The parts of my saddle that survived.

The parts of my saddle that survived the mud bog.

Jamison was bucking and running like a maniac through the thick brush. For some unknown reason he did not go running back to camp on the trail, but decided to run through the thick brush and jump over the copious amount of fallen trees. He was quickly out of sight and I could only follow the sound of thrashing as I tried to determine his whereabouts. Then the thrashing stopped. I quieted my breathing, trying desperately to hear something that would help point me in the direction of his chosen path. Nothing…

I kept crawling over the fallen trees, pushing my way through the brush and eventually picking my way through very thick mud by hanging onto the trees. Then I saw Jamison struggling in the mud. He was trying to move, but it seemed to have a hold on him. He had lost his bridle and the stirrups off the saddle. I made my way to him and he watched me with a defeated and exhausted look in his eyes. He was panting from his struggle. I didn’t know if he was going to sink more or if he was just stuck where he was. I tried to urge him forward by calling and pulling on the halter. He jumped a bit and nearly landed on me. I changed methods and got behind him and tried to push him forward. He lurched forward a bit more, then just laid his head down on the mud. He had given up. He was exhausted and I knew I needed help.

It was so difficult to leave him there, all alone, exhausted and unable to understand why I was leaving. I didn’t know if he was going to sink further and I would come back to a dead horse. Absolutely gut wrenching, but I had to go get help. I made my way back to the trail, put my helmet on the tree to mark where we would have to leave the trail to find him. I ran and stumbled over the roots of the trail, but kept going as it was only two miles or so back to camp so I kept pushing, even though I was exhausted and my lungs were burning.

I made it back to camp and explained the situation. Everyone jumped to their feet and got organized to help me. We made it back to the spot where Jamison had been struggling in the mud, but he was gone. I felt relieved as this meant he had gotten out and was still alive. I scanned the forest and caught a glimmer of white. As I got closer I could see it was Jamison, shaking, white eyed and panting. He was scraped all along his underside, but nothing that couldn’t be healed.

It took us about two hours to clear a safe route to get him back onto the single track trail to take him back to camp. I am so thankful that everyone at the Spruston Backcountry Endurance Ride on Vancouver Island gathered together to help me. Such a great bunch of people – thank you so very much.

That Sunday with Jamison was a drastic difference from my 50 mile endurance ride on the day before. I was riding my friend’s horse, CJ Mowhawk Supreme, who is a calm and safe horse that knows his job very well. I love the trails on the Island, with all of the winding single track, amazing views and easy climbs. Hawk just picked his way at a slow and comfortable jog the whole way. Although my day was long, it was peaceful and enjoyable. ne of those amazing rides that makes you fall in love with the sport of endurance all over again.

I think my adventures have been great training for the Mongol Derby, although, it could be a sign of the danger to come.