The ride was divided up in to three loops, each about 15 miles.
The third loop was the Blue loop and it was the most challenging one of all. Lots of steep inclines. I tried to be very conservative this loop as we had plenty of time to finish. I got off and walked up all of the inclines as they were steep and long. I let him drink as often as he wanted, which wasn't at every stream, but he did drink a few times. I also let him graze pretty frequently. We mostly walked and trotted and finished the loop in about 3 hours. He was a total champ and I had him on a total loose rein the whole time. I let him pick his way through the trail and we trotted where there were no rocks or mud. I did notice that he was a little more stumbly around rocks than when he was fresher. He was definitely feeling fatigued, but was perky and seemed to be really enjoying himself. He would occasionally get a burst of energy and want to trot faster than I thought we should, but he was pretty steady overall. I was able to take a few pictures on that loop, they don't really show how beautiful the trail was though. The final vet check was a little hectic as John was injured. He had gone for a run while I was out on the loop and fell on a gravel road and got pretty banged up. So, I had the help of the kind volunteers for my final check. Boomer wouldn't drink at that check, but I didn't have grain to make him a 'milkshake'. He did graze and grazed on our way in to the check. He vetted through with all A's, but had no gut sounds. My heart about stopped. The vet passed us with a B overall and let me know that he was confident that the gut sounds would start back up within the hour and that he could recheck him later if I wanted. Of course I wanted him to!
There were only 6 of us who did the 50 and everybody else had left camp already, so I brought Boomer to the ride awards to keep an eye on him. The vet listened to his guts before the meeting and said that they had returned on the right, but not the left. That is the order of the sounds returning, so it was a good sign. I let him graze during the meeting and afterwards his sounds had returned on both sides.
I hosed him off and took him back to our camp area. Because we arrived later than most people, we were at the very back of the primitive area, which was a big fenced field. We also left after most people, so we had the field entirely to ourselves that night! My friend and I let our horses graze loose for a few hours and I was so pleased to see Boomer grazing and moving around. I did see him pass manure and he had two more piles in his pen over night.