Tuesday, June 21, 2016

wild disappointment

Well, the Wild West endurance ride went exactly as I expected…for the first 35 miles.

Major was a bit suspicious of the cute guinea hen wandering the camp

Well, except for starting in the rain. That wasn't expected! As it pitter-pattered on the roof of the truck the night before the ride, dripping off the trees, I was doubting my choice in sports and remembering rain clothes forgotten at home.

wet, anxious horse (with yet another mash!)

But in the morning I was grateful I'd at least remembered my waterproof jacket, but sure wish I'd packed waterproof shoes too. Oh well, spare set into crew bag and time to go.

ready to go

with anxious horse standing still and posing was not an option!

I started a bit back but that didn't last long, Major was a freight train, and we passed quite a few people and then were in a lovely bubble by ourselves. I don't mind the speed, it's the pulling and fighting that gets me. In our bubble it was great, fast and strong. Then I got off to walk an exceptionally rocky downhill section and got caught up to by some other riders. And his brain fell out. Repeat.

misty morning

the only place I let him canter!

The bushes and trees were dripping wet, but at least it had stopped raining. The trails were damp but not too bad, the mist enveloping us a bit surreal. We passed the photographers and came into the first vet check at 20 miles. Pulsed right down, all As, a 50 minute hold. (Thanks to excellent SO as crew who tolerated my craziness all day and looked after Major so well) Time to fix a boot mishap, then I looked at Major's white sock and was worried he was bleeding somewhere! Nope, it was me! (In my hurry I rasped the top of my finger) Note: add bandaids to crew bag. Luckily SO had some first aid in his car which was at the check.

In no time we headed out. In an awesome bubble by ourselves! Slowed way down, as this section went down down down and I wasn't out to set any land speed records. And the trails were a bit muddy on the downhills, and slippery in deceptive places. But oh so lovely! Wildflowers of pink, the green was a rain forest, a meadow of horsetail and birch/aspen. Some serious uphill climbs on good gravel footing, creek crossings in mud, sandy sections, and overall every footing you can imagine!

blooming shrubbery as we go down, down, down

a bit blurry (photos while trotting are hard!) but grape overwhelms

horsetail and birch, glowing green

just a little slippery mud

red dirt, green ferns

But somewhere in this section was a misstep. Or a rock. Or an uphill canter. Or a downhill turn. Or something with our name on it. I didn't feel a bad step on trail...

Vet check two, 35 miles done. And again we pulsed right in at 60. But the first trot out felt weird. And when repeating it got worse. Done for the day.

I had the vet really look him over, as she had the time. It looks like he aggravated an old splint on his right front. Icing suggested, follow up with vet. He otherwise looked great, wanting to eat all mash that was not his, alfalfa and carrots and go out again.

Major disapointment

But not this time. My experiences with this ride are either wildly successful (2 great finishes) or disappointingly bad (2 sad pulls) I'd like a mediocre middle please.

All the training miles and time and now another trip to the vet. Our ride season probably done (our only other ride was going to be in a couple weeks). I know it's about enduring, but sometimes it's hard. I'm grateful Major's injury seems minor, but the disappointment fills you up too.

Major has resting and healing to do. I have camping and kayaking already on my calendar. So a little break, and then Major and I will figure out where to go from here.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

trail by numbers

In two rides, the trail by numbers:

paint by number trail: Foresthill bridge and river view

3 rattlesnakes
2 oblivious deer
plethora of lizards
6 bridges
4 horses
2 boats
1 jet ski
8 serious runners
1 baying hound
1 wet retriever
1 baby in a cowboy hat
1 stupid person with a stroller

lots of rocks
even more poison oak
6 creeks
2 rivers
1 lake
1 waterfall
many polite hikers and runners

3429 elevation climb
22.8 miles of trail
4 boots
2 ignored troughs
1 flake of alfalfa
15 miles in truck and trailer

1 happy horse
1 happy rider

Friday, June 3, 2016

106 degrees

How to ride in stupid hot temperatures:

Start early. Tack up so quickly you forget to take pictures. Birds and cicadas provide soundtrack. But on the trail the early morning sun is already warm.

Ignore the water trough at 5 miles. Don't worry, we'll be back through. 

Keep moving, you create your own breeze. Watch for giant spider webs across trail. Fail and ride right through beautiful orb web with face. 

Charge into the lake. And stand around, enjoying the cool, lapping water and horse snorkeling. Until horse tries to go too deep. Back to shore!

Ride back by the nice trough. Nope. Not drinking. It's now 88 degrees. 

The exposed sunny trail is already too hot. But it's the way home, so keep moving!

Wear new tights. These new ones might be cooler than black? Not so much, but I like them!

Be done way before lunch. 11am: 92 degrees. 

Hose the horse. No photos as phone has already almost lost its life in the lake. Will stay away from water right now (thankyouverymuch).

Provide wonderful carrot popsicle. Have skeptical horse nose it then ignore to go eat grass. 

Go home, take a cold shower and read book in no air conditioning house. Just don't move much, you'll stay cooler. Wish for a popsicle. But maybe orange flavor, not carrot.