I hope I can answer some of your multi-day ride questions. I love multi-day rides...my favorites are Outlaw Trail and Pony Express. I`ve ridden Outlaw Trail 6 times on Omner and won 1st overall 5 times. I think that rugged mountain course is Omners forte. And you can`t go too, too fast on the 1st three days or you will blow up your horse before the 5th day or you will get lost!
I`ve never ridden Death Valley Encounter, but its a great ride! One exciting feature of multi-day rides...the horses seem stronger by the last day than the first!
1. On a 5 day ride, the horses seem to eat constantly..so I pack enough hay to last my trip to the ride and throughout the ride. Of course, don`t change the diet by thinking you can buy hay at the ride. I`ve seen problems. Lots of Hay.
2. Water. I only bring one horse(I just plan to ride the whole race on Omner). I know I can obtain water at various points of the event about every other day. So I pack 40 gallons. I guess the weather can be cool at DV so you might not need as much to cool your horse. Check with the manager about water availabilty.
3. No, I don`t plan any early arrival unless I want to "ride around" or sightseeing. B. I have a 9 to 5 so I always need to rush home the day after the ride.
4. It`s great to have a crew..but sometimes I need to go solo. I`ve found lots of help and support from the other crews. (and thanks again for all you guys that have helped me :))
5. My fanny pack is full with Cliff bars, Power Bars, raisins etc. whatever works for you, and lots of water for you.
6. It`s actually what do you expect the 3rd day of the ride. I think thats when you recover from the paralysis :) (not really) and really get into the pacing, your incredible horse and your friends.
7. I do ice after each day.
8. I usually give Omner 3 weeks off after a multi./before 3 weeks.
9. Yes, expect some weight loss throughout the ride. Since I am a Dynamite Distributor (no commercial intended) I use the High Energy Supplement HES. It is a high energy, high fat (extruded soybeans), lots of calories in a pelleted form. I can pack it in baggies and feed handfuls right from the saddle. Outlaw and Pony XP only have one vet check each day so I need to pack food and electrolytes and feed along the way before and after the vet checks. I like the Equi-Marine electrolytes since Omner will just open his mouth for his dose..he loves it and will eat and drink after his electrolytes. I also carry some carrots and an apple to feed along the trail.
Also I carry a flashlight, solar blanket, easy boots, vet wrap, compact rainjacket, hoof pick all that emergency stuff, extra 800mg motrin (which I hardly ever use, but I seem to need it for everyone else). Wow am I ever weighted down!!
10. Pacing..just really take your time if you plan to ride all 5 days. Its a great thrill to finish all 5 and you will be so proud of your horse and yourself. Crocket and Sharon Dumas have a nice Outlaw Trail video that also might be helpful. It just gets me anxious for next years OT.
Have a Great time..I wish I was going!!! I`m happy to answer any questions, I hope there are a few tips for you.