My husband Stace and I decided we really needed a vacation and since we missed Moab last year, that ride became our goal this year. Well, 5 weeks ago Stace broke 3 bones in his left foot when a 700 pound bale fell on him - he was very lucky. Then last week I got tossed and bruised my tail bone pretty bad (still mostly assuming it's not broken except when I move wrong or my horse decides a shadow is worth jumping). Then our truck started having starting issues (no pun intended). And our intermittent trailer brakes (on a 3H LQ) became more consistent - on the non-working side!
Stace managed to get all of 17 miles on his horse in the past 2 month, but luckily she keeps her conditioning and his foot was feeling pretty good so he aimed to do the first and third days. We bought a fuel pump (hoping it was the solution to the starting problem, but it wasn't) in Grand Junction on the way to the ride and relied on the exhaust brake to get us safely down the hills. We were quite determined to get to this ride.
And it was absolutely worth it! I was riding a new horse this season and we were still learning about each other. She starting the season as a fairly sane idiot. Mostly great when riding but a lunatic otherwise. She has slowly settled in and can go from race mode to sleeping standing in an instant (except for the need to rub her head all over me) so I was having to learn what was her learning to deal from what might be a horse that was getting tired. But she did great and rode all 3 days, ending strong. Stace met his goal of riding 2 days and both horses camped well (other than a little exploration during the wee hours one morning).
This was an amazing ride, and shouldn't be missed. Each day brought new trail and different types of terrain and gorgeous views. We learned our horses can canter over slick rock. For those of you who need a place to condition for sandy rides this certainly fits the bill! On the second day when Stace let his foot recover, I rode by myself for the first time. I started out near the front runners but got tired of trying to pace my horse without creeping up on the leaders all day. So I made her walk for a bit and found a nice window. It was nice to find that she was still as forward as I asked her to be, remaining willing to suggest cantering on her own as the terrain allowed, but also, she didn’t care that we were alone and there were horses "up there".
We had one fun moment! This horse is very opinionated and a little barn sour. When we ride from home she will make instant left turns in an effort to go back home - it gets frustrating, but I still have to laugh at her. So at one point we were cantering along on the last leg of the ride and we came up a hill and she could see the big rock hill that had camp right behind it. She saw that rock and immediately dove left, plowing into a sand bank and some bushes, thinking she knew a better way back!
Aside from the spectacular views (which I can't even begin to describe), this was a great ride. With over 100 riders each day, ride management and all the volunteers had their work cut out for them. Vet checks were out each day and lunches were provided, which was fantastic. We were fed better than we would have fed ourselves. The horses had excellent hay and tons of carrots provided. And best yet, there were plenty of water stops, all very well supplied by the water trucks. Trails were well marked and dinners were excellent, along with a bonfire. Griffin's tack provided the top awards (I got the LD first lightweight award each day - a half bale bag, a crew bag and a rump rug) - all beautifully embroidered. Sheri outdid herself for the ride completion awards - the first day she bought an 8x10 photo for each rider from a local photographer. The second day was a table top grill and the third day was either a log book (which I had already bought separately) or a really neat map/ride card pack also made by Griffin's.
Next year Sheri is considering trail that goes down to the Green River. Another ride not to be missed! Hopefully we'll have less broken things next year (and we made it home by not letting the truck come to a complete stop anywhere, we're now back to researching the problem.)