Monday, May 14, 2012

cache creek volunteer

Cache Creek Endurance Ride: Cowboy Camp view at sunset
I volunteered for this ride months ago. I knew I wanted to help somewhere, and I'm familiar with the area and it's not too far of a drive. I also volunteered my SO, he didn't seem to mind (I gave him an out, and he didn't take it!) At the last minute, Ziggy and B came along for the ride (literally, to enter the 50).

We all headed out Friday about 11:00am. After an uneventful two-hour drive, we arrived to find ridecamp looking pretty full! But we pulled in, and found a spot. B unloaded the horse, and I took a walk around, and let the ride managers know we were there if they needed anything. SO worked on setting up our pop-up, which I was so glad we had as it was very sunny with almost no shade at camp.

I'm just chillin' in the shade...
After all was set up, and we'd been sitting awhile (at least an hour), someone came over and mentioned it was where they'd hoped to do the vet trot outs. Umm, maybe they should have said something sooner? We asked if they wanted us to move, but they said it was fine. So we did get a nice front-row view of all the vetting in, which was fun!
vet check front row view: Ziggy!
The first night they didn't need anything, but we were to report to duty at 5:45am. I did sit in on the ride meeting, where they did a very thorough description of the trail. The vet also talked about a very cool award they give: a special best condition for the 25LD. It is designed for any place finisher who's horse (and person) seems to best prepared for the ride. They even got a blanket! I thought that was very neat (at the AR ride, my first, the ride manager seemed to me a little dismissive of the LD riders).

Sleeping in the truck was fine, except for Ziggy bouncing around the whole rig. Major ties to the high-tie, which really absorbs any movement, but Ziggy hasn't done that before, so we were better safe than sorry-loose-horse, and kept him hard-tied to the trailer. There were two loose horses in the night, but in the morning we saw off B and Ziggy and reported in. We were assigned to the Judge Davis vet check, which is the half-way point for 25s (and ride and tie) and the 37.5 mile 20 minute hold for 50s.

Arriving at the check we unloaded crew bags, set up coolers with drinks, put up the pop-up tent for the vets to have some shade and hung some signs. Then we all got a job. There were some young vet students who were doing P&Rs, and I got out timer. I got all the papers and set up my station. In the beginning I was in the sun, till I got smart and moved under the trees. By the end of the day everyone wanted my job! My SO was a runner between vets, out-timer and overall helper, which he is very good at. (Which ended up including running 4 miles of the trail, up the hill coming into the check, to re-mark it! I owe him big time.)
my shady spot
And then we waited. The first ride and tie people came roaring in. They don't have a hold time, so the rider gave the reins to waiting crew, jumped off, and ran out, I just took numbers. The horses only have to pulse down to 72, and they're off after a quick vet check. Those are some fit people, crazy!

Then came in the 25s. Some came in quick, but most walked down the big steep hill into the check. Everyone had a half-hour hold, and some were a bit antsy to get back on the trail. I had to not let anyone leave early, which sometimes literally took stepping onto the trail to have them wait another minute. Most people were gracious and understood the wait and the rules. There were lots of little pieces of paper to transpose onto the main clipboard sheet, I only messed up a couple times!

More waiting after all the 25s left, then the top 50s came in about 11:30am. They had started at 6:00am, had 2 holds already, but were at 37.5 miles looking amazing. Their hold was only 20 minutes, and some were immediately ready to go, but only a couple rude people (who were anxious, I understand). Some people were so nice, who just talked while they waited, letting their horses eat grass, when I told them time they took off with a gracious thank you. The 50s trickled in, and I got to see B with Ziggy and Redheaded Endurance with Desire, before we left at 4:30, with all horses (except two who hadn't come through) yet accounted for.
Saturday night Ridecamp at sunset
Back at camp we were hot and tired, though nothing like the riders! Still a shower set up in the trailer was awesome. B and Ziggy came in towards the end, we were getting anxious, but they did it! Management had a nice ride dinner and awards, and we stayed the night so Ziggy could rest after 12 hours of work. Sunday morning we packed up early and were home by 9:00am. I was jealous watching everyone else ride (there were 86 starting 50s, about 35 starting 25s, 10 or so ride and tie), but in the end was glad to have volunteered this ride. Maybe next time for me.


  1. You rock! All the fun can't happen without the volunteers, so thanks again. And thanks for the blog link in there too :)

    1. All the fun? Sometimes it didn't look too fun! 8-)

      Glad you had a good ride, it was amazing to watch more than 120 horse and rider teams come through, really showed the powerful partnership of endurance.

  2. Thanks again for taking me & for volunteering! It was nice to see you & J at the check and the end! A great ride! 50 for you & Major soon :)

  3. Very cool! I've never done out timing. Looks complicated. I can't imagine being rude to the volunteers :(

    Grats to B and Ziggy (and Redhead!) on their finishes.

    Very cool idea for the LD BC to be based on all finishers.