Bev Gray has completed 45 100-mile events and has 18,200 career AERC endurance competition miles, of which 2,400 are with Jolly Sickle. This was Bev's fourth Tevis completion and Jolly Sickles' second Tevis completion. Bev and Jolly Sickle completed the course in ninth place.
Jolly Sickle (the ice-sickle in his name) was born on a snowy day in Dallas in 2004. His sire, Jolly By Golly, is a champion stallion at Mandolynn Hill Farm. He was bred to race on the track; his pedigree is Polish with a splash of Tunisian and Egyptian. Even with all the impeccable track training, he was not very enthusiastic for the race track.
I received a call from Mandolynn that they had a very special, tough endurance prospect for me. When I first saw him, he reminded me of my, 9,000 race mile, Breyer model and Hall of Fame champion, AA Omner Indeed, so I took him home to Utah.
Jolly Sickle, otherwise known as Ice, started his endurance training, and at six years old we entered several endurance races. We stayed away from the front runners as he still had a race track mentality, and 50 miles is a lot longer than six furlongs. This was his foundation training for two years, until I started to enter him in 100-mile events. Ahh, finally he could focus and understand that endurance was endurance and not the track!
Last Spring, Jolly Sickle was trimmed way too short: he was lame for two months. How can I help Jolly? I spoke with EasyCare and they suggested trying the Easyboot Glue-Ons. I ordered all the essentials and watched every EasyCare gluing video, read and the blogs to train myself for the application process. It was definitely a learning curve: too much glue, not enough glue, glue sets up too fast, horse would not stand still (needed an assistant). And I looked like the Disney absent-minded professor with plastic gloves glued together: plastic apron and black glue-spattered running shoes.
Jolly Sickle recovered and came sound with his Glue-Ons. He won his homecoming race and got the Best Condition award. It was a very good year for Jolly Sickle, with 14 races, nine firsts and 11 BCs. He even won the AERC's National Champion Best Condition!
I learned the most crucial lesson of Glue-Ons was the trim. I am not a farrier, but my new understanding of hoof dynamics through my EasyCare lessons helps me to prepare for the best performance package. I’m still not overly confident in my own installation and rely on the EasyCare master professionals.
When I decided to ride the Tevis, there was no question that boots would be the best protection for the rugged, rocky, technical Tevis terrain: no question whatsoever. We came to Tevis barefoot knowing the EasyCare professionals would trim and fit Jolly Sickle perfectly. Since I have ridden Jolly in numerous races in Glue-Ons and Easyboot Gloves, I was confident. Jolly moved efficiently and flawlessly all day. At the vet checks I was told “he looks fantastic,” “we wish all the horses were presented this incredibly,” “good work,” etc, etc. We were smiling all day. With a fantastic crew, our entire pace and goal was finish top ten and show for Haggin Cup. Goal Achieved.
My Jolly Sickle moves so comfortably in Easyboot Glue-Ons that it reverberates in my confidence riding him and knowing I have prepared him with the best hoof protection on the market. I believe it is very important to understand the application process and I will be attending an Easyboot clinic. It is really quite simple.
Thank you, thank you, thank you EasyCare Inc.
Submitted by Beverly Gray
All photos courtesy of Vicki Gaebe parkcityphotography.com