desertTravel Log, October 23 2013 – Early this morning we began our road trip to Desert Classic.  Judith and I took turns driving the trailer with Mia and Sarge in tow. We made good progress throughout the day, and a few hours after sundown we reached Quartz, Arizona, where we would rest for the night. It would give us and the horses a welcome break and a chance to relax too. We pulled up, got everybody settled in and went to sleep.

Next morning, the daylight revealed an interesting fact about the park’s demographic. It turned out the place we stayed was an RV park for people over 55. Luckily, we qualified. All these old people came over in the morning to see the horses. Many of them  sold their homes and are living there for the winter in their RVs then they travel in the summer. One guy was a cowboy from near Monterey. One lady wanted to pet Mia, but whenever the horse moved she would jump behind me and grab my waist.

becky the pirateJudith and I have been busy getting our horses ready for the ride in New Mexico. Sarge needs his 3* and CoC and Judith and Mia need a 2*. The horses are working well and seem very fit. All systems seem to be a go, except the the small problem of a crew. I think we have used up all our crew “credits” with good friends and we can’t afford to fly folks out. Hmm, how to solve this problem? One solution was for me to ride the 100 on Saturday and Judith crew for me. Then she would ride the 75 on Sunday and I would crew for her. Only thing wrong with this picture was Judith would end up with a tired crew person, and I would have someone worried about her horse all day long and trying to get it out on a ride while I was on course. A sure recipe for not being there when I came in.

What to do? I decided to post on my Facebook page that we needed crew people. I was actually very excited about this. I love bringing people together, give them a little training and let them go to work. Judith and I are nice riders to crew for, and our horses are pretty good too. We truly appreciate people being there for us, especially the ones who take off our saddles and lug them back to the crew box.

What would an ideal crew person be like? Well, tall, strong, young, fast and a good runner. There is no good looking requirement, although DeWayne Brown meets all the requirements ;-) . Mostly though, we get people just like us — short, middle aged, lousy runners. BUT, they are enthusiastic, quick learners, know horses and deal with the saddles anyway. They are organized and have everything ready to go at the checks — e-lytes, mashes, dry pads, peanut and butter and honey sandwiches – you name it. They don’t mind running around all day in squishy shoes from pouring water all over the horse and refilling our buckets. They laugh when the horse flings his head while he has a mouthful of mash and flings it over everyone and everything. When a stubborn horse holds the e-lytes in his mouth for ages, then lets go a lovely drool of salts, honey and molasses all over the person who administered it, they handle it with grace (or a minimum of swear words!) They have been known to give foot and shoulder massages, and work on horse muscles. We love them for being there.

cooling offFour people would be an ideal number. Two for each rider, or four each if we come into the checks at different times. Any number, even one or two, will still be better than the two of us trying to crew for each other. Somehow it is so much easier to be nice to people you don’t know that with someone you know well. Crabby and cranky with friends and strangers? Never!

In less than 24 hours of posting on Facebook, I have one confirmed crew and several serious inquiries. One of our favorite crew people, Giulia Orth, has already committed. We broke Giulia in at 20 Mule Team, crewing for 3 riders on the 65 miler. She was awesome and I am amazed she is coming back for more. Others are checking schedules and ride location (Las Cruces, New Mexico). Many east coasters volunteered if we are out further east. Well, we hope to be in Texas at the end March for the time trials if all goes well. That may not be far east enough, but I hope it is because some of my favorite crew people hail from the east. One of my great joys as chef was watching people from all over the country come together to work for the team, as a team. Nothing would give Judith and me more pleasure than having an eclectic crew from different regions of the country.

If you would like some training and experience for two well seasoned riders with good horses we would love to have you crew for us. We even try to have fun! Small stipend and meals included. Call or e-mail Becky: bghart@garlic.com and 408-425-5860

Lucky for me, my riding coach is Becky Hart. A three-time World Champion in Endurance Riding, Becky competes, holds clinics and shares her knowledge with horse lovers worldwide. She also conducts riding lessons for children and adults at a ranch in San Jose. Like the conductor of an orchestra, Becky helps riders and horses find [...]
See Pete Run By Judith Ogus Edited by B. Hart In my last article about SJB resident, Becky Hart and her horse, No Repeat (Pete) I wrote that Becky had sold Pete at the 2012 World Championship in England to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai. At the beginning of January, she was [...]
As a ride manager I am often asked many questions about the Shine and Shine Endurance Rides. How hard is the trail, how is it marked, who are the vets? Recently, though, I received a question that made me sad. A potential entrant asked if we were nice to LD riders. She wanted to bring [...]
The day after the HH Sh. Mohammed Endurance Cup, Judith and I spent a day sightseeing in Dubai. We went to the Dubai Museum where we learned about the history of Dubai. We went to the spice souk, walked along Dubai Creek and then called it a day. We were supposed to meet with Dr. [...]