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Stroh Rides the Shamrock Endurance again

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 30th, 2014

Carla Stroh, riding Spook, finished in the top ten in the 30 mile Shamrock Endurance Ride. Courtesy Photo

On July 5, Carla Stroh, riding her husband’s Arabian horse named Spook, participated in the annual Shamrock Endurance Ride that takes place on the Dietz Ranch southwest of Wheatland. This is the location where Tom Horn allegedly shot Willy Nichols. Stroh was accompanied by her good friend, Barb Orr of Mesa, Ariz., who had come along to do the all-important job of “crewing”. This involves being ready to take care of the horse when they come in for a vet check after the first loop. They have to sponge the horse down to cool it off and have water or Gatorade for the rider. They have to be willing to do whatever job the rider wants them to do at the last minute. Barb excels in this! The idea is to get the horse’s heart rate down to the required minimum so the vet can test him to see if he is fit to continue to ride. The vet tests for soundness at the trot, heart rate recovery after the trot out, capillary refill time, muscle tone and gut sounds. If the horse fails any of these, he is pulled from the race.

Spook likes to race with a group and soon Carla and her mount hooked up with two other riders who had set a good strong pace. There were places they could trot easily and one long stretch where they were able to canter strongly. After finishing the first loop, all three horses’ “out” times were within minutes of each other. The out time is calculated by the recovery time of a horse. This is one hour after the horse’s heart rate has dropped to the required beats per minute. During that hour, each rider must make sure their horse eats and drinks and doesn’t show any sign of distress. Endurance riding is “all about the horse”.

Harold Stroh showed up at the race just as his wife astride Spook were coming in to the first vet check. He was able to help cool Spook off and help carry all of the tack back to the trailer for the hour rest and give lots of encouragement before they took off again on the last loop. Shortly after starting the last loop, one of the riders noticed a slight inconsistency in her horse’s gait. Knowing one’s horse well from hours spent riding for condition pays off as they can then tell something isn’t right with their horse, even if the animal is willing to continue. A great rider will always put their horse first.

Carla and her riding companion continued on but at a slower pace. Spook’s gut sounds only got a “C” rating at the vet check so it was very important to take time to let him eat and drink on the trail to avoid a chance of colic. Luckily, there were a lot of water crossings with lush rich green grass for him to eat. Stroh finished the 30 mile race placing in the top 10. At the end, Spook’s gut sounds came up to an “A” rating so the slower pace and eating on the trail worked.

Carla and her friend, Barb, always have a great time on the Shamrock Ride. It is well run by Susan Schomberg with trails well-marked, great prizes and concludes the event with a delicious barbecue afterwards. She also has a fun ride in conjunction with the race. This is a shorter ride for people to get the feel of an endurance race without having to go the distance of 30 or 50 miles. At the Shamrock Ride, there were mules, Quarter horses, mustangs, Arab crosses and full Arabs. Some riders used western saddles, some were on English saddles, and some serious riders used endurance saddles.

Stroh recommended wearing suitable clothing for the weather and pointed out that riders were of all ages, from young children to grandparents and they could set their own pace, finish last and still get a t-shirt. She says “I encourage anyone interested to give it a try!”

For the complete article see the 07-30-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 07-30-2014 paper.

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