Luskherald.com - Full Article
Posted: Thursday, Jul 19th, 2012
Phyllis Hahn/Contributing Writer
Carla Stroh rides on her horse Spook during the Shamrock Endurance Ride. Courtesy Photo
On July 6, Carla Stroh hauled her husband Harold’s Arabian horse, Spook, to the Shamrock Endurance Race, which began west of Wheatland. This was the first race she has participated in for over a year since the Equine Herpes threat last year caused Stroh to decide not to risk Spook contracting the virus. The thought of doing an easy 30 mile race was very inviting since the last race she’d ridden in was the grueling Big Horn 100 mile.
On Saturday morning, Stroh’s crew joined her in a second cup of coffee as they watched the 50 milers start out. At 7:45 a.m. Spook was saddled and Stroh was ready for roll call. The first loop of the race was approximately 22 miles long with a vet check back at base camp. The pace started out brisk and they were trotting about 12 miles an hour. The weather was cool and misty as it had rained all night so keeping the pace in the cool weather and the soft ground was not a problem. Riders usually end up riding in groups of 3 or 4 where the horses are of a similar fitness level. According to Stroh, “Spook must have had someone read him the tale of ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’, because when it came his turn to take the lead he would jump sideways or slam on the brakes at every horse eating rock or tree branch he thought looked suspicious.” (Could this be the source of his name?) When another horse took the lead he would keep pace with them because perhaps he thought that if anything were to eat a horse it would eat the lead horse first and give him time to run away. Needless to say, Spook did not take the lead often. The riders ran into a herd of cows but that didn’t present a problem, except Spook is accustomed to being used for ranch work and must have thought he was there for a roundup. Stroh had to convince him to leave the cows there and get back on the trail! They got back to the base camp earlier than expected because of their blazing pace. Stroh’s crew was just coming into the cool down area to wait for her, but she was already there. She had ridden 22 miles in just under 2 hours. Spook was the first horse in the group to pulse down before submitting to the vet check. There are a series of tests done on each horse to make sure he is fit to continue and to avoid any problems. Spook walked away with straight “A’s”...
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