Should I back up 11 1/2 hours as I crawled out of bed? or two days ago... or even four months back?
... Two days ago I got a phone call telling me that it is time for endurance horse racing and learning to ride.
... Four months ago I sent an sms asking if it was riding season... (delayed response).
...11 1/2 hours ago I crawled out of bed, hoping I had not waken up in vain and would be remembered by S. The phone rang 15 minutes later saying that it was time to go. Where was I going? How long would I be there? What would I see? I didn't have an answer to any of these questions. Who really knows what a desert endurance race is without having been? I sure didn't. Nor was I prepared for the 6'C it was this morning. S meet me near my house and we drove towards Abu Dhabi. An hour later, after a petrol and prayer stop, we arrived at the Endurance Village. We were late, the race had begun. So we tore into the desert looking for our racer. Today's race was a 120km race through the desert. 4 laps, 30km each, with a mandatory half hour rest break and vet check between laps. Not only must your horse be fast, but it must also survive.
The course was pretty phenomenal. 30km of desert track, woven between two lanes designed for 4X4's to follow along. Thus I never had to get out of the vehicle, just clutch the sides of the seat as we swerved between the cars in our Escalade, tracking our favourite horses. Police cars patrolled along with us, protecting the horses from us, and us from ourselves. Every 100 metres, guys would jump out of the trucks and race onto the track to give a 1 1/2 bottle of water to the jockeys to keep the horses cool, with maybe a sip for themselves (I'm not sure about the recycling programme... just a thought).
And thus finished the first lap. The horses are pampered and examined by the vets, the ones who are deemed fit to continue are soaked with water and massaged, while the other ones return to their pens in shame. While we took a coffee break and assessed the damage.
Then someone would realize that the 30 minute wait time was nearly finished and we'd jump up, prep the horse, and then race to the vehicle. I'm not sure when the actual race ended, I may or may not have fallen asleep during one or two of the laps. Our horses were deemed lame after 2/3 laps (we had two horses racing). Hopefully they'll be back racing in 3 weeks times, and I'll be there to cheer them on.
Maybe I'm not meant to be a runner... being a jockey must be easier on the knees!!