Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fire Mountain 50, 2018 - Nick Warhol


January 17 2018
by Nick Warhol

The weather gods smiled on us last weekend. It rained like mad in the Bay area for a couple of days, as well as throughout the whole state of California; that almost never happens. The desert got almost 24 hours of solid rain. And then it stopped! I drove down from the Bay Area to Ridgecrest on Wednesday in perfect weather with the two horses and my brand new dirt bike. Fire Mountain ride manager Gretchen Montgomery and her husband Mike put me and my horses up at their place for a couple of days before the ride. Their house is a 3-minute walk to the ride camp. On Thursday morning the sun was out, it was about 55 degrees, and zero wind. I set out on the brand spanking new KTM with zero miles on the knobbies to help with the trail marking for the ride and was treated to about the best conditions possible. There is nothing like riding anything, be it horse, dirt bike, mountain bike, quad, dune buggy, monster truck, even a big wheel in the wet desert. It did not hurt riding the new bike that is VERY nice. I spent a few hours working on the trail, touching up the ribbons, and then just went riding. And just kept riding till it got dark. I was out there for most of the day just enjoying the stunning desert on the new bike.

Friday morning I had to grudgingly park the orange 2 wheeler and concentrate on the horses. In the morning Gretchen rode Donnie out with me on Sorsha for a warm up ride that went well. I went and did errands and moved my rig over to the base camp, a block from Gretchen’s place. Convenient! I took FEI gun Mike Tomlinson out in a side-by-side to have a look at the trail which he declared marked. Co-ride manager Brian Reeves and I did a couple of errands for Gretchen, then I walked over to get my horses and bring them to the camp. Just as I arrived so did Judy, who drove down on Friday with Kristin Ojala from the Bay Area with her spunky mare Lani. We vetted the horses in, and I had a little “airs above the ground” with Sorsha on my trot back- she was jumping around like a bit of a Lipizzaner. Hoo boy! We spent a nice evening in the party bus of Barry and Jennifer Waitte- that thing is seriously plush! For those of you who know those guys know that their wine is always pretty good! Bob Spoor, Shellie Hatfield, Jenni Smith, Kristin, and (sorry, I can’t remember his name) got treated to dinner. Nice!

The 50 started saturday at 7am- Judy on mister Donnie and me leading the big, brown (excited) girly horse on foot for a bit. She is still just too excited in camp and at the start. I hopped on after about a half a mile and then it’s all good. We were in the back of the herd as we went out on the green loop, the more technical of the three. The desert was in perfect condition- wet from a drenching rain meant no dust, no deep sand, no mud, just perfection. The trail climbs up a small range and through a short rocky section, maybe a half mile, but that’s about it for this ride. You get dumped back into the splendid wet desert for a while heading out towards highway 395, but not across it. An ever smiling Bill Gore was out snapping the pics. The trail turns back towards town and after a water stop, we head down what used to be called Nazi canyon, where idiots had spray painted all kinds of trash on the rocks. Gretchen recently led a team up there and cleaned off just about all the graffiti. Very nice! Its twisty and rocky for a bit but opens up into a nice, big, fast slightly downhill wash. At about mile 13 I was in front on Sorsha booming right on down the wide wash at a big trot when she spooked big at something that I sure did not see. She did not fall off of me, it was the other way around! Yes, I bit the dust at a pretty good speed. Whammo on the ground I went, landing hard on my left hip. I actually rolled at least once given the speed we were going, hitting my helmet on the ground. Sorry Abbas! (He gave me that helmet) She did not go anywhere, in fact somehow I still had the rein in one hand. I got up slowly and walked on down the wash on foot for a bit, then hopped back up and let Judy lead for a while. At least I wasn’t really hurt! That’s the first time coming off of her from a spook. Judy was behind me and said she just launched at nothing Judy had seen. We hit camp in just under 3 hours for a quick 30-minute hold. Both beasts looked great, so out we went on the second loop on orange ribbon. This is a cool 15 mile loop in that its mostly nice trottable desert trail, and some great single track. It winds up through the moon rocks south of town, out into the open desert, and then back through the rocks on neat twisty trails. Yippee! Judy and I traded places in front, but my big, brown, girly horse was done with spooking. I noticed my hip was starting to hurt pretty badly; the Advil in my camper was calling to me. We headed down into camp, but Judy noticed her right foot was hurting a bit from being kind of sideways on the stirrup. She could trot, but it was hurting her somewhat. I got my drugs and went to vet the horses while Judy rested up and wrapped her foot. Both horses were perfect. The hour lunch was nice, and even better when the Advil kicked in and I was not in quite so much pain. We headed out onto the best loop in the ride, the pink loop that consists of almost all nice trotting on rolling desert. We trotted out the first 10 miles or so, but I noticed that my Advil was wearing off. (I should have brought some with me) I could ride, but it hurt. Especially when walking downhill- there was some kind of little movement that caused a nice little spike of pain. We made the turn at the far end of the loop and headed back towards camp with about 8 miles to go. The sun was low on the horizon, and the trail headed due west right into the sun. It’s a great trail out here- single track across the dez on rolling ground. Judy’s foot started to bother her again, and I’m hurting- what a pair we made. We decided to slow down and do more walking for her, but it was actually better for me to trot. I’d hop off of Sorsha and lead her on foot until my hip was hurting, then I’d get back on till that hurt, then back off, etc, etc. The sun was now setting, and lo and behold, what do we have here? Ride management to the rescue! Brian Reeves and John Rice appeared in a side-by-side with glow bars. I didn’t really need them, knowing pretty much every square inch of the area out here, but that was nice of them to do for us. Especially since they did not have enough, and they started hanging them too early, so they actually went back to the ones they put up that were behind us, took them down, leap frogged ahead of us, and put them up back in to camp. Now that’s service!

We trotted a little, but mostly walked the last 5 miles or so into camp and arrived just after dark at about 6pm. I trotted Sorsha for Mike the vet, and that was a mistake. Not for her, but for me! Ouch! Brian came to the rescue and trotted Donnie for us. Both horses were perfect, Sorsha was 40 pulse at the finish. She’s ready for the 100 next month! (I will be!)

The idea of riding the next day sounds good until the next day came. I was very sore, and Judy’s foot was in need of some healing. We packed up and drove home, calling Saturday a success. Judy finished her second 50 on her comeback, and now Sorsha has 400 miles. Thank goodness I did not get really hurt, and that I have an Advil injury. Its three days later and I’m still sore but its improving. I’ll be ready to ride in a week after the ponies have had their break. Then its down to the 20 mule team 100 where I get to ride that superb new KTM for a couple hundred miles marking the trail before doing the 100. It’s the best weekend of the year!

Thanks to Gretchen and her crew- they put on a great ride that I recommend highly. It’s a fun ride, especially when the desert gods smile and make it wet out there. I hope we get the same next month!

Friday, January 05, 2018

Death Valley XP ’17: Lessons from the Trail - Redheaded Endurance - Full Story


Last year after after 4 days on 4 different horses at Death Valley XP I shared some of my favorite Survival and Comfort Items while catch riding a multiday. This year I’ve already pretty thoroughly covered how we pin-balled through multiple vehicular malfunctions, so it seemed timely to now share some things learned/confirmed while riding the same horse for 50 miles for multiple days.

Kenny has never needed splint or fetlock boots before in our mileage together and I rarely have ever used them with any horse, but I’ve been packing both types of leg protection boot for years now. This ride this habit proved invaluable, when at lunch of the Day 2 50 miler I noticed that Kenny, naturally knock kneed/toed out on the front with an inward swinging movement, had given himself a knick on his left front with his right front. I made it a point to run back to the trailer to grab the fetlock boots before we left on the second loop, and when on a pee break I saw the interference mark freshly disturbed, on went the fetlock boots. Kenny wore them the rest of the 150 miles, barefoot and booted, and there were no further issues.

I also got very lucky in the Bring All Things regard, because when transferring gear from my rig to T’s, my husband threw in an extra saddle pad that I hadn’t planned to bring. It was a green Coolback pad with a 3+” longer flap than the barrel pad Woolback we usually use, and it too proved vital when I noticed that Kenny had a spot of rubbed off hair right where his clip started/pad ended, where the leather billets ran. I have never had any sort of rub on Kenny before in 50 milers with this clip, but this was a multi-day that crossed mountains, so possible issues were handily revealed! The pad my husband had unwittingly included proved to be perfect under the Specialized and covering the rub spot, and there were no were further issues...

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2017 Death Valley Escape - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

January 3 2018
by Karen Bumgarner

This ride has been on my "must ride" list for years and I finally got to go!! The locals call it the Death Valley Encounter, but for me it was a brief escape from cold and snow, and as I write this, it's 18 degrees so I'm ready to return!!

The day after Christmas when most people are shopping, I was trying to make my way through Boise. It was like being on a suicide mission with two big wrecks in the West bound lanes and more piling up as drivers ignored all the flashing lights warning them of what lay ahead. On my side, heading East, all the Einsteins were rubbernecking at the wrecks and then slamming on their brakes, only to slide off and land in the median. I was scared spitless, or something like that, the spelling varies. You don't get pictures of that since I was still doing my own driving. Once the other side of Boise I had to stop at the rest area and relax my shaking hands. Then onward to Gooding, meet the Cobbley's and stow my rig at Huber's.

The remainder of our trip was uneventful. We marveled at the sun and the rising temps, we were so excited to meet 60 degrees!!! We made it to Ely, NV and stayed at the fair grounds there. Brrrr in the morning. We piled in the truck and Mike says "where to today Miss Daisy?" "Oh anywhere warm will do nicely", I replied. We made it to Trona, CA. and camp around 3'ish. I don't recall exactly we were all way too excited...

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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Death Valley Encounter 2017 - Kipling the Wonder Horse

TheMonkeysKnowNothing - Full Story

January 1 2018

Ride to Remember for sure

Fabulous ride. Everything went my way so the monkeys too had a nice time.Best part for me was getting to go with my girl, Ice. Mr Monkey is finally getting to ride instead of crew.

Ice is a caterpillar (gaited horse) so he got to slink along on her for 66 miles altogether. I've tried so hard to get her to play 'bounce the monkey' and though I know she tries hard, she just can't do it! She moves like a caterpillar. Oh well.(There were lots of caterpillars at this ride)

I did 155 miles altogether excluding some doubling back from getting lost on the third day.I only wanted to take the trails that led back to my gal so whenever my monkey tried to stop and read the pie plates I .....bounced.She tried to get me to stop. I stopped. I did. At every blood pie plate.BUT...I can bounce on the spot REALLY well!I'm an expert!

So armed with a GPS, map, written instructions, ribbons AND pie plates......she still got lost. A lot! She's an expert!Anyway on the fourth day she gave up the maps and stuff and just kept her eye on one big hairy moving trail marker called Crocket Dummas. Good idea I said...

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2017 Death Valley Encounter, Day 1: Panamint Valley - V Jaques

Furtheradventuresteam91 - Full Story

by Valerie Jaques
January 1 2018

I have to start with a bit about the trip to the ride itself.

Demon and Hoss started fussing under the divider with each other almost immediately upon loading. I tied them both, not short, but enough to prevent any real reaching under the divider. The trip was uneventful until we stopped at the Walmart in Adelanto. I was sitting in the cab clearing my notifications when the trailer started rocking. Demon has in the past been known to start pawing mindlessly, and I assumed it was him acting up when I hollered and went back to see what was up. I climbed up on the side of the trailer and looked in at Demon, who gave me a wide-eyed look and tilted his head toward Hoss.

At this point I noticed Hoss's hind leg did not look quite right. There is no way it should be at quite that angle. In a bit of a panic, I ran back and opened the gate.

Hoss was sitting on his butt like a dog, held up by his lead rope just enough to prevent him from tucking his front legs. He immediately tried to exit the trailer, but his head was still tied. His foot hit the spigot on the 55 gallon drum, opening it and creating a flood of water in the midst of his predicament. I yelled at him to whoa, and ran around to untie him. Once he was freed, I told him to come on out and he was able to get out of the trailer and gain his feet with little trouble.

Letting my heart rate come down, I started asking Hoss to move about a little to make sure he was OK before re-loading him and heading on up the road. I was looking Hoss over when a car stopped and the most exuberantly excited young man (I'd say mid-20s at most) asked in the most breathlessly awed voice if he could have a picture with Hoss. I can honestly say I have never seen someone in this particular age group so enthused to meet a horse. Hoss was, of course, an incredible ambassador for his species and stood quietly for petting and to have his picture taken. I really wish I'd gotten a picture of those two young men with Hoss. It was truly enchanting and did quite a bit to distract me from the distressing situation we had so recently found ourselves in...

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Gold Rush Shuffle 2017 & Season Wrap up - Aurora Grohman - Full Article


I’m a person of gut feelings and mild superstitions. Ignore either, particularly the first, at your peril I have found. It’s an interesting mix when paired with goals and ambition; it becomes a delicate balancing act–I’m doing it!! Look out world! this niggling feeling paranoia or the trusty ole gut kicking in? Hmm…hmmm.

You see, I was just outside the AERC season-end points in my weight division and the last ride of the season, the Gold Rush Shuffle 3 day, takes place 45 minutes from my house. I’ve never been national year end anything, except frustrated and hopeful, and honestly I don’t really give two figs about point standings or placings, generally. It was just so close this season, after a personally unprecedented AERC tour of 4 states and a streak of catch riding had my annual mileage the highest it had been in 5 years. So close. Yet far enough, as others with the same notion would no doubt be attending the three day ride, surely bumping me out if I didn’t go.

Take Kenny! you say. Welllll…I suppose it’s timely now to ‘fess up my long term goal for my small, snarky, crooked legged amigo. I’ve got my eye on the purported extremely-rocky-but-great-time Virginia City 100 Miler next September, and as such I have a tentative training/ride schedule for him all lined out. It definitely does not include a flattish ride in terrible-if-it-rains footing on trails I’ve ridden til I’m cross eyed for the last 10 years, in pursuit of an egotistical goal. After all, Kenny for sure gives zero shits if I make it into the points. Actually he might give one, on my boot, for funsies. But you get my drift.

I had an option to ride Mustangs again for Mark but I had an abundance of stress going on in daily life and when offered Chief, a local friend’s Pintabian gelding I’ve known as long as the trails who’s first LD I put on him 5 years ago, I went for the better known option. Catch riding has natural adrenaline already built in for me with my history of kissing dirt and low grade PTSD and I find adding more nerves and uncertainty to the situation rarely does you favors with an equine partner. I felt good about Chief and I could still keep Kenny on his VC100 schedule. I packed my truck with my Catch Riding Essentials (I’m writing a post on that, btw), set up my cozy bed in the back seat–and set off into rain...

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Saturday, December 02, 2017

Merry Milestones - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales - Full Story

by Karen Bumgarner
December 1 2017

Every once in awhile a horse comes along when you aren't needing or even looking for one. Sometimes they can even turn out pretty good. Such is the case with The Big Brass. At the time he came, I had five horses and wasn't looking for a sixth, especially a half wild one with no training! Oh what a lot of work he has been. And not just for me either but for my friends who have ridden him and been successful him. You see Brass can be a bit complicated, you have to know how to read him, and if you can't, well - he will teach you. You also must possess certain skills to ride Brass. If you don't have them, again - he will teach you. I already have a horse like this, yes it is Thunder, so I didn't need two of them. They are so time consuming and the drama; holy cow! The rewards are many though when you can look back and see how far they have come. Kind of like peeling an onion and getting to new layers of their life, and yours.

In May 2016 when my friend Jessica Cobbley needed a horse to ride, I dangled Brass in front of her nose. Like any sick endurance rider, she grabbed the bait...

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ride Story: Lead-Follow @ McDowell 75 - Ashley Wingert - Full Story


Now that is how to wrap up a ride season. In the words of one of my high school ROTC teachers, “Finish strong.” In a season that was all over the place with changes of plans, lots of unexpected happenings, and numerous highs and lows, it felt good to wrap up the year on a high note.

The cliffnotes version: Cristina asked me to ride Atti in the 75 at McDowell. It was his first 75 (mine, too) and we finished with a strong horse who was still pulling on me at the end, in 5th place with a ride time of 12:49, and a finish CRI of 52/48. He was a blast to ride, and was a total rockstar all day long.

The full-length novel version: Where do I even begin? After Virginia City, the plan was to go for the 75 at McDowell with Beeba — after all, we did 76 miles at VC, so McDowell should be doable, right? The pull at man Against Horse put the kibosh on that plan, and future endurance endeavors for her, and I went back to the drawing board. Not for very long, though, because the Monday after MAH, Cristina texted me to find out my availability for McDowell and if I wanted to take the younger horse she’s training, Cosmo, in the LD, while she took Atti, her more experienced horse, on their first 75.

Since I had nothing set in stone, she claimed first dibs on me, and I was happy to have offered what would likely be a fun, easy ride.

And then a couple weeks out from the ride, she asked if I might consider riding Atti in the 75 instead. Some of her personal plans had changed, and it worked better for her schedule to ride the LD…but she really wanted Atti to do the longer distance, especially given that 75s and 100s are in short supply around here, so we have to take advantage of them when they’re offered.

Just to establish the significance of this offer: Atti is to Cristina what Mimi is to me. Super-special heart horses that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into. The level of trust and confidence she had in me to make that offer…I have a hard time putting into words just how much that meant to me...

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Road to Rockybar – Part 2 - Marvel Endurance - Full Story

So, it had already started out being rather a traumatic experience in our efforts to attend the 2016 Rockybar ride. My poor dog was hit by one of our cars, and by some miracle was remarkably unscathed by the incident. My brother missed the turn to Biggenden and almost took us to Woolooga (again). And now here we were, waking up in our tent early the next morning after the disaster of having one of our floats come loose from the car towing it.

Surely that was enough, right? Nothing else, please!

We checked and rechecked the newly repaired towball assembly, and checked again for good measure. The tents were re-packed, the yards disassembled and the horses were ready to load up and make the last half of our journey to the ride base. Koda and Mizzy loaded back into the float without hesitation, after the fright they’d gotten the night before I had worried it wouldn’t be an easy conversation. Sirahh then charged up the ramp and Bec tied him in while I came up with Vegas. I handed the lead to my sister who took her up the ramp, but she balked halfway up and refused to budge – here was the mistake.

As I came up the ramp beside her, Sirahh’s ears went back and Vegas’s attitude suddenly changed – rather than accepting the hand I put on her hip, she threw her head up and lashed a hind foot out, catching me in the thigh.

I’ve been kicked before, but never by a shod horse. There was now a beautiful impression of a Blue Pegasos shoe tread in the middle of my thigh. I didn’t even have the protection of pants, the shorts I wore were absolutely zero help. At my yelp of pain Sirahh decided to remember his manners and Vegas went the rest of the way up into the float. Trying to ignore the throbbing I put the tail gate up, limped to the front of my ute and got in before the pain could stiffen my leg. Yeah, not liking my chances of doing that 80km. Mum didn’t even realise what had happened until we were well on our way to Gayndah and I could feel the bruise tightening my skin.

A little over an hour later we stopped for fuel in Eidsvold and I came to a very painful realisation that considering my inability to walk without looking rather like a one-legged seagull, riding was not going to be possible either. I’d rather have had a twisted ankle. My sister would have to ride, but she was only eligible for the 40km so she would go along with Kat and Bec...

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Sunday, October 01, 2017

Ride Story: Virginia City 100 - Ashley Wingert - Full Story

September 26, 2017 / Ashley Wingert

I still don’t know the exact clear, concise words to use to describe my Virginia City experience, other than there will be a lot of them. It was an absolutely amazing adventure, with highs and lows, and enough “highlight” moments seared in my brain to last a really long time.

Long story short: We did get pulled at 76 miles. We were overtime to be able to make it through the last loop in enough time, but Beeba was also off on the right hind at the trot. We went in knowing that a finish was an extremely tall order: it was the first 100 for both myself and Beeba, and we had picked a notoriously difficult 100. Nothing like a challenge, right?

It ended up being one of the most amazing ride experiences to date. I am completely in love with the “over 50” distance; had we had the time and been cleared to go, I would have been completely ready to tackle that last loop...

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Calamity at Every Turn - Traveling the Pony Express - Full Article

Will Grant
Sep 15, 2017

To travel the Pony Express, riders had to brave apocalyptic storms, raging rivers, snow-choked mountain passes, and some of the most desolate, beautiful country on earth. To honor the sun-dried memory of those foolhardy horsemen, we dispatched Will Grant and a 16-year-old cowboy prodigy to ride 350 miles in a hurry.

It took us 60 miles and two days on the Pony Express trail to lose our horses. That morning, the four of us had hauled out of Granger, Wyoming, near the Utah state line, with a tailwind blowing scarves of dust before our cavvy of nine horses. We were rich in horseflesh but shy on ex­perience, and we took our horses’ quiet demeanor as evidence that all nine had set­tled into the ride. We were mistaken.

That night’s camp lay on the east bank of the Green River. We rode in from the west, with the setting sun at our backs, and found the water running dark and dangerous. We crossed over the river on Highway 28, where the road narrowed to a two-lane bridge with no real shoulders and a rarely observed 70-mile-per-hour speed limit. Once across, we made ourselves at home, about a mile from the road in an oasis of grass and mosquitoes. We failed to notice, though, that our access road didn’t have a cattle guard—a grid of pipes set into the ground to prevent livestock from venturing where they shouldn’t...

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The Kenny Chronicles: Chamberlain Creek 50 miler 2017 - Aurora Grohman - Full Story

September 25, 2017 / Redheaded Endurance

After a successful day AND a night LD (total:50 miles) at Bandit Springs in July , Kenny enjoyed his usual 2 weeks off plus another while I traveled on a really fun 10 day trip to Maine with my mom and nephew to visit more family. I had a lovely time, squeezed in a horseback ride, and ate as much lobster as possible, then returned to yet another excessive run of California heat (105+ for days) which meant not a lot of riding: a total of 63 miles on Kenny, mostly un-marking local endurance trail, in the 7 weeks from back-to-work to the Chamberlain Creek ride. Kenny is estimated to be 12 years old, lives in pasture barefoot year round, and he has now had almost 2 years of endurance conditioning after an initial base of light trail work. My does it show come a cool September ride morning...

I will get to the ride story soon, I promise, but first some ruminations in gratitude. (Pre-Chamberlain creek) I have had the privilege to go to 5 different endurance rides in 4 different states for a total of 335 completed AERC miles and one 100 mile Rider Option pull so far this season–all trailer-pooling!! I’ve ridden 5 different horses for 3 different owners (4 completions, 1 RO) , as well as my own (all completions), and I just feel blessed. I am a back of the pack rider that was converted to AERC as a teenager, admires decade teams and 100 milers, and likes to “get my moneys worth” out of the trail, but endurance has been a struggle for me these last years as I’ve tried to find the right partner. It’s wicked cliche but I have learned so much and met so many of the people that have made this year so much fun; what is even cooler is that a lot of the fun has been with people that I’ve known for almost decades and over decades now. As a reflective 30 year old, having old (I’m not talking age here), good friends is a sort of new and wonderful feeling, if you know what I mean...

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

VC100 50th Anniversary! GREAT RIDE! - by Kipling

TheMonkeysKnowNothing Blog - Full Story

Kip's Korner. The world according to Kip. A commentary of life as an endurance horse from one very opinionated Arabian, want-a be Akel-Teke gelding, Kipling. Hence, 'The World according to Kip!'

September 18 2017 equines

Monkeys......those that ride and handle us and think they are in control.

'The' Monkey.......the one on my back most of the time who knows she is not in control but does try hard.Her name is Ronnie

Need Pics!
Let me first of all say the 'the monkeys know nothing' is just a general statement and I still believe it to be the golden rule. Occasionally they do something right like the ones who put on this incredible ride. Even so, in general the monkeys know nothing. Well, compared to ' me' they know nothing. Enough said!

Ride camp was even fuller than ever but I didn't get to rub up against any cute fillies on the way in and out this year.Dang! I did however get to park really close to my buddy Sundance and catch up with latest gossip in the equine world. Chip was there too! This was going to be a fun ride!

We left late on Saturday morning to let headlight brigade get on down the trail. No worries, I thought, I'll catch'em at daybreak when they ditch the spot lights. Did! Lost Sundance and Chip though as their careful, caring monkeys were suppose to take it slow and easy. Good boys. Not me! My monkey let me go like she promised a few blogs ago and I had a ball bouncin' over those rocks like a kangaroo rat. Rock, rocks and more rock! You couldn't see the trees for the rocks.I love rocks!

Then I met Tahoe. A boy after my own heart. He said he was only 17 and I believed him. He had teeth like mine so he had to have been up there some. We hit it off really well and between us managed to pull four monkey arms out of their sockets. Erin, Tahoe's monkey, kept saying "now gentlemen," we need to slow down. 'Phewy,' I said!

I passed Georgie, screamin' at him to come along with me. But no, he was being a good boy as usual. Gosh it's hard to get through to some of these nice horses but I still like Georgie and his monkey Phyliss.

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Friday, September 08, 2017

6000 Miles of Red-tude - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

September 8 2017
by Karen Bumgarner

Red - tude? In case you aren't familiar with it, it's that go getter attitude that seems to belong to those dang redhead horses. Thunder is a pumped up, get outta my way and let's go kinda guy. I can grumble but he just finished out his AERC 6000 miles so I couldn't be more proud. The crooked legged beast just gets the job done!

It wasn't my intention to do all 3, I planned to do 1 and 3 and trail ride with my BFF Colleen Martin. But Mike Cobbley said, "You have to ride day 2. It's the best because we ride up over the Continental Divide and it's really pretty." So OK I'll do days and two and trail ride on 3. Well the red beast was so rotten the last few miles in, trying to dump me, spooking and tossing that big white nose in the air saying "nanner nanner", that I told him he just bought a ticket to day 3! Made him happy because he was a bigger jerk the third day than he was the first! HA! Typical Thunder...

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Tahoe Rim ride 2017 - Nick Warhol

by Nick Warhol

I really like doing rides for the first time. The Tahoe rim ride has been on my bucket list for a while, but its hard to get in. The ride starts and ends near Spooner lake, on the east side of lake Tahoe, about 15 miles north of the city of South Lake Tahoe. The basecamp is the definition of small- so small in fact that only 15 or so rigs will fit.

Ride management holds a lottery each year and draws entries from a hat and makes 15 or so people really happy. Each entry selected has to bring at least 2 horses, hopefully three. I didn’t win the drawing, but was invited to join Beth Kaufman and Gretchen Montgomery in Beth’s rig. Yay! Lucky me! But as usually happens, things get twisted. Nevada wonder rider Connie Creech wanted to go, as did another guy I don’t know.

Normally I’d do anything on the planet for Connie, but give up my spot at this ride? Don’t think so! Beth formulated a good plan that had Connie and Gretchen go with her, and I’d get in with the other guy in his rig. Then Kristin Ojala, who had been selected in the drawing, was going to bring her rig and bring Ines Hoffman and her spunky mare Kalika. Then Kristin’s mare Lani got injured in a fence incident, so she was out, leaving Ines without a ride. Ines could take Kristin’s trailer spot but only has a 1 horse trailer. (It’s so cute!) Then the other guy canceled, creating the perfect storm. I’d take Kristin’s spot with my rig with Sorsha, I’d bring Ines, then Connie, Beth, and Gretchen would all come together. Whew! Ride management gets a logistical workout in this one for sure!

Manager Alisanne Steele did an incredible job. This was one of the best run rides I have ever attended. They drew big chalk boxes with numbers in the parking area where each rig would go. They measure the rig as it enters camp and slot each rig in to the best spot. (see the picture) That’s the whole camp! Brenda Benkley came in her rig with Laura Fend and Jenni Smith.

On Friday afternoon Gretchen, Ines, and I went on a nice warm up ride up the trail for a half hour or so. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that management was providing a free Pizza dinner on Friday night for the riders. 3 slices, 2 beers, and a cookie. Nice! Kalika and Sorsha became best friends on the trailer and never uttered even a peep all night, except for the eating. More Nice! The camp was at 7000 feet and was supposed to hit the 40s at night, but it was very pleasant, and I doubt it got below the mid 50s.

The ride started at 7; we were going to try and head out near the back of the 35 or so riders. We were joined by Lucy Turnbuckle Chipotle on her little Roo horse. (She did not tell us till the end that were they to finish it would be there decade team ride. Not much better than that in my book.) Sorsha was a little excited while walking around camp before the start, so I led her the half mile or so down the road to where the trail started. I hopped on and found her to be a little excited. Not too bad, but it kept me very alert. I thought I’d start out behind Gretchen’s Coquette to make it easier for my young, big, brown girly horse, but she quickly told me no thanks, I’d rather be in front. Now. Really. Now! Gretchen graciously let me past, and my wonderful ride started. (thanks again Lucy and Gretchen, for being so patient with me and the youngster. I really appreciate the help!)

The first 5 or 6 miles go uphill on great forest single track trails. It’s a climb, not super steep, but it can be deceiving since you just keep going up. I was in front and we were moving. Now’s a good time to let her out a little, and boy, I was pleased. I have not felt horsepower like this since riding Warpaint. She has a motor on her, and was just blazing up that trail without even feeling it. Wow! We slowed down after a few minutes, but those first few minutes were very exciting, and worth the price of admission. Wait till this horse gets really fit! Once we started moving she was just great; no issues at all. We took turns leading up the mountain at a great pace- trot, walk, trot, repeat.

I thought this was pretty country. Huh. We ended up near the top of the mountain range at 9000 feet and had to walk a mile or so of really gnarly, rocky, technical trail along the top of the mountain. Once at the top you look to the left and it takes your breath away. There was lake Tahoe to our left; we were 2000 feet above it. It was like being in a plane. I still can’t believe that view. We were trotting along at 9000 feet on the top of the ridge, and then headed down on forested trails that were very nice with just a little bit of stopping required for rocks. Once past the big intersection with the water we went downhill on a mountain road a long, long way and picked up a road heading sort of east that headed around the mountain on the other side. We started climbing again up a long slight grade, all trottable, until we were near the top again on the other side. Off to my left was Washoe valley in Nevada! We were about 4000 feet above the lake, and it was full. This view was just as amazing.

We kept going up and up, finally reaching the summit, and then it was full down again to the first vet check at 18 miles next to a lake that could have been in Switzerland. Boy it was pretty in there. Our trot out was on top of the lake’s dam. The 45 minutes went pretty quick, but the spread for the riders was incredible. Ice chests full of sandwiches, drinks, BEER!, treats, chips, fruit, vegies, brownies, candy, the works. It was plush!

Now we headed out on the yellow loop and started climbing through a forest of Mule Ear plants. This was another long, long climb that twisted its way up the mountain on single track. More trot, walk, trot, repeat. It took a while to climb all the way back to the tippy top of the mountain, but at the summit we got to see that view again. This time we turned east and began a long, steep, downhill down the back of the mountain. There were no trees, just high meadows with lupin blooming as far as you can see, and the smell was amazing! We led down the mountain on foot until we got to the bogs. (we got treated to a little of everything in this ride) It was swampy and wet for a mile or so, but the green grass everywhere was a treat for the horses. I walked it on foot and my shoes got just a little wet. Lucy was a little worried about the swampy conditions after her last incident where she got Fergus stuck in the mud at the VD Doozie ride.

At the bottom we mounted back up and went about 5 miles through the forest on rolling jeep roads back to the vet check for our second 45 minute hold at that same beautiful lake. Once back on the trail we got the deluxe treatment. Down the hill to the Flume trail, which was a long road that used to be the water supply for Virginia City. There are lots of old remains of pipes, stations, and of course a lot of water. This road ended at the sand climb- a half mile straight up on a sandy road. I had Sorsha tail me up, and at the top I was ready for a drink! There was water for the horses at the top- very nice.

We then entered what I’d describe as little Yosemite. It was a few miles of incredible trails through mountains of rock. The trails were dirt, but they went through the solid rock mountains. It required a lot of walking, but it was really pretty. This took us to the “dry” lake that was full of water. Here we picked up more rocky uphill trails, where we had to ride around some residual snow, that eventually led to a long downhill road to the beautiful Marlette lake. We rode right to the shore where a fly fisherman made Sorsha jump when he cast his line that sparkled in the sunlight.

Here’s where the fun began. The last 8 miles of the ride head back to camp on the Spooner lake trail, a single track trail made for horses to trot on. And REALLY trot on. First a little climb at a walk across several wooden bridges, then it flattens out and goes for about 6 miles of pure enjoyment. Sorsha was in front and really moving. We just flew down this trail with me leading, Sorsha on the gas and in perfect rhythm. We were going way faster than normal, but how could you not? Gretchen and Lucy were behind me, whooping and laughing. That 6 miles was as much fun as I have had on a horse in a while! It was over WAY to soon for my taste. This magic ended at a road that led over to Spooner lake and led us along the shore where there were lots of people hiking, camping, and biking since we were close to civilization now. Gretchen was leading on Coquette with me behind her when they rounded a turn at a nice trot and discovered a log halfway around the trail. Coquette did a major spook; I promised Gretchen I would not rat her out, but let’s just say that she was smiling when she remounted!

Only a mile and a half from the finish! We trotted along the lake and walked back up and down the short trail that led to the main road and the camp. We finished about 5:45 pm with 5 horses behind us I think. We took the kids to the post ride vet and found Sorsha’s post ride pulse to be 36. Yep. Susan said “very nice! Did you ride her?” Got me a keeper here.

Suzanne ford Huff got second, Ines and Jenni came in 5th and 6th, and Laura and Brenda finished about 20 minutes ahead of us. Lucy and Roo finished and became a decade team! We are all very proud of them. The ride continued its greatness by providing a taco bar for the ride dinner- it was perfect. Nice awards, especially for the top ten. We had a great post ride party at Brenda’s camper as the sun went down with everyone from camp there in a huge circle. People passed around bottles of things to drink- it was fun. 

My final comments? The ride was terrible! Awful! Never come here, don’t even enter! There. Now my odds of getting my name pulled in the drawing will be increased. You can bet I’ll be sending in another entry next year! 

Nick Warhol
West Region

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Crewing Tevis 2017: Uh, What Plan Are We On Now? - Ashley Wingert - Full Story

August 23, 2017 / Ashley Wingert

“Plan? What plan?” would also be applicable. Not to say there wasn’t a plan. There was. It was just very laid back, casual, and a little bit fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants. We didn’t even do crew instructions this year. ;)

(Face it, when your entire crew has crewed Tevis multiple times, and one crew member has even ridden the horse to be crewed at a ride, directions are kind of redundant.)

Initially, Plan A was Fergus — Wonder Pony, Golden Boy, two-time Tevis finisher. But Fergus has been NQR this year, and a final “Go/No-Go” ride determined that this would be a “No Go” year for him.

Thus, Plan B: Roo. Roo, the 50-mile reliable worker bee. Roo, who had tried Tevis in 2009 and made it to 64 miles before deciding he was done playing for the day. He had a base, he had done “spring training” alongside Fergus, and he was well-rested. And Lucy really wanted to be a part of the “snow year” alternate starting location/Duncan Canyon trail.

So, with the above in mind, the “A” goal for Plan B was just get to Robinson Flat. No expectations of finishing, just “get as far as he gets.” Roo is very self-preserving and sensible — when he is done playing for the day, he’ll stop. Robinson Flat was the goal, and any more than that was just bonus points.

So, with all that as background, onwards we go to Auburn...

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

And So It Begins ..... Again - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog - Full Story

July 24 2017
Karen Bumgarner

It has been 140 years since the war with the Nez Perce, and here I am - on land that was first inhabited by the Nez Perce. Gorgeous valleys and vast prairies lay before me and the snow capped Wallowas are watching over it all.

This was the 53rd year for the Chief Joseph ride, sponsored by the Appaloosa Horse Club, and yes you must ride a registered Appaloosa on the ride as it's all about the history of the Nez Perce and the horses. This year the ride reset to the 5th cycle and started once again at Joseph, OR. Each year riders complete approximately a 100 mile segment of the historic route of what is often referred to as the greatest retreat, until they reach the end once again at the Bear Paw Battlefield. All because the whites found gold and wanted to run the Nez Perce onto the reservation lands. Joseph was just one Nez Perce leader, and he didn't want war nor did the people want to be on the reservation, it was decided by council to escape first to Idaho, and later to reach Sitting Bull and be safe in Canada. There is far too much history to list here, many books are available as well as information online. Check it out for the full story.

My BFF, Colleen Martin, and I arrived early enough Saturday, July 15, to unload Rio near Joseph, OR., and walk into town, meander through a few shops, and take pictures of some great statuary and murals around town. Then Molly got to play in the creek and cool down before we headed into assembly camp. Colleen was driving for my friend Dennis Schultz, so I could ride this year. I'd promised Dennis last year I'd find him a driver so I could ride instead of drive. Thanks Colleen for that opportunity. Admittedly this is not my style of riding, too much hurry and wait in this huge group, but I am glad that I went and rode it like I have always wanted to do...

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Kenny Chronicles: Bandit Springs 2017 - Redheaded Endurance - Full Story


In what seemed like no time at all after our May Mt. Adams adventures, Kenny and I found ourselves back at travel buddy T’s last Wednesday evening for another endurance undertaking; this time we were Oregon bound with a night LD and maybe more on the agenda. T was bringing Rex, her home raised 6 year old chestnut Morgan gelding and another friend in OR was planning to join us at the ride with her chestnut Morgan gelding, so it was set to be a very entertaining chestnut Morgany good time.

Before we even left the driveway on Thursday morning a tire pressure check by T’s dad revealed that the passenger rear LQ tire was holding 0 PSI–ruh roh! He gave us a refresher on tire changing putting the spare on, with the fabulous ramp we pack that make PITA jacks unnecessary–which was fortunate considering the adventures yet to come! Horses, gear, and ice made their way on board, plus an air-up of the suspect 0 PSI tire, and eventually we were on the road. We had smooth travels for about 200 miles and were making good headway in Oregon when a passing car staring at us caused us to critically re-evaluate mirror contents and I caught sight of the passenger front LQ tire waving at us, totally blown. We didn’t feel or hear a thing, but there it was, so we pulled over on the side of Hwy 97 with semis blowing past us and got to work. We quickly found that the open bottomed tire changing ramp sunk into the deep gravel alongside the road; after not producing a chunk of wood adequate to fashion a bottom and prevent sinking, we settled for scraping the gravel away down to hard pack for both the ramp and to make space for the tire application. The tire now on was the one that had been at 0 that morning, and sure enough it turned out to not be holding air reliably after re-inflation, so we googled our way to the next Pilot station for fuel, Fix a Flat, and air, then made our way another 40 miles to a Les Schwab in La Pine for the one new appropriately sized trailer tire they had to sell us. The geldings hopped out in the busy tire bay with wide eyes but got right to their self care, sucking down water buckets and enjoying the grass and shade out back while the trailer got the first of it’s new shoes for the weekend. Here we committed a fairly significant error, as it would have been entirely logical and our men folk reminded us to get the leaky spare we’d had to put on to get there patched. We didn’t. And it bit us in the bum later!...

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tevis Educational Ride 2017 - Ashley Wingert

GoPony Blog - Full Story

July 14, 2017 / Ashley Wingert

One step closer to my Tevis buckle dreams.

The Tevis Educational Ride has been on my radar for a number of years, for obvious reasons. 1) It’s Tevis-related. 2) Chance to see the trail ahead of time. 3) Chance to be mentored by experienced Tevis finishers and learn appropriate pacing and other ride strategies.

The Ed Ride is held every other year (alternating with the “Fun Ride” which doesn’t cover as much of the trail, and isn’t quite as involved with mentoring/education), and includes two days of riding over basically 2/3 of the trail in a small group (2-3 people/mentor), as well as extra clinics and seminars that are particularly relevant to Tevis. To give an idea of the experience and educational value earned, despite the fact you cover 64 miles over the two days, completing the Ed Ride counts as 150 qualifying miles, for those trying to make their 300 qualifying miles to ride Tevis.

However, it’s a big time and $ commitment, especially if you don’t live in the area, so for those reasons (as well as timing, horse suitability, etc.), I’d never managed to make it to the Ed Ride. Fortunately, over the last few years, I’ve had a number of opportunities to do various and sundry pre-rides on the Tevis trail, usually coinciding with my mostly-annual crewing trips to Tevis.

This year, I was offered a chance to do the Ed Ride. A friend was going up to be an Ed Ride mentor, and had an extra horse she wanted to also have see the trail. I didn’t even have to think about that one at all — count me in for sure!...

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Getting an Education - Ashley - Full Story

June 14 2017
by Ashley

What’s the next best thing to a Tevis entry form?

How about an entry form to the Tevis Educational Ride?!?

Last month, a friend surprised me with an offer to join her on the Tevis Ed Ride and ride one of her horses. Naturally, I had to think about that for all of about .05 seconds. I’ve been wanting to participate in the Ed Ride for years now, but just like Tevis itself, it takes money, time, and the appropriate horse. (While it’s 64 miles in two days versus 100 miles in 24 hours, it still involves the canyons, so a fit, strong, capable horse is required.)

I have been peel-me-off-the-ceiling excited about this since it all came together. I’m really excited about the chance to see the trail again, and really psyched about all of the seminars and clinics that are a part of the weekend. Every little bit of trail experience and Tevis-specific knowledge I can get crammed into my brain will only serve to help me on the actual ride, and in the past, those who have completed the Ed Ride have a very high completion rate on Tevis itself...

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