GAITED HORSES at the TEVIS AERC RIDE

GAITED HORSES at the TEVIS AERC RIDE

in 24 hours from ROBIE PARK to AUBURN

August 1, 2009

 compiled by Julie T.

NATALIE MOON #126 on RMH CHOCLATIER, SHINGLE SPRINGS, CA.

Natalie Moon and her father, Dean Moon, love the Rocky Mountain Horses. With Dean

competing since 1993, Natalie couldn’t help but get the Endurance Bug. She started at

12 or 13 as a youth competitor. This year, at 18, Natalie feels very secure out there racing her gaited horses.

Dean had bought Natalie’s mount, CHOCLATIER, as a yearling, and started him around

four. He was a very forward horse, not flighty but ready to go at all times. And this year, at 15, he was ready for the TEVIS.

The 18 month preparation time for this event began with about 15 pleasure rides, which

expanded quickly to 25. Natalie says he was terrific on the 50 milers so his first 100

was the Patriot’s Day Ride in Greenville, in the Northern Sierras; then, the Swanson Pacific 100, in the mountains around Santa Cruz.

Natalie feels that many gaited horses come down hill faster than nongaited horses. However, moving at a fast pace down hill increases the risk of injury to the horse. Since Tevis has many steep canyons and is mostly down hill, she says it is good to get off and run down with your horse. She does not advise tennis shoes because there seem to be more twisted ankles with them. She rides with Ariat higher ankle boots for greater support.

Extras which keep them safe on the trails are the addition of LMS GOLD beet pulp, her

BOZ SADDLE with tree flexing, and Natural Balance shoes with a pad.

“These people on the Tevis ride are AWESOME,” says Natalie. CHOCLATIER and she

rode back and forth with one group of 3 horses and another slower group of 4-5. The

support from the others was invaluable as her horse has a slight left eye problem.

Not only did the other horses help to keep his adrenaline flowing but they helped to

guide him when his vision was affected.

The California loop at night can get very dusty and when the group had taken off, vision

became difficult due to the incredible amount of dust. Natalie had to trust her horse a lot

when this happened.

Having completed 94 miles and with 6 miles left to go, Natalie found herself alone on

one of the most dangerous sections of trail. She started out on the last leg at 4:00 am.

But with 4 miles up hill left to Auburn, Natalie says, ” I could tell he was done.” So, she

put her horse first and CHOCLATIER was pulled at 4:34 am at the Lower Quarry.

They will try again next year.

STATS for Natalie & CHOCLATIER:

Moon #126 (RMH)

DEPARTED ROBIE PARK 5:15am, arrived 10:17am, 28.50 mile;

departed Red Star Ridge 10:38am, vet check & hold time approx. 21 min.;

arrived Robinson Flat 11:42am, 36 mile;

departed at 12:51pm vet check & hold time approx. 1 hr. & 9 min.;

departed Dusty Corners 2:20 pm, 45 mile;

departed Last Chance 3:07pm, 50 mile; arrived Devil’s Thumb 4:34pm, 54 mile;

departed Deadwood 4:54pm, hold time approx. 20 min.;

departed Chicken Hawk 7:39pm, 64 mile; arrived Foresthill 8:22pm, 68 mile;

departed 9:25pm, approx. vet check & hold time 1 hr. 3 min.; arrived Cal-2 11:33pm, 79 mile; arrived Franciscos 1:26am, 85 mile; arrived River Crossing 2:37am, 88 mile; arrived Lower Quarry 3:43am, 94 mile;

departed 4:00am;

PULLED 4:34am Lower Quarry