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Georgian Grande in Endurance


IGGHR #408





IGGHR Representative for state of Wisconsin

Christina Hyke

W. 3588 County Road Y

Jefferson, Wisconsin 53549



Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2010
Subject: Re: Endurance- Successful completion of the 50 Mile Endurance ride at AHDRA I

Junior encountered wide, knee deep streams at this ride for the first time, and we found out a new favorite thing in his life (next to alfalfa) it is a rushing stream.   This was a beautiful ride, full of stream crossings, sweet smells of honeysuckle lofting through the air and wispy whites from cotton trees floating in abundance on the breezes.

Around one corner was a lovely surprise of a high, flower covered vista overlooking the wide creek below and riding right next to a sleeping fawn where just a few of the beautiful memories of this ride.
We also rode under a very tall, very old (100+) rail road bridge as part of the trail several times, and yes, the train came over at a roaring clip, and Junior was completely obedient and did not bolt (love those Georgian Grande minds). 
Aside from the beauty of this ride, there also where some mudslide hills that where steep, deep and somewhat dangerous.  The ride management closed the worst of those hills by the third loop because of how unsafe they had become.  It was especially in those times when I was so glad I had a horse that was dependable, quiet and intelligent to help navigate through these areas. It is in those moments when you need a horse you can trust the most, and Junior did not let me down.  He is a truly amazing being.
This was our first time competing in 80 degree weather, our first long haul, only our second ever 50 miler and our first out of state ride.  Before we left for the ride, Junior seemed just a little too mellow, but we thought it could be humidity.  And as we tacked up and he 'woke up', he was alert and happy, we where pretty sure it was just the change into warmer weather that had him so mellow earlier and that he was coming out of it.  Especially after he ran the first two legs of the loop like a champ,  we thought it maybe the
weather change was making him a bit sleepy, but that the interest & excitement of the ride had woke him up.
As the day wore on...he was performing fantastically and drinking a lot of water every chance we gave him.  However, since breakfast he had not really been eating as much as he usually would have, and that was concerning, and so again, we thought the humid weather was the culprit.  We where heading out onto the third loop with the thought of just going slow, hanging out at the streams and to start riding for a completion only.  So we started out at a slow jog, and a new friend was at about the same pace as us, and her horse eating encouraged Junior, and he started eating just a few mouthfuls at first, and then really started grazing.  Our friend went on down the trail while we stayed behind under a shade tree and just let Junior graze. We still had 13 miles to go on our last loop of the ride, and so we just slowed way down and basically walked the rest of the way in.  We took our time and Junior soaked in the cool streams and grazed at will along the alfalfa, clover and grass fields of his choice.  I didn't mind as we started to get passed by so many people, I just was happy my horse was eating again and happy.  On our slow way meandering back to ride camp, I was trying to figure out what was going on with him.  It wasn't colic, as his gut sounds where still a B+, and at the end of the ride he vetted through just fine. Healthy of wind and limb.  After the ride we spoke with our vet it was hypothesized that his throat had become sore and irritated from an infection gone undetected caused after an episode of choke two weeks previous. He is being treated and is safely resting at home.  He is a wonder-horse.
Junior has carried me through wind, freezing rain, thunderstorms, fog, humid weather, mud, hills, (and mudhills:) streams bogs, steep climbs and yes, beautiful weather, and he always has the same caring, sweet attitude.  He truly is a wonderful, wonderful being. He talks to me every morning with that wonderful deep rumble of his that sounds more like a hum than a neigh, and he waits by the gait to say goodnight to me, even if he has hay to eat...I could never replace him. 
As far as the ride goes, while I'm sorry that I  can't report back another placing for the breed... but what I can report back is that even when you don't place, you place memories down deep in your heart.  Deeper than the mud you've pulled through and fresher than the fastest rushing streams.  What I want to say about our Georgian Grande is that the horse still is truly grand (and I don't mean large).  I mean he truly is a grand horse with a heart full of love and dependable ethic to get you through to the finish line in life, even despite his silent ailment. I will remember this ride the most because of the spirit of the grand horse that carried me across the line safe and sound.
We love you Junior!!!
Blessing to you,
Stay Strong,
Christina Hyke

Sent: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Subject: Re: EnduranceWe had another successful ride mothers day weekend! On Saturday Mandate for Gold was second & Best Condition! And on Sunday he was fourth. What a great way to spend mothers day ! We are heading to Illinois this weekend and will take the camera!
Stay Strong~

Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010

Subject: Endurance


Our Georgian Grande, Mandate for Gold competed both days this weekend at the IRON OAK ride in the state of Wisconsin. Through cold weather and rain, mud and wind, once again our Grande pulled us through.  On Saturday Junior & I competed in the 25 Mile LD Ride, and he won Best Conditioned horse award (a first time for him),and second place.  Sunday the weather turned colder, and more rain, stronger winds, yet at 6:30 in the morning we headed out for another 25 miles of wind, rain and mud! The wind was so strong it blew down some crucial marker signs and we ended up losing about 45+minutes being lost, and finished in 5th place.  He finished very strong, but the time we lost could not be made up, and even though he went longer on the ride, he looked awesome at the finished, and after 50 Miles in a muddy, wet, cold weekend, our Grande stayed strong and sweet as ever, never spooking.

This was the first ride of 2010 for us, and this was all new trail to us, and a cold, wet, fun adventure.  Our goal was to complete both days, and yet again, Junior (Mandate for Gold) showed us how much more he had and finished strong again. We could not ask for more.

 We saw another Grande there, and tried to meet up with them, but we where vettingthru and so were they and our paths did not cross again as they had headed home earlier than we did.  It was exciting to see, another Grande there, and people kept coming up to us and asking if that horse was thesame breeding as Junior, as they looked striking alike, down to the color and markings.  The other Grande was a Friesian / Saddlebred cross and was more refined than Junior,(I prefer Junior just how he is) but beautiful just the same.  I hope to meet them at another ride and bring along some information on the IGGHR.  Seeing the breed out and about puts a big smile on my face, and I say to Jim and Junior, "See, I knew Junior was a good idea" as I have told Junior since the day he was born...Cheers to you & Blessings~Stay Strong,
Christina Hyke


Sent: Saturday, July 04, 2009
Subject: Re: Grande Endurance

Hello, IGGHR;
I am happy to report back to you about how the Georgian Grande was represented in the sport of distance riding.   The trail was extremely challenging.  This was a much more technical trail and asked questions of Junior that had never been asked before.  Vertical climbs, gullies, streams, boggy stream beds and more.  The vertical climbs were very steep, long climbs.  We encountered our first streams on this distance ride, and some very deep (hock deep) mud around other streams.   Being the solid citizen that he is, our faithful friend, the Georgian Grande so affectionately named Junior (Mandate for Gold IGGHR#408) made sure that he not only answered well all the questions the trail presented to him, he also finish 4th in a field of 28 horses in this 25 Mile LD ride.  We are so proud of him.     .
Because of the difficulty of the trail, we decided to only ride one day, as our good horse had given so much of himself out on the trail already that day & we did not want to ask for more.  As he continues to strengthen and age, we'd like to come back and tackle this trail again.  To date this season, Junior has faithfully carried me a total 150 miles in 5 different competitions, placing in the top 5 in each one.
We do not have many more rides scheduled this season, as Junior is still a young horse, and we want to be completing rides on him in another 20 years, so we are starting out slowly, but we will report back to you as soon as we compete again.  He also is on a drill team with me & we are competing several times this summer, our team (EZ Riders) won our first competition of the year.  Junior did not like the loud music at first, but carrots quickly convinced him that music is good and we were honored to be part of such a great team. Blessings to you all, and may all your rides be good ones.

Christina Hyke

Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2009
Subject: Re: Grande Endurance
More good news on Mandate for Gold,(a.k.a. Junior)  Junior and I are a members of the EZ Riders Drill Team.  Our team placed first at our first competition this year.  Many compliments on "Junior's" size, movement and his beauty.  Several people recognized the obvious Saddlebred in him, and the great movement.  Our team was elated at a win at our first competition.   Junior loves drill team!  Junior is showing the Grande versatility &  dependability, whether it is carrying me over miles of rugged terrain, or dancing on a Drill team surrounded by a dozen horses executing precise moves to blaring loud music... he is a wonderful horse, a great dance partner, ambassador for his breed and a horse to be counted on to cover terrain quickly and efficiently.   Above and beyond all of that, he is truly a gentle giant with a love for people and still, even under hard use, an easy keeper.

Christina Hyke


Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Subject: Grande Endurance
To all those at IGGHR;
Wanted to let you all know that our Georgian Grande,
Mandate for Gold Reg #408(aka 'Junior') competed in two Limited Distance rides in May on Mother's Day weekend.   On Saturday he completed 25 miles, we held back a bit and he finished 5th in a field of 14 horses!   Thank you for the lovely high point ribbon!
The next day I let him go out in the front of the pack and he finished another 25 miles and was second place.   In June, he attempted his first ever 50 Endurance ride and finished 7th overall in a filed of 17 horses.  6 horses were pulled from the ride.  He has proven to be a wonder to ride, and is shining in a field that rarely sees a cross like his. 
When we first bred "Junior", we had no idea anyone else was having the same idea as we where, that the grace & stamina of the Saddlebred would totally compliment the strong foundation & wonderful mind of the draft horse.  The blend has made an athletic individual with greater stamina than I had realized, an easy keeper, a faithful friend with a good work ethic, something desireable in any friend.
Then we learned of your registry & decided to register this horse that we call a 'great idea'.    It has been good to see how wonderfully so many people are finding and enjoying this amazing cross.  At endurance rides and other places, I have had some scoffs at the cross, as if it isn't a breed, or why would you make that cross.    People may take a second look because of wonderment of size & looks of the horse, and then, they have to take a third look~to see how wonderfully they perform.    I recently purchased some T shirts & coffee cups on, that sums it all up:
Never underestimate the Gentle Giant.  
Cheers to you for starting the registry, great minds think alike, though you took the good idea much farther than my one horse,and are creating a legacy, a platform to farther the breed and a promotion that has been fantastic.
Long live the breed.  Happy to have a home registry
for our fantastic boy.
Stay Strong,
Christina Hyke

Copyright 1992




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IGGHR Copyright 1992