Friday, August 31, 2012

one of those days

I tried to leave work on time, but my client was late to our meeting, and when she arrived had a few design changes. Because the guy who shares her office knows some design stuff. Oh boy. I didn't go into my years of professional design experience, but showed her why it worked. She left happy, I left late.

Kirk watches over me at work, making sure I follow the Prime Directive

It didn't help that I spent the early afternoon fixing someone else's problem. But I was going riding, which is good.

Halfway to the stable I realized I didn't have my riding shoes. I wore sandals to work. Wait, I think my old ariats are buried in the back. Get to the stable, check, yes!

Change my clothes. Wait, no sports bra? Ok, I'm not that endowed, but I like some compression! I'll try it with the regular tshirt bra from work.

Saddle up Major, no issues, good. Decide to try the trail to Rattlesnake Bar. Hadn't gone that way for awhile, Major was interested in heading a new direction.

We have to walk part of the road, and as usual the cars can't seem to move over. Or slow down. Nice.

Major is a little suspicious of the trail, but I stop and eat some blackberries. Most are done in the area, but this little patch is well watered somehow. Yum.

Try some trot. Not quite comfortable, things are bouncing uncomfortably. And my feet are too hot in my boots. Suck it up, ride.

Major is really forward and happy on this trail. We cruise along nicely. It is so rocky and hard, I don't want to push it, so we go a bit and turn for home: prancy pony. It doesn't last long, we do a few circles even on the cliff trail. I think he senses this is probably not the day to mess with me.

dry forest, all the buckeye trees shriveled

Trotting along the trail, I duck for a branch, seriously hit my head. I see stars, instant headache. And am so glad I wear a helmet!

In the home stretch, take a small part of the lake trail. Trotting along when the log monster tries to attack Major. Lose my stirrup. Then do circles around log monster and even step over him.

But then find a nice grassy spot and relax.

Thankfully the rest of the ride is uneventful. At home Major's dinner was just made for him, so he gets to eat his mash while getting a bath. He is happy.

In the end, after the ride, I am too.

And I get back in the car, to see my riding sneakers peaking out from under the seat.

moonrise on the drive home, moonlight ride this weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2012

slow feeder, round 2

My Freedom Feeder lasted about a year. In the last month I had to patch it multiple times, it was simply falling apart. I was sad that I installed it last August and it only lasted a year.

And I'm cheap. I didn't want to really buy another $50 feeder, since I know it won't last. So I figured to experiment. I looked into different netting and found good info on the Paddock Paradise site. Hockey net, who would think! Tough, strong, and other people had been successful, so I figured I was game for the experiment. (oh, bad pun, sorry!)

I ordered 4 feet of 60-inch wide hockey goal netting from Arizona Sports Equipment. They quickly shipped it out and I had it in a couple days. The price was $38 including shipping, and I can make two nets. The nets would be 2' feet by 5', which fold to make an envelope of 2' x 2.5', which holds about 3 flakes maximum. The stable still just feeds him his rations (not keeping it full like true slow-feeding does), but it has been working just fine.

old net and new net

just cuts with scissors

Easy to make. The hardest part was keeping my "helper" Major out of the way, So I stayed in his pasture and he got to play in the aisleway between paddocks.

temporary holding by hay string

fancy use of neon cord (no orange sadly) instead of hay string

feeder in place
It didn't take much time, lace top and bottom to the rails, lace the sides like an envelope. Still easy for the barn staff to fill. I think I'd like to make it even bigger next time, but I'll see how this holds up. After Major had his aisle-time revoked (antagonizing another horse) he tried it out, and it seemed acceptable (though he'd rather have a big pile to spread around a make a mess of!)

I can bite you, no, you bite me! All fun and games till someone gets annoyed.

acceptable, alfalfa would be better...

Major also got a new fly mask. I like that the mesh is more see through. I tried an Absorbine mask with similar mesh, but it was enormous on him (arab was too small, horse too big). It now lives on his big-headed neighbor Dune. This is a Cashel Quiet Ride mask, horse size. Major doesn't seem too hard on masks, so I'll see how it holds up, because the material is more delicate. He wears the mask 24-7, so I like that he can see better. Of course I'm completely anthropomorphizing about the seeing aspect, because he has never had any issues with his standard mask!

Soon fly season will be over with, just in time for blanket season to start!

better and worse

Luckily Major showed vast behavior improvement in our next ride. Went out with his good buddy Friday for an evening lake ride. A little excitement at the start when we encountered two baby bears (Oh, how cute! Wait, umm, where is the mama? Let's trot out of here!) and other than an I-want-to-be-in-front trying to buck episode, all was fine. We power-walked home on a loose rein, yeah!

"my" rock between Major's ears

Our next ride was not as good, as Major was with a new friend, Justice. Justice is a very flashy chestnut arab, who needs more time and miles. Friend B took him out for his owner, who is a little over-horsed. It was nice and chill out (Fall in the air. I know some like it, but I HATE it!) and of course windy out at the lake. We took it slow, just walking, because you can tell when the horses are in THAT mood. Major was OK, he is fine with wind, but we knew if I let him trot that Justice would just lose it and want to race!

So we waited and moved out faster back on the trail to Granite Bay. I think poor Justice didn't quite know what hit him, as he hasn't gone out much with a fast horse. Major put him to the test, though we kept it slower than our usual power trot, Justice just doesn't have the extended trot yet. He'll get there, though he is a bit spooky.

And it didn't help that Major was being an ass to him! Laying ears back, a couple times kicking out (completely NOT acceptable, seriously reprimand ensued). Major does not like new horses, and it is just a defensive position he takes (being low-man in the herd hierarchy), but it is not OK. Hadn't had the situation for awhile, reminded me to be alert.

Gee, other than the kicking, he was much improved. But add that in and the whole grade suffers. So not really better on that ride. It seems like a 30+ mile week is what it takes for some improving behavior. Major wasn't even sweaty or tired after 10 miles, I'd like to read up on horses keeping their conditioning, because he is fit and (a bit too) fiesty. A longer ride is in our future, but I think I'll trailer somewhere fun.

And a moonlight ride along the lakeshore is set for Friday! Looking forward to that adventure!

Friday, August 24, 2012

conversations with Major: I win

Hey Major, let's go somewhere.
No, I'm good. I'll just stand here in my pasture.
No really, let's go for a ride.
Um, not today.
Yes, today.  
Fine, here I come. Oh, you have a treat! Sure, I'll go somewhere.  

I'm so bored. Bored, bored bored.
Stop eating that.  
What? OK, no tree chewing.
I'll go finish getting your tack.  
Bang, crash!
What are you doing now!?
Then why is my tack box overturned, the saddle rack tipped over and you're chewing on a brush?
No I'm not.
You JUST dropped it.  
Wasn't me. It was the cat.
Let's go out on the trail before you cause any more trouble.  

Shuffle, drag, shuffle, shuffle.
Just walk please. No, no eating, we haven't done anything yet. Wait one second, I need to adjust my shoe.
Grab, munch, munch.
Knock it off, you can eat later.
But now I have something, I win!
You don't win, let's go.  

panorama from upper trail, lower canal trail on the left

Ooo, I like this trail. Let's zoom along.
Safely now, lots of exposed slippery granite.  
I'm careful.
Actually, yes you are, good boy. Stop a minute, we're going to go down there.  
But we're UP here, and heading home.
No, we're going this way, down to the lake. Just walk.
I don't want to, so I'm going to TROT!
Um, I said walk please?
I'm trotting, I win!
No you don't, circle and walk.
Damn. I still won there. I'm fast.

row of trees usually at the waters edge

We're going home, we're going home!
How did you decide that?
I don't know, I just THINK it!
We're not near home yet, knock off the prancing.  
We COULD be going home, maybe on this trail RIGHT HERE!
Circling back, we're not taking that trail, we're continuing.
Ha, I won, I turned! 
No, we're going the way I want.
I won for a minute.

lower trail, with hunting egret in the lake

OK, I think we should go home up this trail.
Here! Right here! Go home! Let's ZOOM!
Um, no. Nevermind, let's continue, attitude boy.
No, No, NO, we are going home that way, you said!
Fine, let's go back.
Going back, going back, I win, I'm doing my dance. Wait, we passed the trail, now we're going back the way we came. Not cool, NOT cool! Fine, I'll walk.
See, that's all you needed to do. Now we can home.
Yeah, home! I win.
We have to head home sometime, you don't win.
I win!

Prance, prance, jig, dance.
Knock it off.
But we're going HOME!
Yes, so behave youself.
Yes, you can. SEE! I think you're back to your old self Major, which Im glad for, but damn, you're annoying.
Who, me? NO I'm cute. And look at my dancing. I could enter a prancing contest. I could win!

See, we're home. After all the circles, backing and turning around, we got back like I said. It just took a bit longer, because you were very difficult.
I win!
What? We did LOTS of work and you had to finally listen and behave, mostly.
I win, because we're at home now!
But we ALWAYS come home.
I still win.

But you get a bath.
But my dinner is almost ready. It is soaking there, I can see it.
Nope, I need to clean you up, and you are going to wait until I put all the tack away.
But they are going to FEED me.
Nope, we've got some time. See, now you're back in your pasture, still no food. And so shiny, you look pretty.
What? What are you doing, trying to take pictures? I need to help.

waiting for dinner
what cha doing?

Now here they come with dinner, I'll see you later.
I'm starving! Dinner! Back in my pasture! I win!

I think I hear the dinner truck

Sunday, August 19, 2012

quiet (?) Sunday trails

Home early from a weekend trip, (gorgeous weather on the coast!) I headed out a bit later than I was hoping. While not expecting 100 degrees, a 95 degree high is enough to want to ride early!

I wanted to do a bit more, working up from the weeks of resting. Major thought that was a bad idea, and headed down the trail like a slug. Far enough from home, he finally figures out we're not going back and we trot merrily along. Still more walk than trot on the hard trails, but we explored towards Granite Bay on the lower canal trail. A big tree now blocks the trail before Beeks Bight, but in true trail-horse style we blazed around it. And trotted a bit before encountering THE MONSTER! Hiding behind a rock along the trail, the monster crouched in wait. For chubby ponies. Now Major almost never sees monsters, so this was serious.

As serious as a washed up log could be! Absolutely ridiculous behavior, and when snorting next to it Major seemed a bit embarrassed and we continued on. I took the upper trail not thinking, and realized I'd be stuck on it for awhile till I could cut back down. This section is SO hot, no trees just ugly shrubbery and sandy dirt footing. For miles. Ok, it only seems like miles when it's hot and you're up there.

As soon as we could we cut back to the lake. Yes, exposed and in the sun, but near the water it doesn't seem so bad. Again I worked on getting him to eat while walking. We'll do a slow walk on loose rein through delicious crabgrass. He won't even look at it. If I stop him and tap his head (head down cue, which he knows), he'll put his head down and eat. But the cue doesn't work while walking. And asking him to walk again he just takes his bite down the trail. So he can eat and walk. Doesn't mind eating with his bit in. Most horses you have to teach NOT to grab, but Major has to be different. Anyone else dealt with this and have any ideas?

We wandered into the lake, but were more intent on getting home. It was getting hotter and boats were loudly zooming around. And a low-flying airplane. I'm pretty sure you can't fly a plane 50 feet above a lake with people all over it, cool plane though!

Away from the lake the trails were actually quiet and lacking monsters, and home wasn't too far. Major got a good bath, all hosed off and cool, even his sweaty face. I led him over to eat some grass and dry a bit. But a few minutes later he rolled anyway on the way to the pasture.

Then he was behaving strangely. He walked up the hill along the fence line, and stopped. And walked another couple feet, and stopped. And again. Then I saw it: he was waiting for the rotary sprinkler to go around so he didn't have to walk through it and get wet. Once he stepped too close, and shook his head that had gotten wet. Finally the sprinkler moved on and he walked up to the water trough.

My horse is an idiot.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

(un)stable observations

All week it has been more than 100 degrees at 5pm. I would like to ride my horse but am not motivated enough. I could get to the barn at 5 in the morning and try to ride before work, but I'm not that dedicated either. I COULD ride in the heat, but I don't need to. No training, no schedule, plenty of excuses. And Major doesn't care as long as he gets out, so Major and I just meander down the road, he finds some crabgrass to eat and is happy.

And my hot and fried brain pondered life. Or just horse and stable (or unstable?) random observations:

• The fields are filled with dragonflies. I saved one from drowning in the water trough. Good karma.

• Hoof trimming appointment this week was at 11:30, so I can go on my lunch break. And come back to an important meeting sweaty and slightly dirty. I cannot go to the barn without getting dirty, like a dirt magnet. Another woman at the barn always looks crisp and cool. And wears a white shirt, that isn't filthy. How?

• There are lots of oak galls this year, more than I have noticed before. Maybe the little wasps had a good year. Gall wasps are amazing, including scientists not really knowing how the gall is formed, and parthenogenesis! (Don't need no boys around, these girls are doing it for themselves) Tough chicks.

• Even Bonny kitty is hot. She was too comfy to get out of the cool grass for a pet.

look at this ridiculous forelock

Why the long face? Major thinks: this is not my good side, and my nose is dirty.

how pitiful is that?
• Major has a total Donald Trump comb-over thing going on with his wimpy forelock. It's gotten pretty long, but not full. Maybe I can just double it back on itself, maybe some gel would help. Mousse? Styling creme?

• My friend sent me this sweet card, with a lovely quote: "We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best that we can find in our travels is an honest friend." Robert Louis Stevenson

• Earlier in the week I put on a pair of shorts from the not-dirty-enough pile. I wore them awhile at home, then felt something in the pocket. Week-old horse treats. (Good thing it wasn't carrots.)

 • When it is too hot, Z pizza to the rescue. Curry Chicken rustica, awesome.

• One night the clouds came in, making it humid, but lovely.

• I have 8 hours of meetings today in an 8-hour workday. About half of which I'm just there as a figurehead for my department. Insane.

• I looked down at my ankle, and thought "I have scratches." (It was mosquito bites). What other horse ailments could I diagnose myself with?

•  By tomorrow I won't be able to take it anymore. I AM riding my horse, come heat or high water. More likely water: we'll go down to the lake. And I seriously want to do a moonlight full moon is August 31. I'll think about that during the meetings...

Monday, August 13, 2012


People have called Sacramento a cow town. Opposing team fans use obnoxious cow bells during Kings games. It's the closest major city...and they may be right.

People here even ride cows. I'd only heard the stories, but today I got to see it for myself.

chubby boy finishing some breakfast
104 expected temp, but only feels like 99. Oh, yeah, that's better!

It started out a regular ride, we're taking it slow. It was early, to beat (some) heat, with more than 100 degrees for the last few days (and continuing, yuck). Major thought he needed to finish breakfast, and was not very motivated to head out. But once on the trail he was happy to walk, most of the time. Getting a little jiggy, I asked him to walk up a hill. He was happy to comply once he tried to trot in the nasty start thistle. Using vegetation as a training tool, not covered in most riding classes.

vegetation training tool

At the lake Major was more than willing to move out. Sometimes a bit too much, but it is his usual "Oh my! Oh boy! We're at the lake!" trot, which is just because of finally some open terrain with good footing. We had fun trotting along, and me trying to get him to walk and eat at the same time (still not getting it, all feet must stop before he gets a bite).

lake view, a very dry year

Heading up the big hill toward home, Major was getting jiggy with it, which he thinks is just fun, me, not so much. We were having a discussion up the hill (walk...jig...walk...trot...oh boy...) when we came around the corner to a woman riding a cow! Major stopped, but wasn't particularly alarmed. I was probably more nervous, my friends have encountered this pair and most horses have been very silly/scared of the whole situation. Usually I ride out strange situations, but with Major already being amped up, I decided to get off and face the cow.

I wish I had a picture, but I was too focused on my horse. The cow is actually a steer, a black and white longhorn (well, I'm not sure of the breed, but the horns are long, like 3 feet across). The woman riding him steers with reins on the nose ring, and said the cow was not very motivated. The trail was wide enough for her to step aside, and then turn towards us. Major was curious, not scared really, and mainly wanted to say hi and touch noses. The rider said the cow gets scared though, so we kept our distance. The cow is very cute, with a sweet face, only three years old.

They walked past and I took a quick photo as they were heading down the trail.

cow heading down the trail

cow butt
I was so glad to have so little reaction from Major. Maybe I got myself a cow horse.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

finally friday ride

All summer I have Fridays off. And for 6 weeks of it Major has been out of commission. Sure, I rode another horse, but it's not the same!

So this Friday I was so glad to be going out. Invited along was a babysitter horse, Friday (good omen, right?) for a basic, short trail ride. I had no idea how Major would behave after all the time off, back in his favorite element, the trail.

I shouldn't have worried, he was a super good boy. I'm taking it slow with his rehab, we only walk on hard ground, and trot in the sand down by the lake. That's another awesome thing, the canal trail is open! Last year it was passable in October. Now August!? Bad for the water situation (don't call it a drought) but good for riders.

We trotted by "my" rock, Major snorkeled in the lake, and we went by the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit wall (also known as Hadrian's Wall, China Wall, everyone has a name for it). We let Friday have the lead most of the way. For a short section Major took the lead, and I let him trot. Which led to a lovely pulling contest and discussion in when it is ok to canter and be a crazy man. But overall good behavior for a horse who hadn't been out since July 3!

Even being a little bit of a brat, it was just great to be back on my horse. And he was so happy to out, having his job to do.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

doctor's orders

I tried. Yeah. Not very hard, since on the second day of doctor's orders I broke them.

I took Major in the arena, where he behaved himself, mostly. Remembered to listen to leg, no silly trotting, practiced for about a half-hour on poles and turns and listening. So I rewarded him (and me) by opening the arena gate and heading out.

All we did was walk up the road. But his ears pricked forward, his step got long and loose, and he was happy. We wandered into the open field next to the stable and I saw movement under a tree. I watched a bobcat jump and pounce on a huge ground squirrel! He dragged it into the open and held it for awhile, the bobcat not very large, the squirrel almost dragging the ground. Another squirrel was chirping and yelling, the bobcat held its prize and wandered off. A very good dinner. I didn't want to scare it, so we just went back to the road.

bobcat time lapse, carrying off some dinner
And just wandered to the staging area, where there was something amiss. A large pile of gravel has been dumped, and a tractor sitting nearby. Major was slightly suspicious, but of course I made him walk through all the gravel, and it looks like other people had been doing some desensitizing training with their horses too, many hoofprints. Major didn't like when he was so close he couldn't see over, and did giraffe neck and danced a bit. We walked around and headed back, our trail ride over.

Is is a volcano?
just gravel, but I can't see over!
Doctor's orders had just said build him up, try to keep on soft footing, no downhill trotting. So I actually don't think the 15 minutes walk up the side of the gravel road on the grass is a problem. I wouldn't jeopardize his health! But it does show my problem, that I seriously need help with, on arena work. I liked it when I had a trainer telling me what to do, or had group lessons, but by myself? I get bored too quickly and can't think of things to do. An endurance friend has really enjoyed her dressage lessons, which I'd like to work on as well. I was just a bit intimidated, since Major and I know less than nothing. She said the trainer was fine with that, liked working with beginners. I will go watch one of her lessons, and see if I think it could work.

Until then we'll muddle around the arena. I dragged the poles around, maybe I'll set up an obstacle course, others might like to play too. But the trail beckons, especially knowing the sandy lake trail is open. Soon.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tevis 2012

What a ride! Crewing for Tevis is certainly a mighty job, but really, one of patience. Driving, unloading, waiting...helping! feeding! Then loading, driving, unloading, waiting, again and again. Caveat: I was not a very good chronicler of the event, when I'm busy I don't seem to think about the camera, only when things finally calmed down, and were too boring to take photos of!

I was part of crew for Team Stalley. Pam Stalley has (I think, my brain is too tired to look it up right now) 12 buckles, her daughters Jennifer and Alyssa have multiples as well. They know what they're doing! They know how to train, they have it down pretty well. The crew binder spelled it all out. I loaded some of their stuff on Wednesday night, and was set to met them at Robinson. I also briefly met with GoPony on Wednesday and talked horses and boots, which was fun but is all a blur and seems like ages ago!
Tevis morning sunrise

Saturday morning we (I had recruited my SO too, ha, he can't escape!) got to Robinson and half the crew was already there (they had rider food and stuff, we had mostly horse stuff). Unload quickly, three minutes only then back down the hill!

2 crew carts, 2 extra saddles, coolers, everything but the kitchen sink

The canyons. Up then down. Repeat. Repeat again. Wow.

And waited for my first rider. I got to see the first riders come in. The horses looked good, but no one looked fresh. Everyone was coated with dust, and water was liberally dumped on everyone. Then my rider Alyssa! Mad dash: water, food, untack, change clothes, take care of horse, take care of rider, retack, get her back on the trail. Wow, breathe. And wait for our next riders. Damn, we got word that Pam was pulled at Red Star. But still waiting for Jennifer. Here she comes! Repeat all craziness from before, this time when she leaves repack everything for Foresthill, get back in the truck and go!

you get used to this view

Regroup at Foresthill, where some stay, and we go to Michigan Bluff. This is where the horses come out of the canyons, and can be really hot. So we brought ice and water to cool them, and their riders, down. The next check is Chicken Hawk which is very close, but our riders like to have someone here.

And wait. No cell service, and the Tevis webcast is great, but behind by about an hour. The horses coming through look great, these are the top 25. And here comes Alyssa! Water horse, switch out her electrolyte bottles, head back on the trail. And wait for Jennifer, who is at least an hour behind her. And wait. And check with the webcast. And finally find out she was pulled at Last Chance.

Damn. Two down, one left. Back to Foresthill. Where we just missed Alyssa leaving, hopefully to see her at Auburn. Pack up, back down to Auburn. When the rain starts. And some lightning. Oh boy. It's about 10, we expect Alyssa who was 25th at Robinson and 17th at Foresthill, and who seems to be moving up the rankings,  to be at No Hands somewhere around midnight. We have a little time, which is nice. I run home and take a quick shower and get some Old Town Pizza (best pizza ever: Gunfighters Pesto). And over to the Auburn fairgrounds, where the first riders are coming in. And it is Garrett and Lisa Ford, hand in hand. And soon after come Kevin Myers and Rusty Toth, who canter through the stadium. After 100 miles!

the Ford's, (crappy phone photo, more bad photos to come)

As an aside: The official finish is actually out on the trail, about 10 minutes walk away. Many of the riders get off after the finish, walk their horses to the stadium, then get back on for the victory lap. You have to go once around the stadium to officially complete the ride.

And then head down to No Hands, where is is raining lightly, but the lightning storm seems to be past. It is pitch black, the moon is hidden by clouds. On the switchbacks above there are a few glowsticks, but the bridge itself is just a black hole. A few minutes after midnight we hear a horse, and Jennifer Stalley calls out to her sister, and get a response. It's Alyssa, now in 10th place! We see glowsticks and not much else, they throw water on the horse, and it's back up to the stadium.

Where we wait, but we know she's coming. But Mark Schuerman was right behind her. Who will come in first? It is "only" four miles from the bridge to the finish. I've ridden it many times, and it is not easy, even after a short ride. It is uphill almost the whole way, and they've just done 96 miles. So we wait. And here she comes, in 10th place, wow!

Alyssa Stalley and Toby, 10th place Tevis 2012

They had different crew for after care, so we congratulated her and made sure everything was OK with the pulled horses (a metabolic who was getting better, a slight lameness to be reevaluated later) and then went home to crash for a few hours.

Alyssa Stalley and Toby, BC judging

We were back at the fairground for Best Condition judging, which was awesome. The horses look like they hadn't done anything. All the horses looked good, I don't know how I could judge. Alyssa's horse, who is also known as Raptor when he's full of himself, dragged her around the stadium. I don't think she was much in contention, because the top four riders finished more than three hours before her, and that is all taken into consideration.

left to right: Scripps Cup for Junior riders, Tevis Cup and Haggin Cup.

We helped out before the awards presentation, placing the buckles with the certificates. This year the ride director's of Tevis did a new thing: Legacy buckles. First time finishers could receive a buckle donated by a past rider. They were inscribed with the past riders name and year they won that buckle. How cool is that! All the riders get a certificate and come across the stage. Then they give out the trophies, and with bated breath everyone awaited the Haggin Cup.

And the winner was the fourth place horse, Farrabba (Stoner), ridden by Rusty Toth, who gave a very moving speech. While Stoner ate the oats out of the trophy.

Haggin Cup winner Stoner, cup held by Ride Director Chuck Stalley

Seriously quite an adventure. I can now relax a bit. And I was just crew, I can't imagine how tired the riders and horses are. Watching the riders come in, seeing the pull list growing, all the crews, volunteers: what a mammoth undertaking. I was glad to be a part of it, but riding it? I don't have that desire yet. I do have two endurance friends who rode sweep, each group riding set portions of the trail for people who need help. That sounds like fun and something I might do next year. Or crew again. Or volunteer. Being part of Tevis is really quite memorable.

P.S. For a good read, go read Redhead Endurance's blog. She actually took good pictures of her rider and horse, a really good documentation of crewing.