Well, I have lurked on ridecamp for years and have always enjoyed those first time ride stories, and am happy to finally have one of my own!! This past weekend I attended the Chicken Chase ride in Indiana. It was a first ride for both my horse (Eddie) and myself ( I had done a few CTR's a few years ago with a different horse). To make a long story short we had a great time. The weather was beautiful, Bill Wilson's farm is a wonderful place to camp, and the trails were well marked with good footing.
So here goes....I followed my training partner up to Bill's on friday, set up camp and settled in. Registered, vetted in and weighed Eddie on the SERA scales, he weighed 1065#. He drank and ate all night...had some excitement at 2:30AM when a herd of horses came blasting through and ran through an electric corral next to my truck. I sleep in my suburban and it was very comforting to have a solid wall around me - however as I came instantly awake and tried to get out the door to check on Eddie it looked like a comedy routine since I had locked myself in and was yanking on a locked door handle in a panic! Calmed Eddie down, lots of activity - people milling about, lights all on....well, you know the drill....fortunately the horses were all found but some not till much later in the morning.
Day one: We did the 25 mile ride on Saturday. I knew we could do the distance but I wanted to see how Eddie handled all the other activity that goes on and I wanted to make sure I took my time to pay attention at the vet checks. 1st loop was 10 miles - we left five minutes after the start and rode the pace we have been training at. At the hold he pulsed down right away passed the vet check and went back to the trailer to eat, drink and relax. 2nd loop was 15 miles - he started drinking on this loop and drank at everything we passed. Finished fine, no problems, mid-pack, 20th out of 57 starters. Weighed him later in the afternoon after a few hours letting him eat and drink and he was 1060#. Couln't be more pleased with how he handled himself. Had so much fun decided to do it again on Sunday!
Day two: Did the 25 again, this is now Eddie's and mine 2nd ride. Since my riding partner had left after the ride on Saturday, I decided to ride this day by ourselves and concentrate on pacing. Wanted to just maintain a nice trot and not get distracted by other horses. Well, all I want to say is now I know why people get so hooked on this sport. We had a blast! Eddie was having a great time and we just kept going and going. There is a section on the second loop where you are riding a narrow trail through trees slightly uphill for a long time ( I need to be a better judge of distance ) where it felt just like riding a motorcycle. Eddie was just going along and leaning into turns - that was way too much fun. Like the first day, he didn't drink on the first loop but drank at every stream the second loop. We finished in great shape, he pulsed down and looked terrific. We finished 12th but I'm not sure how many started the second day. Kept a nice even pace.
Thanks to my riding partner Robby Doll for training and getting me through my first 25 miles. Taught me pacing and strategy. And introduced me to what felt like a million people this weekend - is there anyone who doesn't know Robby?? Thanks to Connie Caudill for selling me such a great horse. Thanks to Amy Whelan for putting on such a wonderful ride. Thanks to Bill Wilson for the use of his farm. Thanks to the ride photographer - even the photo's came out great. I'm hooked and already planning for our first 50!!
Roxanne and Eddie