Friday, April 25, 2003

Hog Wild - A Newbie's First Multiday (sort of ) - Scott

One hundred miles in one weekend. Okay, not quite the same ring as 100 miles in 1 day, but we've all gotta start somewhere! What an amazing experience. What an incredible ride. Tammy Robinson and the gang at Trail-Rite know how to do it.....well.....RITE!

The trails were impeccably marked - even the one or two riders who got lost admitted as much! There was a good reason to get lost, however, because the trails were BEAUTIFUL this year with hock-high mustard-weed fields and California poppies everywhere. It would have been so easy to be taking in all the scenery and miss the plethora of ribbons! The footing was incredible. The skies were a crystal blue. The volunteers were plentiful and knowledgeable and helpful. The food was delicious.

And the trails? Outstanding! There were single track winding paths on ridges with views of five mountain ranges, wide well-groomed dirt roads, long, twisting, sandy washes, and a final loop that took us through a semi-residential area where "movie folks" keep monkeys, orangutans, emus, llamas, and a huge one-hump camel! This ride has everything. You want a hilly challenge? The first loop'll do ya. You wanna race on a well groomed flat? There's plenty of that too. You want the adrenaline rush of picking your way carefully along narrow ridgecrests where you'll put all of your training to the test and trust your mount's ability to place its feet where you want 'em? Oh, boy. Hog Wild's got it! :o) I've obviously never ridden the Tevis - but I overheard several who've done so referring to this ride as a mini version of that classic challenge. I cannot recommend it enough. It's the only ride I have repeated (last year and this) and I will do it again and again - as long as Tammy and her family are insane enough to keep putting it on. How 'bout a three-day next year, Tammy? I'll help you blaze more trail!

If anyone is wondering how Solitaire and I did, here ya go........

We completed the first day middle-of-the-pack and healthy - which is exactly what I was hoping to do. At the final check, Solitaire had almost straight A's - her only B was (if I remember correctly) for impulsion. She was tired, but very fit. :o) I decided not to push her and opted not ride her the second day. Then Tammy offered me a wonderful opportunity - I could ride drag with her the second day on one of her incredible horses, TR Pistol Pete. (Yikes! I was going to ride a damned Ah-rab! LOL) I immediately took her up on it, especially since she would be riding her mare, Kate, and a completion would give this incredible horse 4,000 career miles! And this after taking time off to give Trail-Rite Ranch the miracle of healthy, stunningly beautiful TWIN foals last year!!!! Well, I pulled my tired newbie-butt up onto Pete the second day and rode off with Tammy for a milestone - my first multi-day. I completed (it'd be hard not to on this Trail-Rite trained horse - Pete is truly a "Pistol") and earned my 250 mile badge. But that paled in comparison to Tammy and TR Katie Bar the Door. I rode over the finish line with them and watched Tammy on the verge of tears as she rubbed Katie's neck. 4,000 miles. Wow.

It was a weekend to remember. This is an incredible sport full of incredible people and even more incredible and outstanding horses. My butt might be a little sore today but, with the high I'm on, I haven't noticed yet. :o) Thanks, Tammy and everyone at Trail-Rite. And a BIG thank you to Ginger who volunteered and sat as the in and out timer in base camp for a total of over 20 hours while I was out having all the fun.
Well, I'm gonna try to go to sleep now, but it may be hard. My mind is still "drinkin' the wind." :o)


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