Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My First True Multi-Day - Crysta Turnage

February 14 2018
by Crysta Turnage

I have done a couple of back-to-back rides over the years, but nothing more than 2-days. This past week, I attended, and completed, all four days 200-miles at the Eastern Mojave Scenic XP Ride. Here are some things I learned at my first true multi-day:

1. Some things may go just right. Thankfully the drive down and back were both very smooth and without issue. This should not be taken for granted. I packed plenty of food and water for both my horse and I and didn’t seem to forget anything critical (YAY!!).

2. Some things will probably need some help. Waking up to discover swollen “armpits” and a girth gall, something I haven’t had to deal with before, on the morning of Day 3 sucked. Thankfully...

3. PACK EXTRAS – that saddle you haven’t used in a while, that spare girth you have laying around, those thin tights which work well as another layer, etc. Bring them. Being able to switch to a different saddle with centerfire rigging, and having the option of a contour girth, allowed us both to be able to ride comfortably on days 3 & 4. In fact, his gall looked much better AFTER riding each day as the movement helped to reduce any edema. And my back and other body parts appreciated the change in saddle as well. New areas to get sore! 😉

4. Going with a buddy is more fun. I’m super glad a friend from home could attend as well. I was prepared to go solo, but it was great having someone to camp near and visit with. Our horses instantly fell in love and got married the first night they camped together. Thankfully they also were a great team on the trail with mine trotting just a touch faster and hers walking just a bit faster so we leveraged their strengths.

5. A multiday will help you fully develop a routine. The beautiful thing about a multiday is you really learn to fine tune your pre- and post-ride horse & rider care. All those things you do for single-day rides, you start to evaluate how necessary they are, or how to be more efficient. Having my crew bag fully stocked (we were out of camp ALL day, every day) so I only needed to grab my small people lunch box (I wasn’t eating the ride food) and put in a fresh grain baggie each day meant I didn’t have to haul my entire bag back and forth. Having a post-ride care routine of icing legs and then eating a snack while I rolled leg wraps, or pre-soaking mashes, all those little things began to get streamlined and I’m sure will make things seem easier at future rides. Even the way I packed things in my trailer was better by the end.

6. Day 3 will probably suck, Day 4+ will be better. I’ve heard this many times and it totally held true. My back was a locked-up mess in the morning of Day 3 but substantially improved as the day wore on. I do think a big part of this was a change in saddles, I was trying a newer one on its first (and second) 50 and let’s just say it’s not a healthy relationship. By the end of Day 4, I felt that I would totally be able to go again tomorrow if there were additional days.

7. Having a buddy system at home is invaluable. The evening of Day 3 we were warned to “batten down the hatches” and it was NO JOKE. I had to get up and catch my horse after some blowing equipment spooked him and he released a safety measure on his Hi-Tie. The wind shook and rattled the trailer all night long and it was still blowing on the morning of Day 4. My mental state was wobbling severely between “We’ve already accomplished so much, this doesn’t seem fun now & Don’t give up now, you’ll regret it.” A couple of texts home resulted in both support and encouragement and “Get your ass on the horse. Nobody likes a sissy.” Both of which were EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

8. Be conservative, take things as they come, but don’t be afraid to set big goals. I have a young horse who is proving to be very talented. I have some lofty long-term goals for him, so the focus this year is on building a steady, strong base for us to accomplish those things in future years. He had 150 miles before this ride. My goal was to ride two days and see how he felt. We could take a day off, or just go home if things weren’t going to plan. Instead he happily and steadily just kept going down the trail, generally asking to go faster (No, buddy). He doubled his lifetime mileage to date and we even managed a top 10 on Day 4 when some inclement weather reduced the number of starters (we finished about 2/3rds through the “pack”). To say I’m impressed is an understatement.

9. Try new things at your own risk… See newer saddle above (it had seemed to work on training rides). I had also changed my own eating habits to a ketogenic diet, but have not done a ride on this high fat / very low carb way of eating before. I was a little worried the lack of carbs might impact my energy and recovery. I actually didn’t have much trouble during the ride, but HAVE been surprised by the cravings since. Being prepared with good choices has helped me stick mostly to plan. I also tried some new electrolytes which didn’t work very well for me, soured my stomach. But discovered frozen (thawed by the time you get there) precooked meatballs are AMAZING for lunch in your crew bag.

10. Last – If you glue boots, the ONE you’re sure is going to fall off may just surprise you. This was my first-time gluing solo and I had an Adhere mixing issue. I wasn’t very confident in how they would hold. One of them came off immediately, as soon as I had put all the supplies away. I quickly wiped it off the best I could, got a fresh tube of glue, and slapped it back on. We took dibs on if it would even make it to the ride. He lost 1 boot the first day and 2 more on the last. The one that fell off during gluing? That sucker made it all the way there, through all 4 days, and I’m going to have to pry it off. 😝 LOL

Monday, February 19, 2018

Six-Day Pack Trip in Yellowstone’s Backcountry

photo by Lisa Florey - Full Story

An adventurous mother and daughter duo set out on a six-day packing adventure through the rugged wilderness of Yellowstone National Park.

November 30, 2017
By Lisa Florey

How many septuagenarians do you know who would trek 80-odd miles through a remote wilderness on horseback, sleeping in a tent each night? I know one! I was lucky enough to spend six days with my mom in the Yellowstone backcountry, riding through the most remote area of the lower 48.

After several years of dreaming about the trip, we went for it and signed up for a Thorofare trip with Yellowstone Wilderness Outfitters. The adventure began with a road trip from southwest Missouri to Cody, Wyoming, where we enjoyed the hospitality at Robin’s Nest Bed & Breakfast. The next morning, we met up with the outfitter at Nine Mile Trailhead in Yellowstone National Park.

The logistics of organizing and loading gear for a group of nine riders (12 if you include the wranglers and outfitter!) onto the string of seven pack mules was mind-boggling. After an overview of safety tips — the bulk of it about bears — we were paired up with our horses and headed out...

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Friday, February 16, 2018

How to explore Dartmoor by horse - Full Story

Mount up for a horse ride across the untamed landscape of Dartmoor

9th February 2015
Sian Lewis

Was there ever an area more suited to exploring on horseback than Dartmoor? Steeped in folklore and with ever-changing scenery, it’s impossible to tire of this wild terrain.

I took to the saddle for a 22-mile (35km) adventure with Liberty Trails, which specialises in long-distance rides across Dartmoor. Their beautiful, sure-footed quarter horses – a popular American breed of small, fast horses used for races and rodeos – are a delight to ride or horse owners can bring their own steeds for the excursion.

Elaine Michelle Prior, Liberty Trails’ founder, grew up exploring these moors on ponies and now organises small, tailor-made rides through the national park. Experienced riders can take on single- or multi-day tramps through the park’s wild places or explore War Horse territory with a tailored ride visiting locations from the movie. There’s even a chance to join the cattle drives in late spring.

Untamed moorland

Long distance horse-riding is not for the unfit or the delicate of behind but it is an immensely rewarding way to immerse yourself in the landscape and explore off the beaten track. While six hours in the saddle was testing, I found that what is hard on the backside is good for the soul.

I got up bright and early to meet Fred, the glossy horse who would be my partner in adventure. Our guide was farmer Phil Heard, who knows the moors inside and out and can read the land effortlessly. He rode ahead to lead the way, kitted out in a Stetson and floor-length coat, like a Devonian version of the Marlboro man...

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Australia: The nine-year-old who rode a pony 1000km to Sydney - Full Article

A farmer's son's horseback ride to Sydney for the opening of the harbour bridge captured the Depression-era public's imagination.

January 22 2018
Carolyn Webb

In 1932, nine-year-old Lennie Gwyther dreamed of being on the spot for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The fact that he lived 1000 kilometres away in Leongatha, in south-eastern Victoria, didn't faze him. A new book tells the true story of how one February day, with his parents' blessing, he set off on what was to be a four-month odyssey with his pony, Ginger Mick.

The book Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney By Pony, to be published by the National Library of Australia on February 1, tells how Lennie was feted at towns he and Ginger Mick stopped at such as Lakes Entrance, Cooma, and Bowral.

"It was the middle of the Depression, people were looking for good news stories, so it captured the public imagination," author Stephanie Owen Reeder said...

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Saturday, February 03, 2018

Tonto Twist 50 - Ashley Wingert - Full Story

by Ashley Wingert
January 31 2018

Alternate titles:

“Not According to Plan”
“How Not To Start Off Your Ride Season”
“At Least We Did An LD”
“Did We Get the Bad Stuff Out of the Way Early?”

In short: Lameness pull after the first 30-mile loop. Minor, but consistent, on the right front…the same RF the vet was looking at suspiciously on Friday at vet-in.

Lesson #1: Always trot the horse out at home before you load them into the trailer.

Of course, this doesn’t preclude them from bonking themselves in the trailer along the way, or thrashing on the high-tie, or stepping wrong on the pre-ride, or…or…or…

In short, I still have no idea what happened. No heat, swelling, or reactions to anything on his shoulder or leg. Current working theory is maybe some lingering foot soreness from trimming, because he displayed more of a consistent choppiness/short-striding on that leg versus a pronounced head-bob/limp.

Lesson #2: You will second-guess yourself about everything. Welcome to endurance.

Every pull, I armchair quarterback. I look back and go, “What could I have done different? If I had done such-and-such, could I have changed the outcome?” And then there’s the dangerous path of “maybe I should have just played it safe and never tried.” Because that comes with its own set of “What ifs” to the tune of, “What if I had tried and it worked? Now I’ll never know...”

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Across Morocco on horseback - Full Story

A month-long adventure from the dunes of the Sahara to the Atlantic coast

January 17 2018
Saskia Burgess

The night before I set off to ride on horseback across Morocco, I spread the map out on the kitchen table. This is a trip I have dreamt of doing for years but it is only now that I am starting to focus on the reality of what I am attempting. I draw a sloping line from Erg Chebbi on the edge of the Sahara to Plage Blanche on the Atlantic coast. The ride is — although I don’t know this yet — 956km from start to finish, across sand dunes, desert plains and mountains. I’ve tried to read the itinerary but each time I start, I stop: “Long canters . . . big black plain . . . lonely valley . . . stony road . . . red sand.” If I can’t even read to the end of the trip, how am I going to ride it? It will take a month — there will be nine riders and we will be camping, although I note that there are hotel nights and days off in Zagora, Tata, Foum Zguid and Guelmim (counting the hotels is a soothing sport). The best way not to feel daunted is not to think at all.

I am reading, for moral support, the extraordinary early 20th-century memoir of a woman who crossed Morocco on horseback before me. Lady Grove, author of the not-very-catchily entitled Seventy One Days’ Camping in Morocco made the journey in 1902, with 25 armed soldiers. She carried a pistol and a “white, green-lined umbrella” and “never rode a yard in the sun without holding it up”. She developed a “catlike affection” for her tent and “beloved” holdall. Mine, even minus pistol and parasol, is threatening to turn into an enemy. I’ve been reasoning (rightly as it will turn out) that luxuries — a down-filled pillow, a sheepskin seat-saver, flexi stirrups — will be necessities. But struggling with the holdall at Heathrow, I am likely to do myself an injury before even getting on a horse. I am travelling with two friends. We are in our sixties — our bodies neither pliant nor compliant. Why are we taking this on? Easier to ask than to answer.

We fly to Ouarzazate where Renate Erroudani meets us. At 55, she rides like a heroine on a grey Arab mare and wears a turquoise turban that flies behind her as she sets off at a fast canter. Delacroix could have painted her. I first fell for her outfit on a trip along the Agadir coast (she ideally likes riders to have sampled a week before committing to the marathon month). Originally Swiss, she is married to a Moroccan and has organised rides in Morocco for 30 years. An endurance rider with no need for GPS, the desert is in her head...

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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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