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2002/05/09

Pit Crewing Is Hard And Tough by Christina Frame Have you ever been on an Endurance Ride? If you have not, and you want to, be sure to have a pit crew. A pit crew can be one person, usually my mom, for instance, or four or five people for some of the bigger races. I never really noticed all the hard work that a pit crew does until I had to be on a pit crew at the Nationals. I had not qualified for the Nationals, but my sister and dad did. I had to pit for them because I did not ride, and I always thought that riding the race was hard. Pit crewing, I thought, was just carrying some supplies to the vet checks or sitting around the campsite until the riders came back. A pit crew never has time for that. We have to be prepared for everything. The day before, we make sure easyboot, vet wrap, snacks, etc. are in the saddlebags. The morning before the race, we make sure to put one or two bottles of Gatorade or water in their holders. We must also be sure not to forget the tissues or toilet paper, in case they have to "blow their nose," if you know what I mean. After the riders leave, we have to get all the hay, feed and water in the truck, and make sure that we have the water buckets, halters and lead ropes. Mom always makes sure we have the first aid kit and plenty to eat. The next challenge is finding the vet checks. For a fifty-mile race, there are at least two vet checks away from camp, and the final check at the camp. The checks away from camp are between 12 - 25 miles away on horseback. Sometimes we might drive twice that far to get to the same place as the horses. Usually we get a map at the ride meeting, but if we mess around too much or take a wrong turn, we might barely make it there before the riders. At the check, it is our job to meet the riders and take care of their horses. My sister broke her leg about a week before the National. Her name is Grace. Just joking. Her name is Teresa. Anyway, it was my job to meet and give her crutches and take her horse to the vet. First we cool down the horse with sponges and water. Then we take her pulse, because the officials will hold the horse for a certain amount of time after the heart rate comes down. Then I took her over to the vet. He makes sure that her back is not sore and she is not cut up or limping or anything. After that, I feed and water the horse and help put the tack back on. When we are finished at the check, it is time to pack everything up and race back to camp and the finish line to meet riders there. Once again, there is not much time to rest before they come in. Even though pit crewing is hard and tough, it has its fun parts. When you are waiting, there are always a bunch of friends to hang out with and sometimes you can help the other riders who do not have pit crews. When you get back to camp it is fun to look in the tack trailers, which sell halters and other equipment needed for the ride. And if you are a really good pit crew person, your dad might even buy you that red and black Biothane halter bridle you have been wanting (hint, hint). (Editors note: This submission is the second of a two part series on Endurance Riding.) (Christina Frame is a twelve-year-old junior endurance rider who is a member of the Mid South Arabian Arabian_Horse Association and the American Endurance Ride Conference. This is her second season of competition. She lives in Rosemark, Tenn. You can contact her by email: irhorsecrazy@aol.com)

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