Around one corner was a lovely surprise of a high, flower covered vista overlooking the wide creek below and riding right next to a sleeping fawn, these where just a few of the beautiful memories of this ride.
We also rode under a very tall, very old (100+) very active rail road bridge as part of the trail several times, and yes, the train came over at a roaring clip, and Junior was completely obedient and did not bolt (love those Georgian Grande minds). Aside from the beauty of this ride, there also where some mudslide hills that where steep, deep and somewhat dangerous. The ride management closed the worst of those hills by the third loop because of how unsafe they had become. It was especially in those times when I was so glad I had a horse that was dependable, quiet and intelligent to help navigate through these areas. It is in those moments when you need a horse you can trust the most, and Junior did not let me down. He is a truly amazing being.
This was our first time competing in 80 degree weather, our first long haul, only our second ever 50 miler and our first out of state ride. Before we left for the ride, Junior seemed just a little too mellow, but we thought it could be humidity. And as we tacked up and he 'woke up', he was alert and happy, we where pretty sure it was just the change into warmer weather that had him so mellow earlier and that he was coming out of it. Especially after he ran the first two legs of the loop like a champ, we thought it maybe the weather change was making him a bit sleepy, but that the interest & excitement of the ride had woke him up. As the day wore on...he was performing fantastically and drinking a lot of water every chance we gave him. However, since breakfast he had not really been eating as much as he usually would have, and that was concerning, and so again, we thought the humid weather was the culprit. We where heading out onto the third loop with the thought of just going slow, hanging out at the streams and to start riding for a completion only. So we started out at a slow jog, and a new friend was at about the same pace as us, and her horse eating encouraged Junior, and he started eating just a few mouthfuls at first, and then really started grazing.
Our friend went on down the trail while we stayed behind under a shade tree and just let Junior graze. We still had 13 miles to go on our last loop of the ride, and so we just slowed way down and basically walked the rest of the way in. We took our time and Junior soaked in the cool streams and grazed at will along the alfalfa, clover and grass fields of his choice. I didn't mind as we started to get passed by so many people, I just was happy my horse was eating again and happy. On our slow way meandering back to ride camp, I was trying to figure out what was going on with him. It wasn't colic, as his gut sounds where still a B+, and at the end of the ride he vetted through just fine. Healthy of wind and limb. After the ride we spoke with our vet it was hypothesized that his throat had become sore and irritated from an infection gone undetected caused after an episode of choke two weeks previous. He is being treated and is safely resting at home. He is a wonder-horse...
Junior has carried me through wind, freezing rain, thunderstorms, fog, humid weather, mud, hills, (and mudhills:) streams bogs, steep climbs and yes, beautiful weather, and he always has the same caring, sweet attitude. He truly is a wonderful, wonderful being. He talks to me every morning with that wonderful deep rumble of his that sounds more like a hum than a neigh, and he waits by the gait to say goodnight to me, even if he has hay to eat...I could never replace him.
As far as the ride goes, while I'm sorry that I can't report back another placing for the breed... but what I can report back is that even when you don't place, you place memories down deep in your heart. Deeper than the mud you've pulled through and fresher than the fastest rushing streams. What I want to say about our Georgian Grande is that the horse still is truly grand (and I don't mean large). I mean he truly is a grand horse with a heart full of love and dependable ethic to get you through to the finish line in life, even despite his silent ailment. I will remember this ride the most because of the spirit of the grand horse that carried me across the line safe and sound. We love you Junior!!!
Blessing to you,
& Stay Strong,
"Be glad of life
because it gives
you the chance
to love and to
work and to play and
to look up at the stars" ~ Henry VanDyke