8 Apr 2004
It was truly an adventure. I had to keep the concentration up constantly, as the course had a lot of different trail, changing and turning frequently, through the woods, around fields, along lakes, through villages. A challenge even under normal circumstances. No daydreaming. I really enjoyed it though, Luis is a wonderful man and told me many stories, and many things about his native country.
We got to the first vet check fine, were met at the ingate by Henrique and crew, fast efficient, horses pulsed down quickly and vetted through fine. The second loop was more difficult - much hillier, and a lot of hardpack clay road. And the horses were less than enthusiastic about going back out after the 40 min hold (neither horse had done more than 40km before... what´s the deal?) We squeezed and pushed them out the gate, past the stable area (Luis´s horse tried more than once to turn back into his pen) and through the feed barn past bags of grain, dogs, tractors and men. We finally got them out and going well again, but it was tough going, and IMO too much hardpack and rock and hill to keep the same pace as before... ´Luis.... slow down... come back!..´