Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
By Kilauea Fashion
"I Thought He Was Pulling My Leg"
Every time I think I have learned everything there is to learn about endurance riding Kathleen pulls a new carrot out of her pocket. Last weekend we went to our first ride this year which for the first time turned into two rides! We got ready for two other rides but it kept snowing and we just couldn’t get enough legging up miles in to satisfy Kathleen. We certainly went from one extreme to the other because at this ride we did two rides and it was ninety degrees! In fact, all our conditioning trails still had snow on them on Sunday and on Thursday I was sweating my tail off in the eighties. Anyway, I got a bath which felt wonderful due to the weather and we headed up to Rock Creek, BC to a ride I have never done before, eh? (Notice I speak Canadian!). I vetted in on Friday and Kathleen showed Dr. Petersen my scar so he could help her keep an eye on my right shoulder during the ride. Kathleen said this was my test run to make sure I completely healed up from my kick last fall. I got my usual “oohs and ahhs” when people heard my pulse rate…I think I was 32 even with the heat. Funny what people get excited about isn’t it?
Saturday morning we started the ride at 5am because it was going to be so hot. And speaking of hot, have I ever told you I am one HOT LITTLE MARE? I am sure I have and I know Kathleen knows I am but she still gets mad at me for wanting to go fast at the start of a ride. We did our usual bickering for the first 15 mile loop which had a good deal of climbing on it and I vetted in with a CRI in the 40’s so you would think I would just win this argument once and for all wouldn’t you? Smooth was getting in trouble too because he was being just as hot as I was! It was already blazing when we headed out on the second loop. You should have SEEN the trail we did! It was a switch back up a mountain that went higher and higher and higher until everyone in camp looked like ants. The views were beautiful but I didn’t get to stop and enjoy them because Kathleen was panicking and made me keep walking way over next to the side of the hill. If you know Kathleen, you know she is scared of heights. I really had to take care of her on this trail; she got so scared she started crying! Smooth had to come up beside her and help me keep her calm all the way to the top of the hill. Anyway, we finally reached the peak of the mountain and took off in the nice shady trees. Kathleen, the control freak, did all her usual tricks trying to get me to eat and making me put my mouth in the water trough (might as well drink then eh?) before she let me chase other horses down the trail. We fought off and on that loop too because I wanted to go fast and Kathleen seemed to be saving me up for something but I knew we weren’t doing a “Sunriver” like last year because she never said anything about it. Smooth kept telling me to listen and let him set the pace but he isn’t the boss of me and I decided to show him I can go as fast as I want when I want (except when Kathleen pulls me up because she is the boss of me). My pulse in and CRI really surprised people this time because I was in the 40’s again and it was really hot. Dr. Petersen came over and told Kim and Kathleen that Smooth and I were looking great and complimented our condition and I thought Kathleen would just bust the zipper on her cool medics vest she was so proud of me. She even said she would quit calling me “Damnit Fashion” which is what she calls me at rides. I don’t know why she forgets my name is Kilauea Fashion at rides…she must get low blood sugar or something. Anyway, I thought it was nice that she was going to make an effort to remember my name since I was carrying her up all those hills. It was fun in the vet check getting to try all the nice treaties that Kathleen and Kim packed for us so we really tanked up and headed out on the trail for the last loop. I was a bit surprised when we headed back up the really long switch back trail although Kathleen did better this time. We caught up with our friends (Kathy and Shawnee, Andie and Sadie, and Kim and Montana) and had a very pleasant time visiting as we did all the climbing on the pink loop. After the last water trough Smooth and I felt so good we just begged to do some cantering and Kathleen and Kim finally gave in and let us go. We cantered all the way to the steep down hills and then ate our way to camp. This ride had the best grass along the trail and I had completely ignored it until the last few miles. I did another CRI in the 40’s and headed up to the trailer for a nice rest before heading home the next day…or at least that is what I thought would happen.
I noticed our routine was a little different on Saturday evening. Kim and Kathleen didn’t put any of our camp away and I was pretty sure I saw them reloading our saddle packs, which was very weird. We went on lots of grazing walks and we got cleaned up more than usual. Everyone in camp went to bed early and it was very quiet. Then Kim got up and gave us breakfast when it was still dark which only happens on days when we ride. Smooth had been telling me we were going to do a “two day” and go ride the trail again but I simply did not believe him. That was a very challenging trail; I knew there was no way Kathleen would go out and up that switch back again. I just figured Smooth had his muzzle out of joint because I went in front of him on the trail instead of doing what he said and so he was pulling my leg. Of course, you could have knocked me over with a piece of hay when Kathleen came out of the camper in riding clothes and started tacking me up! Then sure enough we went out and did that ride all over again! Kathleen couldn’t believe it when I pulled on her arms all day again. She really underestimates how strong I am. Kim admired how powerful I am on the up hills Kathleen laughed and said “Baby got back” and then they made up a rap about my butt. It went something like “I like big butts and I cannot lie…” Boy did I ever have a great day on Sunday; I think I like “two days” because Kathleen let me go faster and that gave me time to stop and eat along the trail. Smooth was a little tired on the hills and for the first time I pulled him through a ride…I finally got to be there for Smooth my BFF. We cantered and trotted our way through the day up all the big hills and munched our way down the big hills (I want to thank Kathleen for getting off and leading me down the hills especially since I think she put on a few pounds in the last few weeks). We did that hard trail in the same time we did the day before and we stopped to eat a lot on Sunday so we were actually moving faster and it was still pretty darn hot. If there was an award for the best CRI Kathleen said I would win it. After 100 miles on a hard Canadian ride on a unseasonably hot weekend my final CRI was 40/40 and once again I got many compliments from Dr. Petersen.
The best part about the "two day" is I have gotten to go out on the pasture 24 hours a day all this week so my ribs won’t show. I just LOVE it when I have to eat like a horse instead of being on a diet like earlier this spring. Three years ago when I came to live with Kathleen she said I would like endurance because I would get to eat as much as I wanted and I must say she was right about that. Kathleen walks out in the pasture each morning and evening and feels my legs and smiles and feels my ribs and smiles and gives me a scratch and tells me my job is just to walk around and eat this week; ahhh what a life. I like being an HLM.
PS We are doing the Sunriver again! I better get out my list of ten things I learned last year and review it to get ready for this year.
See you on the trail!