Jim had "EasyBoot Gloves" on his front hooves, and went barefoot on his back hooves. We set out just before dawn, but even without heat from the sun the air was still thick with humidity. It only got worse when the sun came up. By eight o'clock it felt like I was riding through a sauna. The track seemed nice enough, but add stifling heat and suffocating humidity and you've got yourself one difficult ride. Disaster struck at the end of the first leg when my riding partner, Colin, felt his horse go lame. An injury sustained over a week ago had flared up without warning and the horse was sore in his left hind leg. Sure enough the vets picked it up during the vet check and Colin was vetted out. Jim and I had better luck, passing the vet check with flying colours, which left me to do the second leg alone.
The temperature was soaring towards 30 degrees Celsius and sweat was pouring off both me and the horse. I took every opportunity to offer Jim water and let him pick at the grass in the shade to help him cool down. I met some lovely new people out on track who thought it was rather amusing to see a horse wearing "sneakers." I had a good laugh with them about it and we finished together in a time of 8hrs. Jim passed the final vet check with an overall score of "A" and heart rates of 35, 38 and 42. I was hot, sweaty and completely knackered... but I'd gotten my first 80km Buckle!
My first ever 80km ride buckle