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...

Read more here:
https://karenshorsetales.blogspot.com/2017/09/6000-miles-of-red-tude.html

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

GoPony.me - 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...

Read more here:
https://gopony.me/2017/08/23/crewing-tevis-2017-uh-what-plan-are-we-on-now/

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...

Read more here:
https://karenshorsetales.blogspot.com/2017/07/and-so-it-begins-again.html

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Kenny Chronicles: Bandit Springs 2017 - Redheaded Endurance

RedHeadedEndurance.com - Full Story

JULY 15, 2017 / REDHEADED ENDURANCE

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!...

Read more here:
https://redheadedendurance.com/2017/07/15/the-kenny-chronicles-bandit-springs-2017/

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!...

Read more here:
https://gopony.me/2017/07/14/tevis-educational-ride-2017/

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Getting an Education - Ashley

GoPony.me - 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...

Read more here:
https://gopony.me/2017/06/14/getting-an-education/

The Kenny Chronicles: Mt Adams 55 Miler - Redheaded Endurance

Redheadedendurance.com - Full Story

JUNE 12, 2017 / REDHEADED ENDURANCE

It’s been a few weeks since the event but here’s the story of Kenny the crooked wonder pony traveling to Washington to take on his first 55 miler!


Wednesday afternoon of ride week found Kenny and I at our buddy T’s barn for the night so that we could get on the road north in the morning (T being my Kenny source and traveling companion to ROM). Kenny was his usual relaxed, mildly rude self, and as he used to live with T’s herd and we often overnight and ride there currently, he settled right into his stall/paddock next to her Arabian mare, Niki, who would be riding the 100 miler while we did 55. T and I eat the same things and both have allergies so it’s pretty much the most convenient thing ever to travel together; we grocery (and sudafed) shopped together that night, grabbed ice in the morning with quiet steeds on board, and were on the road to Washington by 8 am!

We took the 97 up through Oregon and had smooth travels, with the requisite “Oh crap, should we have fueled up before heading out into these mountains?“, “why didn’t the fancy app show us this (brief) road construction?” , and “Oh crap, did we just wedge the rig somewhere that backing out of may be interesting?” Waffling over pulling into a rest stop halfway through led us to pick the next Large Lot with Grass that Will Work, and it worked just fine. The longer road trip revealed that Kenny hunkers back in the corner of T’s trailer in a rather hilarious but effective traveling stance, and both steeds were happy to stretch, pee, graze, drink, and have some probios and carrots on the stop.

As T drove I’d been reading aloud from a Facebook thread about “the bridge of death/doom,” an upcoming obstacle on our route that apparently some people detour completely to avoid. We were intrigued to see how bad it really was, and received some good advice to pull in the truck mirrors, which we prudently followed.

It was certainly tight and would be much worse in a larger rig, but T guided us smoothly across the narrow bridge and then we were officially in Washington! We had mused that maybe everything would be instantly green once over the border and well–it was. We ooh’ed and aah’ed our way along the final short leg to Mt. Adams Horse Camp in Trout Lake, with signs and ribbons directing us the last few miles in to the largest meadow ride camp that I’ve ever been in. The meadow didn’t even close to fill up over the weekend even with a trail ride, ride n tie, and 25/50/75/100 milers co-sanctioned with FEI going on, and the horses thought that the grass was the best ever...

Read more here:
https://redheadedendurance.com/2017/06/12/the-kenny-chronicles-mt-adams-55-miler-2017/

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Get Out and Ride – My Endurance Riding Quest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
American Endurance Ride Conference
Date: June 19, 2017

by Peggy Clements

In 2015, I was diagnosed with a slow-progressing form of leukemia, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, that led me to adopt the motto, “If not now, when?” For all appearances, I was healthy. I didn’t know when CLL might rear its ugly head but I thought, If I’m going to start living life to the fullest, what do I really want to do? What is my dream?

The answer was endurance riding.

While that health drama was going on (you’re never quite ready to hear your doctor say cancer, in any of its forms), my sweet, old Palomino Quarter Horse Buddy died. He was the first horse I ever owned, a perfect beginner's horse, and I mourned his loss.

My life felt like it was spiraling out of control. There were many tears and fears and bouts of depression. But humming in the back of my mind was that motto.

Through a turn of events, I acquired Jager, a 13-year-old jet black Appendix QH (1/2 Quarter horse and 1/2 Thoroughbred) He was more horse than I was used to and he has made me a much better rider.

I also adopted Charlie, a sweet pup, completing this little family of three.

I embraced the goals needed for training, but I ride alone. I craved the camaraderie of the events and camping, of being part of something exciting, of meeting like-minded people.

Riding makes me feel alive in a way nothing else does.

My blood counts were rising. They went from 15,000 to 24,000 in 2015 (the norm is 3,000 for Absolute Lymphocytes in the white blood cells). There is no treatment needed until it starts to affect my health in some way and all was good on that.

By 2016, I had gotten used to the diagnosis, came to terms with it, found peace.

I started pursuing my dream of endurance riding in earnest. I joined the American Endurance Ride Conference. Read everything I could find. Rode, rode and rode some more. Bought my first RV. It wouldn't pull a horse trailer! Sold that RV. Bought a conversion van. Bought my first horse trailer. Drooled over the AERC calendar, planning and dreaming.

My blood counts were rising. They went from 24,000 to 36,000 in 2016.

On Jan 13, 2017, I hooked up the trailer to the van, loaded Jager and trailered a horse for the first time in my life, to Ridgecrest, California, for the Fire Mountain endurance ride. As I shifted the van into gear and pulled away from the curb, I couldn’t stop laughing for joy! It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

I planned on riding the 25-mile “limited distance” ride. No problem, I thought. Boy, was I wrong. I woke up that morning and was so emotional. This day had been a year in the making. I hadn’t slept well the whole week before and certainly not the night before because I was so excited.

I was shaking and crying as I saddled up. My horse was trembling -- excited by the other horses. We were still quivering at the start. I let out a big stress-filled sigh and a kind woman near the start saw my nervousness and invited me to ride with her. She was staying near the back of the pack, she explained. After a 16-mile loop, I was in so much pain from using a western saddle that tortured my right knee and ankle that I finished that loop, went through the veterinary check and said, “I’m finished for today.” My only thought was “How do these other riders do it?”

The ride control judge (who happens to be my vet at home), Dr. Michael Peralez, said, “If you hadn’t pulled yourself I would have pulled you. Jager is a little off in back.”

But, no matter -- the victory was in getting there! I was at an endurance ride, horse camping with my horse and dog in my great little van and meeting amazing people and I thought, “I’m living my dream! Actually living it!” That was the victory!

After that ride I bought a saddle from one of my new endurance friends and it made a world of difference. I felt like (and still do) I could ride forever in that saddle.

In February, I went to the Twenty Mule Team Ride and rode the introductory, “fun ride.” I ride alone at home and on that ride fought my horse the entire time. That was not a fun ride. In hindsight, I did everything wrong.

I saw my friend Liz at that ride and told her it wasn’t going great, and she said, “You’re going to continue though, right?” One side of me thought, I don’t know and the other thought, You better believe it!

I met longtime endurance rider Marci at that ride and at the dinner afterwards she gave me her completion award, a coffee cup with a picture of an old time 20-mule team. I love that coffee cup. It is a treasure to me and a symbol of everything I had gone through up to this point. I got teary-eyed when she gave it to me.

I decided to try to do one ride a month.

In March I went to the Cuyama Oaks ride and finished my first two limited distance rides!

In April, I went to the Lost Padres Ride and that’s when it all came together. Jager and I were cool, calm and collected. I saw familiar faces and so enjoyed the social aspect. The ride was spectacular! I rode with a couple of women who were a joy to be with, and our horses were so compatible. As we were finishing the ride I thought, “This IS the dream!” It was everything I had hoped it would be. I was elated!

I had logged my third LD and had felt as if I could have ridden another 25! Jager seemed as if he would happily continue too.

And each ride I was meeting more and more wonderful people.

The next day I was up and ready to leave the ride site early. As I was leaving I drove to a ranch gate, got out of my van to open the gate and my van door swung closed and locked me out! I was blocking the exit for the whole camp, the van was running and the horse was in the trailer stomping. I was mortified!

I looked around and thought, just get me out of here before someone comes! I tried to break a window in my van with a rock and it wouldn’t break! A woman drove up with her rig behind me and helped me call AAA to come and unlock it. I apologized, but she was an angel, and said, “If this is the worst thing that happens to me today then I feel lucky.”

I left her and started to walk to the ranch entrance to meet AAA. More rigs were pulling up behind mine as I started walking. A ranch hand gave me a lift to the entrance (it was a mile away or more), then the AAA driver arrived and we went back. There were at least six rigs behind mine by the time I got back. It was embarrassing to say the least! But bless all those endurance riders, they all took it in stride with great humor.

My blood counts have stabilized for now. They are still at 36,000 in May 2017. The doctor said, “You never know; you could die of old age before this gets you.”

And as we all know in life, it’s true, you never know what life is going to bring.

In May, my horse had a mystery limp. I canceled the Descanso Ride.

In June, he still had the limp and I canceled the Montana de Oro Ride. My vet Dr. Peralez checked Jager out. He said it looked like there was some arthritis in Jager’s hind right leg. It was slight, but he thought Jager’s life as an endurance horse might be over.

We are still testing him and figuring it out. Right now he's on-and-off limping at the trot. I love Jager and will work with him on whatever he needs but MY life as an endurance rider is NOT over.

Luckily I have space for another horse and the search begins . . .

So, if you are starting out in endurance riding or haven’t yet but this is your dream, just do it! Break it into baby steps to make your dream happen. (That goes for any dream.) Don’t wait for tomorrow. Live your life now. And just know that life will throw you curveballs, constantly. Just deal with it. Breathe. Cry. And then put one foot in front of the other and move towards your goal.

Get out and RIDE!

More information on endurance riding is available by visiting www.aerc.org or by calling the American Endurance Ride Conference office at 866-271-2372. By request, the office will send out a free copy of the 16-page Discover Endurance Riding booklet to prospective members.

Contact: Troy Smith
American Endurance Ride Conference
www.aerc.org
endurancenews@aerc.org
866-271-2372, 530-823-2260

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Mt Adams: In which I don't ride my butt off and Fee doesn't run her shoes off (quite)

Haikufarm Blog - Full Story

May 22 2017
by Aarene Storms

I admit: this is not an "easy" ride. But that's not the whole story.

Here's the whole story:

I'm broke (because of the sudden death of the stupid truck) so ride-sharing was needful. THAT was an excellent reason to team up with Kitty and Mak!

Mak is lovely. He reminds me of all the things I loved about the Toad, without the fear of being boingitied into the ground at random intervals. We ended up telling a lot of Toad Stories on this trip! :-)

The weather forecast for the weekend was "warm and sunny."

The trails were beautiful. Crews had a huge job to clear the winter blowdowns this year--apparently they sawed through 163 trees in a single day!...

Story and photos:
http://haikufarm.blogspot.com/2017/05/in-which-i-dont-ride-my-butt-off-and.html

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The story of my first 50 miler – Eagle Canyon, 2017 - Marie Burcham

RedMareRunning Blog - Full Story

Monday, May 1, 2017
by Marie Burcham

You heard right. The title of this post is an accurate tease. I finally got to and completed a 50 miler ride. For those who know how long I have been drifting on the periphery of the endurance sport – doing an LD here and there – this was a major accomplishment for me.

The background

Long story short of it I am catch riding this year due to Deli being out in rehab. Who knows if Deli will ever be able to do even LDs again? Her rehab is going well, but we’ve hit on the issue of saddles. So I’m in the thick of that again: finding a saddle that fits her given her health needs and fits me and is not super expensive. So far it’s been an impossible task.

In the meantime I’ve been riding and conditioning my friend “M” horse Duke. Duke is fairly new to her – a rescue with some possible harsh treatment in his past (he was likely a dancing horse). Either because of the sketchy past or for some unknown reason his brain tends to go to some unknown place when stressed and he pulls like heck. That, combined with becoming less aware of his surroundings – which can lead to more tripping/ignoring of aids – means riding him can be like being a freight train conductor. A freight train that can canter in place when agitated..! He is a little guy (mustang-arab cross), but very solidly built. Luckily he also has comfy gaits, so when he is hopping all over the place like a loon you at least are not being jarred everywhere.

Observe how adorable this guy is:

So I’ve been riding Duke 1-2 times a week and enjoying the challenge and getting to know him better. The good news is every ride came with some slight improvement. I hope I have been helpful overall, because there is some hope that Duke would be the mount for M’s kid, who has also done endurance.

Two weekends before the planned 50 M and I took Duke and her other horse, Pepper (who has completed Tevis) for a long conditioning ride. We ended up doing almost 25 miles out in the Colombia Gorge area. The general idea for Duke was that because of his pulling and general athleticism, his first ride should be a 50 rather than an LD. We did NOT want him, with his pulling and competitive anxiety-brain to get the idea he couldn’t take care of himself. This conditioning ride clinched it, as Duke still had plenty of juice after that ride despite doing it at an endurance pace...

Read more here:
http://redmarerunning.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-story-of-my-first-50-miler-eagle.html

Monday, May 08, 2017

Van Duzen 100: THE BOG - Lucy Trumbull



May 6 2017
by Lucy Chaplin Trumbull

Well the Van Duzen 100 didn't quite go as planned.

Weather was perfect, trail was wonderful (best footing I've ridden on all year). We rode down off the first ridge, along some pavement for a short while, then dropped down below a bridge to cross the river.

I was a couple of minutes behind Carolyn Meier, since we slowed after a junior's horse slipped and fell on the slick pavement. Dropped down the steep wooded bank, saw Carolyn's footprints to the left and followed them. Unfortunately the trail actually went right (missed the ribbon) - we took three steps into some "slightly soft looking sand" and Fergus went down in the mud up to his belly. I came off the side and sank to my knees (and I was on the firmer stuff).

The mud was so sucky I couldn't get my leg out without crawling on my hands and knees, so there was no way Fergus was getting out - there was just no bottom.

Thank goodness I was able to divert our riding buddy Becky Batson behind me off to firm ground so she didn't also sink.

She went around and Andrew Gerhard was right behind us and stopped and came running over. The junior with him, Desiree, held the horses while we tried to figure out what to do.

Andy gathered branches to try and wedge underneath F, but they were too wimpy and the mud too deep (I was sitting in the mud behind him and pushing these things in and they were just going straight down).

Every so often Fergus'd put in a huge effort and thrash around ... and get stuck even further. He was in a small stream, so constant cold water - and getting colder and colder. He started to shiver badly, buried in the mud, stuck on his side.

Becky was holding a rope to his halter to try and pull him towards firmer ground when he did try to get out, but he was so strong he almost pulled her in a couple of times.

I was behind him and almost ended up under him several times because I couldn't get out of the way - stuck in the mud myself.

Shao-lan called the ride manager (note to self - ALWAYS preprogram the RM's phone number at a ride) and after 20 mins of trying to get him out on our own, I called 911 (tricky, since there's no cell reception out here - but I got a call out! And also tricky because I was so covered in mud I could barely get my touch screen to work). Got the dispatcher who thought "maybe we have a sheriff in Weaverville" - miles away . I told her I needed about six burly men with ropes RIGHT NOW or this horse was going to drown. She passed me to another dispatcher who took my details and said he'd call back.

Sure enough 15 mins he called back - and by then the RM had arrived so was able to give better directions as to where we were on the road ("below steel bridge"). He said he had people coming from north and south, but gave no ETA, which scared me because I had no conception as to how long they might be and really wanted someone there RIGHT NOW TO GET HIM OUT.

Bob Spoor stopped and loaned a sturdy rope with a carabiner.

Pam (ride manager) couldn't figure out why we'd gone the way we had, because that route had been blocked. After poking around a little bit, she found bear tracks - a bear had gone through there and cleared the trail and she found his tracks in the mud. Carolyn followed his footprints, and Fergus (I'm guessing) followed Diamond's smell/I followed their footprints.

I found out later that Carolyn and Diamond had also gone down in this bog, Carolyn went over his head, Diamond lay there for a short while then took a couple of lunges and got out. He's a smaller, more squirrelly horse than Fergus and I suspect was just a bit closer to firmer ground, while F kept working his way more and more into the sucky stuff.

We tried dallying a rope to Michelle Coble's horse and he tried hard to pull F out, and nearly got flipped over backwards for his efforts. Becky said they got nervous when that horse started to sink, so abandoned the idea.

I was frightened to death that they weren't going to get there in time. Each time Fergus thrashed, he was pushing himself towards where the creek got deeper and I was scared he was going to get in a position where his head went under and I'd have to go in and try to hold it up and we'd both end up drowning (you couldn't move in this stuff because it just sucked you in, so I was having a hard time getting out of his way when he started lunging).

Andy continued to pile river rocks under him (for an HOUR!) to try and get some base under him, and we got some branches/logs under his head so it wasn't resting halfway in the mud. Andy even talked me down when I was getting really panicky at one point.

We let F rest as much as possible, but every so often he'd try to lunge his way out, usually getting in a worse situation - leg over the rope, leg post holed into the sludge. He rotated his body through 360° in the process.

Finally after an hour, the fire dept showed up - by then Fergus'd been in there about 1 hour 20 mins and was shivering violently.

They attached a block and tackle to a tree and we hooked that onto his rope halter to at least stabilize him from going downstream (something Becky and I had been trying to do by hand for an hour - no, 160 lb people cannot hold 1250 lbs of horse).

By then, the vet Dr Dan Chapman had arrived and so had us strip tack. We hadn't wanted to do that prior to this because we wanted to ensure they had something to hook to if needs be. In retrospect this original decision was probably a bad one - Dan said he felt the saddle (and the five tons of bags and junk and mud sodden rump rug on it) were stopping F be able to get out.

Dan was also able to dig out his "downhill" front leg to get it free. I thought this leg was postholed straight down, but it was actually bent under him. And I suspect the mud was grittier where he was by then and not quite as suctiony as it had been higher up.

Finally with a heroic effort - people and horse - and pulling and flailing he came up out of the mud and got enough traction to get onto the edge of the sand bar and was free.

He came up like the monster from black lagoon, both of us covered from head to toe in grey slimy mud. Dan said the mud on his tail just plopped off like a blob.

We took him over to where Ember was still standing patiently on the sand bar (we sent Andy + Jr on ahead as soon as the fire dept guys arrived) and he whickered at her "wow, that was scary!".

And then we sent Becky and Ember on their way with instructions to "get it done" - this after she'd stayed with me for over an hour and half.

Fergus then proceeded to whirl and bellow for his lost beloved (Ember)(Becky is my neighbor and we'd travelled to the ride together in my rig, along with her friend Debora who kindly agreed to crew for us).

Thankfully someone also brought a horse blanket to cover Fergus' grey-mud covered body.

The fire people were worried about me because apparently I was a bit of a funny colour. I was shivering from adrenaline-overload and the fact that I was covered in wet mud, had ripped one tights leg open from knee to crotch (that tight's leg now full of wet mud down to my shoes), sodden clothes, and shoes full of mud and water. They lit a little fire on the beach while we waited for the horse trailer to arrive, and made me stand by it.

Sharon Finston (owner of Andy's Junior) kindly came to fetch us and by coincidence she hung her horses on my trailer while she was gone. Crew Debora said "I'm sure Lucy won't mind" - not realizing I was the one stuck in the bog :)

Fergus continued to bellow and twirl.

Finally, when the trailer arrived, the fire people were kind enough to carry all my tack up to the road above (I followed the guy carrying my saddle, and it drizzled wet mud all the way up the road to the trailer).

I asked Sharon if she was really sure she wanted me in her truck - but luckily she had a bunch of towels that I could sit on and a blanket to put around my shoulders (I stripped off the worst wet/muddy/sodden outer layers).

Back at camp we stood the mud-sodden F in the sun, deblanketed him and let his mud-encrusted body dry.

I stripped off my clothes and mud. Rinsed off as best I could and went over to deal with decrudding his body to check him over properly (vet Dan had checked him on the beach and he appeared to have no ill effects).

Once I knocked the fine silt off I found a small abrasion on his elbow, one behind his ear, and a couple of places missing fur on his face. He looked a little stiff in his neck (no surprises - after being wrenched about). Once he was dry, clean and fed, Dan checked him again and confirmed the sore neck - but also confirmed no injuries or pulls to his legs after thrashing and yanking and being sucked in the mud.

Many many thanks to all who stopped and helped, stayed with us, loaned equipment, loaned horse power, came and rescued us, came and fetched us. The endurance community (and fire dept) is a fine one. Special thanks to Andy who worked tirelessly for us - and took photos just before he left.

I am thankful that we didn't lose Fergus or I, and that we just got away with a RO pull from Fergus' 9th 100 miler - 11.5 miles into the ride. That this didn't happen miles from a accessibility when Fergus had already gone 75 miles and would've been tired and less able to extract himself. I am thankful my phone worked when it needed to, and that we were literally 20 ft from the road when this happened - although it felt like we were a million miles away when it didn't look like we were going to get him out.

And most of all, I am so thankful to get my big pone home safe and well.

P.S. Becky and Ember completed the 75, after riding alone the rest of the day, dead last, hours behind the pack. Such a great job!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Murrumba Magic

Marvelendurance - Full Story

March 13 2017
by Marvel Endurance

After the disaster that was our morning (see last month’s edition if you missed it…) we were finally on the road to the Murrumba Magic 100km. I had an awful feeling that we were going to have a terrible ride, I was not in a good place after enduring the terror of missing horses, my stallion getting caught in a cattle grid and a crazed call to the vet.

Siri was safe and sound at home being watched over by my mother and sister, my dear friends were plying him with antibiotics and pain medication – and my husband put me in the car and started driving. I was the least fun person to be around that day.

We finally arrived at the ride base, Jasmine and her dad and our friend Rob had found us a spot to set up our yards in the main ring. We were right next to my friend Tasha who was riding in the 40km with her mare Miss Jayne, her second horse was being piloted by Mindy in the 100km. The horses were soon fed and watered, the boys were setting up the campsite, we grabbed our gear and headed to the secretary’s tent to weigh in and nominate. Seeing the horses happy and eating after travelling so well, I was starting to relax. I still needed a bit more of a pick me up though, so I detoured by the Dixon Smith tent and bought a new helmet – yep, that helped….!

Time to make sure the horses were ready to vet in. A little feed with their electrolytes and they were ready to go down to the ring. Sahala, Milton and Koda vetted in with HR’s of 29, 30 and 31 respectively and trotted out well – except little miss Koda who still hadn’t gotten the hang of trotting out, Erin wrestled her from start to finish much to the amusement of the vet! On my way to vetting I was approached by several people enquiring about Milton and sent them straight over to Rob.

We were ready to start and it was time to chill out and rest before the early morning start. We had our traditional pub dinner at the Woodford pub – by far the coolest pub we had found so far – which was packed to the seams with riders, strappers, drivers and friends. We had our pre-ride discussion about our strapping system...

Read more here:
https://marvelendurance.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/murrumba-magic/

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rides of March 50 2017: Kenny Chronicles

RedHeadedEndurance.com - Full Story

MARCH 21, 2017 / REDHEADED ENDURANCE

In November of 2015 I traded a pair of Renegade Hoof Boots for a crooked legged 14.1 hh Chestnut gelding named Kenny. He was 11ish years old and is a Morgan/Welsh Pony we think. It’s not entirely known, as he was bought literally off of the slaughter truck some years and a few homes ago; what’s undeniable is the magnitude of attitude packed into his little red frame, the smoothness of his gaits, and the high quantity of laughs that he has brought to my life nearly every day since.

We’ve changed bits and saddles, been through steel and various trim, boot, and vet incarnations, been on Ulcer meds, and ridden a lot of miles both snarking at and enjoying each other.

Last April we completed an LD at the Whiskeytown Chaser and this March we tackled our first 50 at Rides of March in Nevada. I had never been to the ride and was still half convinced Kenny’s wonky front legs were going to fall off partway through, but if you aren’t a little nervous you aren’t doing something awesome, right?!

The final step in little Kenny’s prep for his endurance debut was a smashing clip job done last weekend by his former owner and our great buddy (and my trailer host for this ride!), T. We had clipped Kenny last spring and it seemed to help him a lot, as he’s heavily muscled despite his short stature and has excessive yak Morgan hair. The weather for this ride turned out to be quite interesting overall, but on both Arab and Morgan we were happy that we had clipped as it allowed them to dry quickly from both their and the skies exertions.

T picked us up Friday morning and we were all in good spirits, the horses looked good–and we went all of ten miles before an intermittent ominous WHOMPWHOMP noise started to cut off our conversation and cause nervous smiles and half hearted dismissals.

Maybe there’s mud in the tires/undercarriage from recent 4 wheeling…

yeah, sounds good!


If you caught my story of my first 100 Mile attempt from last month, you may be empathetic to the amount of NO EFFING WAY a DTN (Disturbing Truck Noise) this soon into this trip caused me. We did in fact pull over, peer under the truck, pronounce it a Truck with Intact Tires and Bits We Think, and continued on our way feeling worse and worse–until I glanced over my shoulder while under way and saw the grooming tote in the truck bed heaving itself up and around in an intermittent mini vortex behind the gooseneck hitch. WHOMPWHOMP.

Thank you horsey jesus...

Read more here:
https://redheadedendurance.com/2017/03/21/rides-of-march-50-2017-kenny-chronicles/



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2017 Rides of March (or Dave Rabe Is Incredible)

by Elicia Kamberg
March 19 2017

Rides of March might have been my craziest adventure yet. It's a long tale but quite entertaining.

Started out with a peaceful drive to Reno. Took the exit for the ride and went 15 miles looking for a turn with ribbons onto a dirt road. Along the drive I had seen single pink ribbons on the side of the road. Get to the mileage, see a sign saying public land access and a cluster of pink ribbons and pink spray paint on the road so I turned. First big mistake. Rutted road with two high tracks to drive on and a ft deep ruts on each side and in the middle. Though this was weird but it was marked so will go a bit further. Now there's no where to turn around, I continue in hopes that this is correct or I will find a spot to turn around and I come to a big washed out looking section. Hop out to look at it and yep, can't cross that, back to the truck to recess. Second mistake, trucks running and Aria jumped on the door and locked me out.
Crap.


Nothing else to do but scream and walk up to the main road and look for help. Thankfully the rm saw my rig and texted for help, Wes and Dave to the rescue! They were incredible and Wes with a wood wedge and a wire clothes hanger got my truck unlocked and backed it down the road.


Next bad decision, I didn't want the horses in the rig backing down the road in case it ended up in a ditch or got stuck. So unload and I had seen trailers taking the turn several hundred yards down from this road. Thought well that looks close, I'll just walk them over the hill to camp while the guys get my rig out. Dave says go to the cattle guard, take a left and it's a mile to camp. Ok, off we go, take the left and a little walk. Nope! I was supposed to turn hard left and I took the middle trail and went 90 degrees left.


After about 5 miles I made it to the top of a ridge and was heading in the direction of the main road as I knew I was lost when flying to my rescue again... comes Dave in the razor. He tracked my footprints through the desert! We made it down to the jeep road the ride used and then I sat on the back of the razor and held on to the horses as they flew along trotting back to camp behind us.


Then to find my rig in camp. I'm so frazzled I can't find it and actually start to wonder if I am crazy when nope it's down the road and didn't make it quite to camp. Off Dave goes again, did I mention Dave Rabe is incredible! Delivers and parks my rig and were finally settled. I made it to the area at 12:30, it's now almost 5pm. I had plans to go for a short test ride as had lots of new gear but no time now.


So the insanity is done right??? No again. Morning of the ride and tack up and get ready. Think I should hop on and test my stirrups as I have only ridden in this saddle twice (I had been riding in another model owned by a friend and had just bought this one new sized for Apache) have new stirrups leathers, new fuzzies and a new girth. Hop up, he takes one step and immediately launches into the air bucking. I stayed on for one buck then fly off of course landing on my bad hip as always. I lay there and watch him continue to buck, Dave catches him and he still bucks a few more times in place. Side note: Dave was there the last time I fell off at Death Valley and caught my horse lol. The guy watching the whole thing said wow, for a little horse he can really buck. His forehead was almost touching the ground and his hind legs went straight up.


It's the girth, all that caused by using a split girth that the back strap sat 2in further back than a normal girth. That was my third really bad decision. I knew Apache had flank issues. He gets really nervous when I take my feet out of the stirrups. Poor guy was scared out of his wits and shaking. Maybe this time the impact of hitting the ground will knock my brain back in my head. Changed out his girth and hoped on and he's just fine. Not a single naughty behavior all day.

SO the GOOD NEWS is the ride was a success!!! Apache successfully completed his first 50 which was tough as was true GPS mileage and sand the whole way. He finished with a pulse of 56 and overall vet out with an A. As his longest previous ride was around 20 miles I was super impressed with his toughness and willingness to go all day and leave camp 3 times. He looked a bit shocked and dazed at the end not sure what just happened lol. Now for some peace and quiet at home. No adventures for a bit please!

Thank you to all my friends that came to the rescue. Wes Fletcher, Dave Rabe, Gordie Cowan and more :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

20 Mule Team 100 2017: Endurance, All Ways, All Days - Aurora Grohman

RedHeadedEndurance.com - Full Story

February 28, 2017 / Redheaded Endurance

I’m freshly back from my first 100 mile attempt at the 2017 20 Mule Team Ride based out of Ridgecrest, California and I couldn’t be more amazed at both human and animal perseverance–and my desire to sign up for another 100 miler as soon as possible. If that has you wondering about possibly smooth travels and a successful ride completion I must immediately burst your bubble and instead urge you to settle into a comfortable chair with some popcorn and prepare to read a winding tale of Things Gone Wrong, Everywhere, that still ended with big smiles, hugs, and the desire for more.

Thursday 2/23/17, The Getting There

In mid January my friend W asked me if I’d like to ride her 19 year old Arabian stallion Aur Aquavit in his first 100 mile attempt at 20 Mule Team on February 25th, with her crewing for us. I had never ridden Aqua before, or any stallion, and had never done a 100 miler either, but was fresh off a successful 4 day multi-day catch riding at Death Valley and while not high mileage in any way (655 endurance, 505 LD), I have quite a number of catch riding completions on different breeds and temperaments and thrive in the cold, so felt that I could give 100 miles on a new horse in the Southern California desert in February a good shot...

Read more here:
https://redheadedendurance.com/2017/02/28/20-mule-team-100-2017-endurance-all-ways-all-days/

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017 20 Mule Team 100 - Nick Warhol

February 27 2017
by Nick Warhol

What a week! It really is my favorite “vacation” of the year, although it’s much more relaxing to return to work. I was leaving Tuesday morning, but on Monday night, in yet another bay area 2017 rain storm, crash down comes a 20 inch in diameter tree in my driveway. Not across the drive way, where 4 cuts would have gotten me out, no, down the driveway, the long way. Come on! I spent 2 hours early Tuesday morning cutting it up and moving the wood so I could leave. What workout?

My plan this year was to try and ride Donnie on the 100. I was not sure it was a good idea, since he’s going to be 20 in a few weeks, he has not done a 100 in 3 years, (nor have I) but more specifically this is the horse I was worried might die in 2015 from the poison hay incident. I took it easy on him last year, but certainly kept him going. Ines rode him at Fire Mountain in January and he was perfect, and he just felt so good riding him at home. My Good friend and “the person who helped me get into horses” Jean Schreiber gave me some good advice. She said “try it, and you will know if he’s okay. If he’s not he will tell you. But try it while you can.” So I did.

This year I trailer pooled down to the ride in my rig with Kristin Ojala and her young mare Lani, who were doing the 50. The drive down was actually un-eventful and nice; we were lucky we did not go on Wednesday. Gretchen Montgomery put me up in their house again, it’s so plush. Kristin got my camper. On Tuesday night the desert gods decided to let us mortals know who is in charge out there. They sent the wind. Thanks so much. On Wednesday I spent 7 hours doing about 80 miles out on the bike marking the trail, but could not think about the required chalk on the turns due to the wind. The wind only blew my bike over once while it was on the kick stand. I did the 35-mile loop and about a third of the 50 with ribbons, and I put up 4 signs at the trail splits way out on the trail.

The really big wind came Wednesday night. Thursday morning came with a light wind - those desert gods actually showed some mercy. I went out in the morning on a borrowed quad and spent 2 hours marking in town, about 5 or 6 miles all told. Ribbons, chalk, and signs. Then Kristin, Gretchen and I went out for a 90-minute horse ride, and then it was back out on the bike to work on the 65-mile loop.

I finished that up just before dark, but discovered something depressing. As I came down the common trail shared with the 35, I noticed that there were no ribbons anywhere. Oh wait, there’s a clothespin on the bush with a stub of an orange ribbon. A sixteenth of an inch long. The wind had either removed the whole thing, or blasted the ribbons right off the pin. Groan. And my signs? Somewhere near Barstow by now I imagine. That would mean another trip out around the 35 mile loop.

That would have to wait, because on Friday morning, I went out on bicycles with Gretchen to mark 6 miles of trail on the pedal pushers, since the trails here in this key part of the ride were now off limits to all motor vehicles. Even mine. Have you ever tried to ride a bicycle in a sandwash? Nope, no go. We rode and pushed the VERY UNDER POWERED two wheeled thing to get the trail marked, and once done, we went and picked up the 12 bales of hay and distributed them out to all the vet checks and water stops. I made it back by 1pm, and set out on the bike (The real bike, the one with the motor!) again to re-mark a lot of the 35-mile loop. Much more like it.

The ride meeting was at 6, and I made it back in time. Thanks to Kristin for taking care of Donnie for me. She moved camps, vetted him in, and removed a lot of work for me. We had the ride meeting, and then the little memorial service for Jackie Bumgardner. It was nice, but certainly sad.

I went off to get ready for the ride tomorrow morning and realized I had been going hard from sunup to sunset for the past 3 days without a break, and that included 230 miles on the dirt bike. I went to bed tired, really looking forward to that 6am start on the 100. Saturday morning came perfect- cold, and light breeze. I rode out of camp with Aurora Grohman for a while, on a very cool 19 year old stallion on his first 100, but I went on ahead after a few miles. I had my first problem of the ride when my eyes started burning again, just like at Fire Mountain a month ago. It was really weird- if I was moving forward, or there was any wind, my eyes just burned, bad. I had to keep one or both closed for relief, tears streaming down my face. I had visine along with me just in case, but it just made it hurt worse. Just about 10 hours of eye pain. What a hassle.

Except for my eyes, I was having a nice ride on my best boy, until I got to Rene, the photographer, at mile 10. I smiled for my pictures, but then immediately realized that I was off trail. Huh? Where was the turn into the desert? Rene told me he had been sending people down this road with pink ribbons, but they were not mine. I rode backwards, and found that that someone had removed all my ribbons, the chalk arrows, and the chalk line I had drawn all the way across the road so no one would do what I had just done. What?

I rode back to where he was, and down this road marked in pink ribbon. My color. After about a half mile I ran into a sign that said “bicycles left, runners right.” Someone had another unknown event going, used pink ribbons, and took my trail down so “their” guys would not be confused. I rode Donnie frantically back out across the open desert to where my trail still had some ribbons, grabbed a bunch that were on the correct, but now inaccessible trail, rode back, and improvised our trail by using theirs, and then marking a new trail to the right to send our riders to the vet check. I had to kick away my chalk arrows, and pick up the ribbons going the other way, etc, etc. Great! I’m working on the trail during the ride. At least the 50’s had not been by yet, and I don’t think anyone got really lost here, since it was on the way and close to the 395 vet check. I was a little stressed as I rode away.

I hooked up with Brenna Sullivan and we rode together off and on to the first vet check at 15 miles. No issues there except for a horse that got loose and ran through camp like he was TRYING to mow someone down. It was scary!

We caught up with Lucy Turnbuckle Chipotle on her truck-size horse Fergus a couple of miles later. She was glad, as Fergus was missing some horse company. The three of us rode together for the next several hours, and I discovered my horse could not walk as fast as these two other horses. NO horse can walk as fast as these horses. It was stunning- Fergus has a big walk, and would just walk away from Donnie. As a result, Donnie would jig along to keep up while Fergus walked. Trotting was fine, but walking was a hassle. But Brenna’s horse would walk away from Fergus! I have never seen anything like that. I kid you not when I say that Donnie was trotting slowly next to her while she walked. She is a Walker, but it was really incredible. Donnie just didn’t walk during those 25 miles or so. Wow.

I discovered my next problem that started making me nuts- for some reason my ankles started rolling inward in my stirrups. I stopped and looked and found the foam pads in the stirrups were collapsed and flat as a pancake on one side. I left my good stirrups with the new E-Z ride “nubby” pads on Sorsha’s saddle at home, so I used the ones that came on the new specialized. It was very uncomfortable, so I stopped every 5 miles and reversed the stirrups, which helped for a couple of miles. I would certainly swap them for something at camp, even if I had to remove the pads and ride on the plastic.

We vetted through vet 3 and headed for camp, but about 5 miles away I trotted on ahead, since I was trotting anyway. Donnie was superb and blew through the check with all a’s. In camp Brenda lent me a pair of new E-Z ride stirrups with the “nubby” pads, same as mine at home, and problem solved. Yay! Thanks Brenda. Those stirrups are still on my saddle; they are not coming off. I just ordered her a new pair! I solved my eye problem by wearing my dirt bike goggles on the second loop, as I did at Fire Mountain, and that took care of my eyes. I’m going to get that checked.

I waited for Lucy and Brenna, and we left camp at about 7:40 or so in the dark and headed out for our last 35 miles. With all my problems solved I had a great last loop. We just rode along together, with Donnie trotting slowly along them when they walked, which we did a lot of. The stars were stunning, and we saw several shooting stars. We had a nice ride to the last vet check at 90 miles; it was a little cold in the wind, but I was very comfortable.

With about 5 miles to go, they were walking, Donnie was jigging, so I trotted on ahead like I did on the last loop and cruised into the finish at 2am. Donnie was totally fresh, with a cri of 48/48. I will admit he was fresher than I was. I was not sore, or hurt, but man, was I fatigued. I took him to roll, which he did with glee, and put him up with lots of food. The week had caught up to me, and at 2:30 am my head hit the pillow and I was out. Dead. I don’t remember being that tired in a long time.

I woke up at about 7 on Sunday morning feeling a world better. The ride breakfast was perfect, being catered by a local Mexican restaurant. Boy, it was good. Someone told me that cardboard would taste good at that point, and I agree.

The awards meeting was nice, we finished in 20th place of 25 finishers of 36 starters I think. Lucy and Brenna walked in and finished at about 2:45, but by then I was out cold. Poor Kristin only made it 7 miles in the 50, having to stop due to lameness in the rear on Lani. At first they thought maybe an abscess, but it looks more like the rear boots rubbing. She has some work to do to get it sorted out, but she will.

Brian and Val Reeves do a heck of a job putting this thing on- it’s a lot of work; they have a core of fabulous volunteers. After the awards meeting we packed up and drove the 8 hours home, stopping once in Lost Hills for the kids, who ate a TON of green grass.

To say I’m pleased with Donnie is an understatement. I won’t embellish as I’m known to do, other to say that he’s just the best. I’m going to keep riding him as long as he likes, it, and after Saturday, I’d say he’s nowhere near done.

Judy will be riding Donnie at Lost Padres on the 25 on day 1 along with me on Sorsha. She will enjoy it. It would be hard not to. He’s a good horse.

As always, we will take what we learned this year and make next year’s ride better. We have a little work to do on glow bars, I have an idea on some more new and better trail, etc. If all goes well with Sorsha I’d like to make this her first 100 next year, but hold on, there is this horse named Donnie...

More photos and more on the ride at:
http://www.endurance.net/international/USA/2017TwentyMuleTeam/



Friday, February 17, 2017

South Africa: Race the Wild Coast

Horsenetwork.com - Full Story

February 17 2017
BRENT ALBUINO

One rider. Three horses. And 350 kilometers of untamed terrain on the remote east coast of South Africa. Australian Brent Albuino was among the first to brave the inaugural Race the Wild Coast last year. He won’t be the last.

Start line—Port Edward

The rider’s pour off a rusty old trailer trying to pretend everything’s going to be ok and we’ve all got our sh*t together and this epic race sorted! I’m nervous but I’m hung over just enough to not care so much if I drown at the first river crossing...

The crew is tramping through the sand dunes to bring us our first horses.

As we await I remind Maudes that being the inaugural riders for this crazy race I feel like a bit of a Guinea Pig.

“You know what happens to Guinea Pigs, Brentski?”

“No, what?”

“They f** die!”

The crew arrives. Pip has my horse and she looks f*d from trudging through the sand dunes. This gives me zero confidence of what’s to come as Pip is an Aussie, hard as nails, born and bred in the Pilbara. She has red dirt running through her veins and a f* you attitude only an Aussie with a can of Bundy would understand.

Anthony Ward-Thomas was going to ride with Maudes and me until his horse did its best impression of a submarine on a training ride at start camp. He bailed on the race and I’m starting to think he may be the most intelligent person I’ve ever met. He was last seen drinking with the locals at Port St Johns. Nice bloke, I hope he’s ok.

I get on my horse, Amir. He seems relaxed, like he has no idea he’s about to carry me through 100 kilometers of torturous terrain.

The race is about to begin!...

Read more here:
http://horsenetwork.com/2017/02/race-wild-coast/

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Horse riding in Tasmania: exploring the Tiger Trail by saddle

AFR.com - Full Article

SOPHISTICATED TRAVELLER
Feb 15 2017 at 10:00 AM

by Fiona Carruthers

With hindsight, attempting to clamber back into the saddle three wines down was bound to end badly. I don't even drink at lunch. No, really.

Just as my left foot hit the stirrup iron and I went to lunge off the ground and leap aboard in one graceful movement (in front of about, oh, 20 bystanders), my mount Coltie sidestepped that critical half-inch – just enough to see me come floundering down.

Packing for a four-day horse trek through Tasmania's rugged central north near the aptly named Meander River, I thought I'd covered all contingencies: from SPF50+ sunscreen to neck-to-toe oilskin, gloves, riding helmet still in warranty, boots with heels and fine-seamed jeans that wouldn't chafe. The prospect of drink-riding never occurred to me.

Out of curiosity, I casually phone the police on returning home to ask: "Is there a legal alcohol limit to riding a horse in Australia?"...

Read more: http://www.afr.com/brand/sophisticated-traveller/riding-tasmania-exploring-the-tiger-trail-on-horseback-20170130-gu1f7f#ixzz4Ylu713Yi


Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Saddletramp: The Nevada Discovery Ride" exhibition

UNR.edu - Full Article

Shared History Program exhibition features wild mustangs in need of home

Samantha Szesciorka will share her experiences traveling more than 1,000 miles to encourage wild horse adoption at on-campus exhibit opening Feb. 15

2/8/2017 | By: Hannah Richardson

Extreme weather, difficult terrain, route disruptions and broken gear all describe what might be a typical day on the trail for long-distance equestrian Samantha Szesciorka. Szesciorka rides hundreds to thousands of miles throughout Nevada on the back of her adopted mustang, Sage, to encourage wild horse adoption. At 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15, Szesciorka will share highlights of her most recent ride in a new exhibition titled "Saddletramp: The Nevada Discovery Ride." The reception and exhibition, hosted and curated by the Shared History Program at the University of Nevada, Reno, are located in room 120 of Lincoln Hall on the University campus.

The Shared History Program's exhibition will showcase select photographs and objects from Szesciorka's adventure in 2016, including journals, riding gear and things found on the trail. The exhibition will officially open with a special presentation from Szesciorka, followed by refreshments and socializing in the exhibition space.

Szesciorka moved to Nevada in 2008, and because of her love for horses and long riding, she began planning for her first long-distance ride in 2010. She was humbled to ride close to wild mustangs during her month-long, 500-mile journey in 2013, but was saddened to learn that many mustangs languish in holding facilities because they are not being adopted. This led her to begin the Nevada Discovery Ride project to encourage wild horse adoption...

Read more here:
http://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2017/new-shp-exhibition

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